Sexual dysfunction hamper an individual to enjoy any sort of sexual activity. Read on to know more about its causes and treatment.

While sex is an important part of all relationships, for many couples, the act of intimacy can be laced with frustration, disappointment, and even painful. Sexual dysfunction is any difficulty experienced by one or both partners during any stage of sexual activity. Sexual dysfunction can impact desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, or satisfaction. However, it is important to note that sexual dysfunction is different from asexuality, which is a normal variation in sexual orientation where people experience little or no interest in sexual activity.

Sexual dysfunction can happen due to a variety of reasons. Stress is one of the biggest factors behind these disorders. Other issues that can impact a healthy sex life include sexual trauma, heart disease, diabetes and mental health issues.

What is sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction prevents you from feeling pleasure during sexual intercourse and other activities. Wanting to engage in sexual activity, but being unable to enjoy it is a sign of sexual dysfunction. According to JAMA Network, sexual dysfunction is more common in women than men. It is also associated with other demographic characteristics, such as age.

A sexual response cycle is physical and emotional changes that occur during a sexual activity, which includes intercourse as well as masturbation. “A sexual response cycle consists of desire, arousal, orgasm as well as resolution. If your body responds differently in any of these stages, it can point to sexual dysfunction,” says sex expert Anu Goel.

Causes of sexual dysfunction

There are some physical as well as psychological causes of sexual dysfunction. Physical causes include kidney or liver failure, diabetes, heart diseases, hormonal imbalances, cancer, pregnancy as well as menopause.

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There are many psychological reasons such as stress, anxiety, marital problems, depression, and sexual trauma, that may lead to sexual dysfunction

There are also certain medications that can lead to sexual dysfunction. These include over-the-counter medication as well as some prescription drugs. Several antidepressants can also lead to a low libido. Medication such as Diuretics, Alpha-blockers and Beta-blockers can also lead to erectile dysfunction in men. These might hamper the ability of experiencing arousal.

Categories of sexual dysfunction

There are four major categories of sexual dysfunction, according to The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

1. Sexual desire or interest

This refers to the lack of sexual interest experienced by an individual. This can be for any type of physical activity and does not only point to intercourse. There is no willingness to be sexual in this type of dysfunction. A low libido can refer to hormonal changes during childbirth, breastfeeding as well as menopause. Other issues can include high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, and fatigue.

A couple sitting far away from each other in bed.
Lack of sexual arousal as well as interest is a kind of sexual dysfunction. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Sexual arousal disorder

You might have a desire to have sex, but you are unable to have an arousal. You are also unable to maintain arousal during the sexual activity. There are two kinds of sexual arousal disorders – subjective arousal disorder and combined sexual disorder. In the first kind, there is a genital response to sexual stimulation, but there is no mental awareness of the pleasure. In the second kind, there is no genital and mental response to sexual stimulation, states Stanford Medicine.

3. Orgasmic disorder

This refers to a recurrent problem in achieving orgasm despite sufficient arousal and stimulation. This might be due to physical, emotional or other psychological factors. According to a study in Advances Psychosomatic Medicine, 11 to 41 per cent of women suffer from orgasmic sexual dysfunction. This is also known as an orgasmia or female orgasmic disorder.

4. Sexual pain disorder

This is pain and discomfort during sexual stimulation. This painful intercourse is called dyspareunia. This can include pain during sexual entry, burning or aching pain, recurring pain after sex, as well as pain during thrusting. Other causes might include vaginismus, vulvar pain or Vulvodynia as well as vaginal dryness. Anxiety, depression and a history of abuse can also contribute to this disorder.

Diagnosis of sexual dysfunction

Sexual problems between partners can lead to a lot of anxiety and relationship problems. Therefore, it is important to discuss these issues and seek medical help, if required, so that problems get resolved quickly. The treatment depends on the cause. Underlying medical conditions might be causing a sexual dysfunction, and medication can resolve that. Lubricating gels and creams can help with vaginal dryness. Medications such as antibiotics can be used to treat infections.

A couple sitting in bed with the man being upset
Sexual dysfunctions can cause rifts between couples and medical advise must be sought. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Treatment of sexual dysfunction

There are multiple ways to treat sexual dysfunction. Once your doctor diagnoses the cause of the dysfunction, he or she can prescribe you the appropriate medication. Hormone shots and pills can work for sexual dysfunctions caused by hormonal imbalances. Hormone therapy can help women experiencing menopause. Other treatments include hormone replacement therapy, pelvic floor physical therapy, Kegel exercises., and mental health therapy.

Devices such as dilators can be used for narrow vaginas. Also, many vaginal dilation exercises can be prescribed, besides surgery. Sex therapists can also help you navigate through your problems and discomforts. In case of any sexual trauma experience in the past, mental health experts can help you deal with it.

Can sexual dysfunction be prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent sexual dysfunction. However, steps can be taken to minimise the impact, and even cure it. Also, it is important to note that there is no way a person could have purposely caused these dysfunctions. Are you wondering do sexual dysfunctions go away? Yes, treating the underlying cause of the problem can rectify these issues.



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