Sexual dysfunction is any issue that prevents you from enjoying sexual activity either fully or at all. They not only interfere with the sexual cycle and response, but can harm what would normally be a healthy relationship. Both genders are able to suffer from the disorders, and as you age you’ll be more likely to have problems. In the U.S., 43% of women and 31% of men report having some degree of difficulty in the bedroom, making sexual dysfunction somewhat of a common issue, especially in those over 40 years of age.
Sexual dysfunction can be brought on by a number of different sources. Psychological issues could include stress, anxiety, depression, guilt, marital problems, poor body image, and even PTSD. A physical problem could also be the culprit, including neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, heart disease, kidney failure, and diabetes. Both substance abuse and regulated medications are capable of causing these problems as well.
Disorders in Women
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
HSDD is a continuous lack of sexual interest in a women, to the point where it causes them excessive distress. It is normal, even healthy, to not desire sex all of the time, as it is just natural for libido to fluctuate, the difference between HSDD and “not being in the mood” is personal distress. If a woman doesn’t show her concern for her libido or sex drive then she likely isn’t experiencing HSDD.
HSDD is the most common sexual dysfunction in women, affecting about 1 in 10 women in the U.S., and it can occur in every age group. The Mayo Clinic concluded that almost 40 percent of women will experience HSDD, and up to 15 percent of those women will experience it continuously.
HSDD is caused by numerous sources, often in combination with one another. While the most common physical cause is menopause, it could also be from coronary artery disease, arthritis, and cancer. Menopause is the most common reason because it drops two needed hormones for the libido, estrogen and testosterone. As well, the chances in hormone levels from both during and after pregnancy can cause HSDD.
Emotional and psychological stress can also bring about HSDD. Women who suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression are also at risk of developing it. However, in more serious cases, HSDD can be a direct result from trauma, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse or rape.
It can be hard to diagnose HSDD. Knowing that women are all unique, there is no way to set a minimum sexual drive to diagnose it. By assessing the level of distress as it relates to a woman’s sexual life a psychiatric diagnosis is able to be made. Once they’ve determined that it is the case, they will then attempt to find the cause and then treat that problem. It may be as simple as using a different prescription, however it may require that she visit a therapist who specializes in sexual disorders. Some women may need to undergo hormonal therapy in order to restore their libido.
Check this site for a complete guide on the best health clinic for men in Seattle.
Sexual Arousal Disorder
As sexual arousal disorder is a biological problem it shouldn’t be confused with the other desire based disorders. It’s defined as a lack, or complete absence of sexual desires and fantasies in a situation that would typically cause some level of stimulation, or the inability to maintain the arousal. The basic idea is that typically romantic activities, things like dancing, dissing, or direct physical stimulation, do not cause a genital response.
Some symptoms may be:
- Lack of vaginal lubrication
- Lack of dilation in the vagina
- Decreased genital swelling
- Decreased genital sensation
- Less sensation in the nipple
Physical factors are far more likely to be a cause of sexual arousal disorder than emotional factors are, though they are possible. In most cases, women with sexual arousal disorder suffer from depletion of hormones, reduced blood flow brought on by cardiovascular diseases, or some form of nerve damage.
In order to be diagnosed a woman must report at least three of the following symptoms for a minimum of six months: Reduced sexual interest, lack of initiation of sex, reduced responsiveness to erotic cues, lack of pleasure and excitement during sex, lack of genital response to sexual activity, significantly less sexual desires and fantasies, and lack of sexual responsiveness.
Hormone therapy is commonly recommended for treating sexual arousal disorder, but a doctor may recommend blood-flow enhancing medications in order to encourage genital response. In addition, it is also recommended to consult a counselor or sex therapist with treatment to track progress and rule out any possible emotional restrictions towards intimacy.
Female Orgasmic Disorder
Female orgasmic disorder (FOD) is when a woman is constantly unable to achieve an orgasm. The woman is still able to sexually function, so it is different from sexual arousal disorder. They still experience arousal from either emotional or physical stimuli, but are unable or have extreme difficulty reaching climax and releasing tension. It is a constant state of stimulation with no final release. Romantic partners may become frustrated by this.
Both psychological and physical issues can cause FOD. FOD is a primary, or lifelong disorder, and most often the women who have it have never achieved orgasm, no matter what type of stimulation they received. Almost all of these women are born with this problem, and the physiological conditions can include, though are not limited to:
- Damage in the pelvic area to the blood vessels
- Spinal cord lesions or damage to the nerves in the pelvic area
- Removal of the clitoris (also called female genital mutilation, a cultural practice in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia)
FOD is also a possible side effect of certain medications, like narcotics and antipsychotics.
There are women who experience a secondary, or acquired FOD. These women have had orgasms, but lose the ability after illness, emotional trauma, or as a side effect of surgery or medication. Acquired FOD is often temporary and more easily treated than those who have been born with it. Usually theses cases are caused by psychological influence, including:
- Past sexual abuse, rape, incest, or other traumatic sexual experience
- Having been emotionally abused
- Pregnancy fear
- Fearful her partner will reject her
- Fear of loss of control during orgasm
- Issues with self-image
- Problems in the relationship
- Stress from life, including divorce, job loss, and financial concerns
- Guilt over sex or sexual pleasure
- How sex is viewed religiously or culturally
- Other mental health disorders such as major depression
Just like other sexual dysfunctions, FOD is treated case by case. Medicinal treatment will likely be used for physical problems, and those women are also often encouraged to do a bit more exercise, especially kegel exercises, as they focus on strengthening and tone the muscles in the genital area. For cases that are more grounded in the emotional realm, a combination of psychotherapy, sex therapy and proper sexual education is recommended.
Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder
Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPD) is the condition in which women experience major difficulty during intercourse due to painful penetration. An individual’s pain tolerance levels determine the severity of it. While some may only experience pain during vaginal intercourse, others may find it painful to even insert a tampon. Originally, GPPD was considered to be two separate conditions, known as dyspareunia and vaginismus, but the American Psychiatric Association combined them together since, while their technical definitions are strictly different, they commonly appear in tandem with one another are are difficult to tell apart in real life.
Some symptoms may be:
- Regularly struggling with intercourse
- Pain in the pelvic or genital area during attempts at penetration
- Significant anxiety or fear related to the pain of intercourse. The fear can be present before, during, or after any vaginal penetration.
- Tightening or tensing of pelvic floor muscles when vaginal intercourse is attempted.
GPPD causes are still mostly unknown. Currently specifics are unknown, however the thought is that it is similar to other sexual dysfunctions. There have been women who were born with GPPD, however the most commonly accepted reason for the problem is that an infection of the pelvis region caused pain problems. Only a doctor can determine is genital pain might be expected.
Common Disorders Men Experience
Premature ejaculation (PE) is when ejaculation occurs with minimal stimulation before, during, or quickly after penetration. As it is an involuntary response, men who have PE have little to no control over it. It is one of the most common sexual dysfunction, as almost 30% of men in the U.S. struggle with PE, although it is suspected that number could be higher, as it is considered to be taboo in American culture. All age groups are susceptible to PE.
PE causes are still unknown. It was historically accepted as a purely psychological disorder, but recent studies suggest that it can also be due to chemical imbalances or changes in receptor sensitivity in the brain. While it’s most common in older men, those who has just finished puberty have also reported it.
Despite the causes still being unknown, there are several methods to treat PE. Doctors may prescribe a desensitizing ointment or treatment, or that the patient masturbates before having intercourse. Some studies have also found therapy can provide some relief to PE sufferers.
The opposing end is delayed ejaculation, in which men have trouble ejaculting despite having an erection and stimulation. While it’s not as common as PE, it still occurs in about 5% of U.S. men.
Generally speaking, delayed ejaculation is considered to be psychological in nature. About 85% of men who have it are still able to achieve orgasm with self stimulation. A few other possible causes including the side effect of medications, drug use, alcohol, and neurological damage.
Sex therapy is highly recommended to treat it as it is primarily a psychological problem. If a medication is causing the issue then men should speak with a doctor and look for possible alternative options before they try to cut the medication out.
Retrograde ejaculation is when semen enters the bladder rather than leave via the penis during ejaculation. It isn’t known to be harmful, however since the sperm isn’t entering the vagina during intercourse it does make fertilization difficult. There’s no sign that it affects other healthy sexual functions, like having an erection or reaching orgasm. It can be partial or whole, which is also known as a “dry orgasm” as no semen is released. A few possible reasons for this are:
- Damage to the muscles of the bladder or to the nerves that control these muscles after surgery.
- Nerve damage caused by medical illness, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
- Certain medications, such as alpha-blockers used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
- Radiation therapy for the pelvic region.
- The side effect of certain psychiatric medications and drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure and prostate enlargement.
Retrograde Ejaculation isn’t harmful and usually doesn’t require treatment, unless it interferes with fertility. It is results from diabetes or surgery it typically won’t even be able to be fixed, and will become a lifelong problem. Men who wish to do artificial insemination might be able to have a urologist extract their sperm from their urine shortly after they orgasm. In short, it’s not impossible for men with retrograde ejaculation to impregnate anymore.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when men have a consistent inability to get or maintain an erection, preventing them from fulfilling sexual needs and desires. The dysfunction is biological and 100% involuntary, since the men with ED continue to feel sexual desire. It is the most common sexual dysfunction in men, affecting what it estimated to be 100 million Americans, usually occurring in age groups between 40 and 70, but it can occur in younger age groups as well.
The most common causes of ED include diabetes, obesity, age, injury, and cardiovascular problems. That isn’t to say that ED can’t be caused by psychological sources, such as stress or depression, but generally speaking, ED is a side effect of a physical condition, so it the most important thing to do is discuss it with a doctor. In most cases, doctors will simply recommend performance enhancing medications, such as Cialis or Viagra, provided that the patient doesn’t suffer from any sort of cardiovascular issue.