Sexual health is a primary factor of human health. Any disruption in a person’s sexual health can affect a person’s physical and mental well-being. A rising concern when it comes to a person’s sexual health is sexual dysfunction. It is a condition where people experience difficulty during any stage of sexual activities. This condition prevents a person from being satisfied with their sexual activity.
According to reports about 43% of women and 31% of men face some kind of sexual dysfunction. Even though the percentage of people suffering from sexual dysfunction issues is rising every day, people often talk about it too much and do not give the issue the necessary consideration that needs to be given. In most cases, sexual dysfunctions can be tacked with the help of a healthcare provider and are not something that is permanent.
Sexual Dysfunction – Understanding The Physical, Psychological, And Lifestyle Factors!
Sexual dysfunction can range from physical dysfunctions to mental dysfunctions. So the condition is generally classified into four categories and they are:
◼️ Desire disorders
A common kind of sexual dysfunction in both men and women is desire disorders. This is a disorder where people have decreased libido that is characterized by a lack of sexual desire, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies. Desire disorders can either be a general lack of sexual desire or a lack of desire for your current partner. The cause of sexual desire disorders can vary from person to person but a common cause is the low levels of estrogen in women and low levels of testosterone in men. A person’s mental health also plays a major role in their sexual desire.
◼️ Arousal disorders
The next category of sexual dysfunction is arousal disorders. Arousal disorders were earlier known as frigidity in women and impotence in men. But now both of them are categorized into arousal disorders. Similar to desire disorders, the cause of arousal disorders can also be either physical or mental. The inability to become aroused is the common physical cause of arousal disorders. But when it comes to mental health, psychological conditions like depression, anger, stress, or relationship issues can also lead to arousal disorders.
◼️ Orgasm disorders
The next category of sexual dysfunction is orgasm disorders which means delay or absence of orgasm in men and women and issues related to orgasm. There are primarily three types of orgasm disorders and they are anorgasmia, premature ejaculation, and post-orgasmic disorders. Anorgasmia is classified as persistent delay or absence of orgasm after normal sexual activity. Premature ejaculation is a common orgasm disorder where ejaculation occurs before your partner achieves sexual satisfaction or normal satisfactory intercourse time. And the last type of orgasm disorder is a post-orgasmic disorder which includes experiencing problems like anxiety, stress, or headache after orgasm.
◼️ Pain disorders
The last type of sexual dysfunction is sexual pain disorders which means experiencing pain while intercourse. Sexual pain disorders in females include dyspareunia which is pain during intercourse and vaginismus which is the involuntary spasm of the vagina which makes intercourse difficult. A common sexual pain disorder in men is Peyronie’s disease which is an abnormality in the penis that makes intercourse difficult.
A common sexual dysfunction that millions of men face is erectile dysfunction. Erectile is a kind of arousal disorder where the individual is not able to get or keep a firm erection while having sex. Not being able to get an erection once in a while is not considered erectile dysfunction but if the problem seems to persist, then it can affect your sexual life and confidence. The cause of erectile dysfunction can vary from physical factors to psychological factors. With the right treatment, most cases of erectile dysfunction are curable.
👉Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
The common symptoms of erectile dysfunction are:
- A common symptom of erectile dysfunction is not being able to get an erection when you want.
- Another common sign is trouble keeping your penis erect while partaking in sexual activity.
- Reduced sexual desire is also a common symptom of erectile dysfunction.
👉Cause of erectile dysfunction
As already mentioned, both physical factors and psychological factors cause erectile dysfunction. Let’s take a look at some of the common physical and psychological causes of ED
👉Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
Common physical causes of erectile dysfunction are:
- Men with heart diseases or poor cardiovascular health might experience erectile dysfunction.
- Being diabetic or having high blood sugar levels in your body might also cause erectile dysfunction.
- If you are someone who is either obese or overweight, the likelihood of you suffering from erectile dysfunction is very high.
- A low level of testosterone also can be a cause of erectile dysfunction.
- Age is a factor that plays a crucial factor in your sexual health. People who are over age 50 find it hard to get an erection.
- Regular use of alcohol and drugs, and smoking too much can also cause erectile dysfunction.
👉Psychological cause of erectile dysfunction
Some of the common psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are listed below:
- Psychological conditions like stress and depression can make it difficult to get an erection.
- Stress is also a major factor that can cause erectile dysfunction.
- Relationship issues with your partner due to poor communication and lack of attraction can also cause erectile dysfunction.
- Worrying about sexual performance can also make it hard to get an erection and keep the erection for a long duration.
👉How to diagnose erectile dysfunction?
In the majority of cases, a physical examination and consultation with a doctor are all that are needed to diagnose erectile dysfunction. But if the ED is caused by any underlying health conditions, you might have to do many other tests to diagnose and treat it. The common diagnosis of erectile dysfunction are given below:
- Physical exam: Physical exam includes an examination of your penis by a medical expert and checking your nerves for sensation.
- Blood tests: Testing your blood can also aid in diagnosing erectile dysfunction as it will check for signs of any heart disease, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and so on.
- Urine tests: Testing your urine can also help in diagnosing ED as it also checks for signs of any underlying health conditions.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is another way to diagnose erectile dysfunction and it is performed by a medical expert. Ultrasound will help the doctor know whether you have blood flow problems in your body.
- Psychological exam: Sometimes erectile dysfunction might happen only because of psychological issues only. So consultation with a psychologist might also aid in diagnosing ED.
👉How to treat erectile dysfunction?
There are many ways in which an individual can treat erectile dysfunction and some of them are:
- Oral medications
- Sexual therapy
- Penile injections
- Vacuum devices
- Surgery like a penile implant
Your medical expert will recommend the right way to treat erectile dysfunction depending on the underlying cause of the condition.
Premature ejaculation is a type of orgasm disorder and it occurs when a man experiences orgasm or discharges semen soon after initiating sexual activity. Premature ejaculation is also called early ejaculation, rapid ejaculation, or premature climax. This is a common sexual dysfunction that 1 out of 3 men experiences.
Most men who are facing premature ejaculation say that they do not have control over the ejaculation and even if they want to last long, it seems impossible. If premature ejaculation happens once in a while, then it is not a serious concern but premature ejaculation needs to be considered seriously if you experience any of the below-given issues:
- If you are near ejaculation or climax within 1 to 3 minutes of penetration.
- It seems impossible to delay ejaculation while having sex.
- Feels stressed about your ejaculation and because of this tends to avoid sexual intimacy.
👉Causes of premature ejaculation
Premature ejaculation can be caused by physical and psychological factors. There are theories that also suggest that premature ejaculation can also be a result of masturbating quickly in your adolescence which boys do because of the fear of being caught but there is no evidence supporting it. However, there are a few other common factors that cause premature ejaculation.
👉Physical causes of premature ejaculation
Physical factors that can cause premature ejaculation includes:
- Erectile dysfunction can cause premature ejaculation
- Hormonal issues in your oxytocin levels can also lead to premature ejaculation.
- Low levels of serotonin and dopamine play a major role in sexual excitement and this can cause premature ejaculation.
- A penis that is sensitive to stimulation might also result in premature ejaculation.
👉Psychological causes of premature ejaculation
Psychological factors that can cause premature ejaculation includes:
- Early sexual experience of a person might cause premature ejaculation
- Anxiety about one’s sexual performance is another common cause of premature ejaculation.
- Depression and stress are two psychological conditions that can cause premature ejaculation.
- Sexual abuse and poor body image are also other two common psychological causes of premature ejaculation.
👉How to diagnose premature ejaculation?
Your health provider will be able to diagnose premature ejaculation by asking about your sex life and health history. If you suffer from both premature ejaculation and difficulty getting an erection, your health provider will recommend you for blood tests. The health provider might also test your hormone levels to know about the cause of premature ejaculation. If the cause of premature ejaculation is psychological factors, then your health provider will recommend you to a mental health expert who specializes in treating sexual problems.
👉How to treat premature ejaculation?
There are many ways in which premature ejaculation can be treated. Combining medication and non-medication treatments is also considered the most effective method to treat premature ejaculation. Some of the most common treatments for premature ejaculation include the following:
◼️ Self-treatment / behavioral techniques
Many men try to delay their ejaculation by applying many behavioral techniques such as focusing on something else while having intercourse, thrusting slowly, withdrawing their penis altogether, masturbating before sexual intercourse, and so on. There is no evidence that these methods are effective but some men have claimed that these can help with premature ejaculation.
◼️ Pelvic floor exercise
An effective treatment for premature ejaculation is pelvic floor exercises. If you have a weak pelvic floor, you might not be able to delay your ejaculation. So trying out pelvic floor exercises like Kegel exercises will strengthen your pelvic area which will in turn help in delaying your ejaculation.
There are no specific drugs that are approved for premature ejaculation. But medications that aid in numbing your penis, increasing serotonin levels, antidepressants, and so on can aid in premature ejaculation and taking control over your ejaculation.
◼️ Surgical treatment
Two surgeries developed in North Korea are said to be permanently treating premature ejaculation. But surgical treatment is not recommended for treating premature ejaculation as there are many safety concerns around it.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
As per the latest report, about 30 to 40% of women are affected by some type of sexual dysfunction. Some women experience sexual dysfunction at some point or might have difficulties throughout their lives. The causes of sexual dysfunction can be caused by various physical and psychological factors.
👉Common symptoms of female sexual dysfunction
The symptoms of sexual dysfunction can vary depending on the issues that you are facing. However, some of the common symptoms of sexual dysfunction in women are listed below:
- The most common symptom of female sexual dysfunction is a low desire for sex and not having enough willingness.
- Another common symptom is difficulty getting aroused. Here you might have the desire but have difficulty with arousal.
- Difficulty in achieving orgasm is also a common symptom of sexual dysfunction.
- Experiencing pain while intercourse or sexual stimulation is also a common symptom of female dysfunction.
👉Causes of female sexual dysfunction
Female sexual dysfunction can be caused by physical, hormonal, and psychological factors. The cause of sexual dysfunction in females might vary from person to person and is also dependent on factors like a person’s age.
👉Physical causes of female sexual dysfunction
Some of the common physical causes of female sexual dysfunction are the following:
- Medical conditions like cancer, kidney failure, bladder problems, heart disease, and so on can cause sexual dysfunction in women.
- Regular use of certain medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and chemotherapy can decrease your desire for sex and arise sexual dysfunction.
👉Hormonal causes of female sexual dysfunction
Hormonal factors that can cause female sexual dysfunction include the following:
- Low estrogen levels in your body after menopause might lower your desire for sex.
- A decrease in estrogen level and poor blood flow to the pelvic area might make it difficult to become aroused and attain orgasm.
- For some women, their vaginal lining becomes thinner and less elastic which can cause pain while intercourse.
- Changes in hormone levels after giving birth and during breastfeeding can also cause sexual dysfunction.
👉Psychological causes of female sexual dysfunction
A few common psychological causes of female sexual dysfunction are given below:
- Untreated anxiety or depression can lead to sexual dysfunction.
- History of sexual abuse is another factor that contributes to sexual dysfunction.
- Relationship issues or conflicts with your partner can also cause sexual dysfunction in women.
👉How to diagnose female sexual dysfunction?
You can diagnose whether or not you are experiencing sexual dysfunction by consulting your healthcare provider. Talking with your healthcare provider and telling them about your symptom will help in identifying the cause of sexual dysfunction. The healthcare provider might do a physical exam to rule out any gynecological issues and might also do a pelvic examination to diagnose it. In some cases, your healthcare provider will also recommend tests like images to check for tumors, cysts, or any kind of abnormal growth.
👉How to treat female sexual dysfunction?
Your healthcare provider will recommend the right treatment to treat your sexual dysfunction depending upon the cause of the condition. Some of the most common treatments for female sexual dysfunction are:
◼️ Arousal techniques
Arousal techniques involve techniques that will enhance your desire and arousal. Talking with your partner about sex, making changes in your sexual routine, and trying out new things can help with arousal and orgasm. If you want, you can also make use of materials like sexual stimulation devices, videos, or massages to make sexual stimulation better.
If the cause of your sexual dysfunction is because of any psychological reasons, then talking with a counselor or psychologist can help in treating the condition. You can either have one-to-one counseling or opt for couple counseling.
◼️ Hormone therapy
If you have hormonal issues which are causing sexual dysfunction, your health provider will recommend hormone therapies like topical creams or medications that will help with the problem and will make sexual activity more comfortable.
Medications like Flibanserin (Addyi®) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi™) are recommended for hypoactive sexual desire in women. These two medications are recommended only for women who are in their menopause.
◼️ Pain management
You can manage the pain that you experience while having intercourse through various ways like trying out different positions, using vaginal lubricants, or foreplay before sex.