Sexual dysfunction, although very common, is a topic which most people avoid or are embarrassed to talk about. Before talking about sexual problems, it is important to know about the sexual response cycle. The sexual response cycle is a four-phased series of physical and emotional changes that take place from sexual arousal to intercourse. The sequential four phases are: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Sexual dysfunctions, therefore, are sexual problems that occur during any of the phases of the sexual response cycle and that prevent attainment of sexual satisfaction from any sexually-stimulating activity, such as masturbation and intercourse. Sexual dysfunctions affect both adult men and women but are more common in women than in men. Most cases of sexual dysfunctions are treatable.
Types of Sexual Dysfunctions in Women
There are four basic sexual dysfunctions that are more common in women. These are:
- Restrained or low sexual desire: This is simply low libido or lack of sexual urges. It is usually caused by the physical and/or medical causes of sexual dysfunctions.
- Sexual arousal disorder: This occurs when a woman becomes frigid and unable to respond or get aroused to any sexual stimulations.
- Lack of frequent sexual climax: This is when a woman constantly fails to achieve orgasms, thereby leading to frustrations with the sexual act.
- Painful intercourse: Sometimes caused by vaginal dryness and some intercourse positions.
Types of Sexual Dysfunctions in Men
- Low libido or lack of sexual desires.
- Erectile dysfunctions – inability to achieve an erection or maintain one.
- Premature ejaculations or inability to ejaculate throughout the sexual act.
Causes of Sexual Dysfunctions
The causes of sexual dysfunctions may be grouped into two: the physical or medical causes, and the psychological causes. The medical and physical causes are:
- Side effects of medications
- Heart diseases
- Kidney and liver diseases
- Drug abuse
- Hormonal imbalance
The psychological causes are as a result of general unrest of the mind. Some of them are:
- Over-thinking and anxiety
- Relationship issues
Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunctions in both Men and Women
The symptoms of sexual dysfunctions are a function of the types of the disorders in both men and women, such as: low or absent sexual urges, inability to have or maintain arousal during sexual activities, inability to experience an orgasm, pains during sexual intercourse, problems with discharging semen, and difficulty getting or staying erect.
Diagnoses of Sexual Dysfunctions
There are two major diagnoses of sexual dysfunctions:
- Psychological evaluation
- Pelvic examination
The psychological evaluation is done by a trained therapist based on interview results about sexual history and current sexual issues, while the pelvic examination is usually done in cases where the dysfunction has an underlying medical cause such as thinning of genital tissues and decreased skin elasticity.
Treatments of Sexual Dysfunctions
- Open communication with sexual partner on the topic.
- Enhancing stimulation by trying new routines and positions, using erotic materials such as videos, books, devices, etc. and self masturbation.
- Minimizing painful positions as pain can take away the pleasure in the activity.
- Avoiding alcohol, excessive intake of drugs, and smoking.
- Dealing properly with stress, mood swings, depression and anxiety.
- Encouraging non-coital behaviors such as oral sex, masturbation, etc.
- Seeking counseling from trained therapists on the subject.
- Regular exercising.
- Sufficient leisure and relaxation.
Some drugs such as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis may also be used for the treatment of some sexual dysfunctions in men. They are readily available everywhere but they require doctoral prescriptions.