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A Look Inside Sexual Disorders

by AFP

Sexual disorders vary from people to people. They keep people from experiencing full satisfaction during sexual activities. They can affect anyone at any time. However, they are more frequent in adults older than forty.

People are often hesitant to discuss any sexual disorders they have, but it’s essential for a healthy life. It’s usually the result of a physical problem or a sudden life change circumstance. Most of them are both physical and mental disorders.

Many sexual disorders are left undiagnosed because of their private and awkward nature. The person would rather suffer in silence than admit any problems. Due to this lack of willing patients, most sexual disorders are not well-known or understood.

Nevertheless, sexual disorders should be seen as any other illnesses. If there any symptoms, you should consult a doctor. It shouldn’t be seen as an embarrassing situation because if left untreated, it can become worse and affect other aspects of your life. Like mental illnesses, having a sexual disorder doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. It doesn’t make you weak either. More people are affected than you’d think.


There are many types of sexual disorders. They fit into four categories: desires, arousals, orgasms, and pain. Desire includes sexual drive and motivation which are based on both hormones and social life. Arousal needs psychological and physiological stimulation. Orgasm is brought on by the same stimulations as arousal, but with a heightened sense. Pain is not present with every sexual disorder, but it’s a good indication of one. If any of these needs are not met, a healthy sexual cycle cannot take place.

Dyspareunia is an example of a sexual disorder that comes with pain. It’s also called genito-pelvic pain in women. It’s a persistent or recurrent pain during sexual intercourse. It can happen to either women or men.

Erectile disorder (ED) disturbs the sexual arousal phase. It’s the inability of men to keep or have an erection. It’s usually tied to multiple causes like a mental disorder, a medical condition, and substance abuse.

A Look Inside Sexual DisordersFemale and male orgasmic disorder pertains to the orgasm phase. It’s the persistent absence of delay of orgasm after a normal sexual excitement stage. Many women have troubles achieving orgasms with every sexual act. Women’s orgasms depend on the type and intensity of the simulation. It’s harder to diagnose them, and it should only be done based on a physician’s judgment. It’s similar in men, but easier to diagnose and notice.

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder affects both women and men. It’s an abnormally low level of sexual desires and activities. To be considered a disorder, the sexual activities have to be low enough to cause impairments in the person’s life and interpersonal relationships. The person’s age and context of life have to be taken into account.


Sexual disorders have both physical and psychological causes. It can be caused by a decline in health which is why it’s more prevalent in older adults. Problems like diabetes and heart diseases will make it harder for a person to have sexual activities. The heart may not be strong enough to keep up with the fast rhythm of blood pumping and a lack of oxygen during sex.

Alcoholism and drug abuses can also cause sexual disorders. They usually lower sexual inhibitions. Addictions tend to redirect people’s focus away from sex.

Neurological disorders and hormonal imbalance may stop sexual desires. Sexual disorders can also be side effects of medical drugs such as antidepressants. They affect sexual functions.

Psychological causes include stress and anxiety. It can be marital or relationship problems, depression, self-esteem issues, or past sexual traumas.


Symptoms of sexual disorders vary among people. They may be more intense in some than others due to their lifestyle choices. The most common symptoms are a lack of interest or desire in sex, inability to become sexually aroused and pain with intercourse.

In women, they can decrease vaginal lubrication before and during intercourse. They can lose the ability to relax the vaginal muscles. Stiff vaginal muscles will make it harder to have sexual intercourse. It can cause vaginal tearing and pain.

Men most often experience erectile dysfunction. They cannot have or maintain an erection suitable for sex. They can experience early or premature ejaculation which means they ejaculate faster than they should. It may be a clinical or mental issue in which they cannot control their ejaculation timing. They can also have retarded ejaculation which is the opposite of premature ejaculation. Instead of coming too early, ejaculation is usually absent or delayed despite receiving enough sexual stimulation.


Treatments vary with the type of disorder. For example, erectile dysfunction is often treated with medications. The FDA has approved three erectile dysfunction drugs: Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. These drugs increase blood flow to the penis, so men can manage an erection more efficiently.

A Look Inside Sexual DisordersThere are also hormonal treatments to balance hormones in the body. Increased sexual hormones can help to increase sexual drive, ability to become aroused and achieve orgasm. Androgen replacement helps to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder. There are also testosterone therapy and estrogen replacement. They all increase sexual drive and improve responses to sexual stimulation.

Another treatment is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a type of counseling that focuses on helping people to deal with specific life situations. It brings awareness to the issue and how it affects the person’s life. For sexual disorders, psychotherapy works best when it’s paired with sex therapy.

Sex therapy is a specific section of psychotherapy that focuses solely on an individual’s sexual issues. Sex therapy usually works with both partners and a therapist. The therapist will focus on emotional or physical issues that are tied to the sexual dissatisfaction. Then, he will help the couple to come up with behavioral habits to deal with the physical symptoms. Sex therapy doesn’t involve any type of sexual activities with the therapist not between the partners during the sessions.

Sexual disorders are more common than most would believe. Most of them are left undiagnosed because it’s an embarrassing subject to have with a doctor. However, they are serious issues that need care. They can hinder important aspects of your life. If you notice any symptoms of a sexual disorder, you should contact a medical doctor to figure out the best options for you.

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