Sexual dysfunction is the inability of a person to experience sexual arousal or to achieve sexual satisfaction under appropriate circumstances. Sexual dysfunctions are primarily the effect of psychological or interpersonal factors such as individual’s anxiety or other negative feelings about the sex act or partner, emotional conflicts outside the sexual relationship like work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, concerns about body image and the effects of a past sexual traumas can also produce failures of sexual function. Sexual dysfunctions can also happen due to physical factors like a secondary consequence of medication that people take for another unrelated medical condition or other conditions like alcoholism and endocrine or neurological disorders are also physical causes of sexual dysfunction.
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Sexual dysfunction generally is classified into four categories:
In men and women:
In order to diagnose sexual dysfunction the individual has to recognize something is interfering with their enjoyment (or a partner’s enjoyment) of a sexual relationship. So a clinician may order diagnostic tests to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the dysfunction. Also an evaluation of attitudes about sex, as well as other possible contributing factors helps a clinician understand the underlying cause of the problem and recommend the right treatment.
Most types of sexual dysfunction can be addressed by treating the underlying physical or psychological problems. Sexual dysfunctions that are secondary to more severe psychological or personality disorders may require specific psychological support such as; Sex therapy designed to help the individual relax in their sexual role, it can often overcome the anxiety and eliminate the dysfunction, Behavioral treatments involving various techniques like putting insights into harmful behaviors in the relationship, or techniques such as self-stimulation for treatment of problems with arousal and/or orgasm, various Psychotherapies with a trained counselor, Education about sex and sexual behaviors etc. When a specific physical condition predisposes to the dysfunction, it must be treated medically; Medications and Mechanical aids can also help in the treatment.
Sexual dysfunctions are common, but people don’t like to talk about it. Sharing your concerns with your partner and healthcare provider can ease the process of treatment.