Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem during any point of the sexual response cycle which prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction. The sexual response cycle consists of four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. While sexual dysfunction is considered common among both women and men, it is a topic many are hesitant to discuss. Fortunately, sexual dysfunction is treatable in most cases. As with any health issues, those who are concerned they might be experiencing sexual dysfunction should see a doctor.
Sexual dysfunction can be of a physical or psychological nature and sometimes even both. Physical causes include: diabetes, vascular and heart disease, hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, chronic diseases including kidney and liver failure, alcoholism and drug abuse. Some antidepressants have also been known to affect an individual’s sexual desire and function as well. Some of the psychological causes for sexual dysfunction are: work-related stress and anxiety, sexual performance anxiety, marital or relationship problems, feelings of guilt, depression, or past sexual traumas. All of these can affect a person’s ability to perform and lead to sexual dysfunction.
The most common problems that affect men sexually are ejaculation disorders, erectile dysfunction and low libido. Premature ejaculation is when men climax shortly after penetration and is the most common type of ejaculate disorder. Inhibited or retarded ejaculation is when ejaculation is abnormally slow to occur. This disorders can be caused by a lack of attraction to a sexual partner, past traumas or psychological factors. Retrograde ejaculation occurs during the orgasm cycle, when the ejaculate is forced back into the bladder rather then expelled from the urethra. Retrograde ejaculation is common amongst men with diabetes who suffer from diabetic neuropathy.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as a man’s inability to attain or sustain an erection suitable for intercourse. Many factors can contribute to the onset of ED including, but not limited to, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Diseases affecting blood flow, nerve disorders and psychological factors all can contribute to ED. Severe injury to the penis and anti-depressant medications can also lead to the onset of erectile dysfunction.
Low libido is a decrease in desire for, or interest in sexual activities. Reduced libido can be caused by both physical and psychological factors alike. Inhibited desire has been linked to low levels of testosterone. It can also be caused by psychological problems including depression and stress. Medical illnesses, certain medications, and relationship problems all can contribute to a loss of libido.
Boston Medical Group would like to encourage anyone who is suffering from any of these conditions to seek the medical attention of a trusted physician. These are all serious problems which require the attention of a professional.