Sexual Dysfunction not a Taboo

“Sexual dysfunction is one of the most important areas, which require special knowledge and different perspectives to understand it better”

Sexual dysfunction is a problem with the sexual response cycle that interferes with normal sexual activity, affecting a person’s ability to respond sexually or experience sexual pleasure. It is the inability of a person to reach or achieve an orgasm, have painful intercourse, or a strong repulsion of sexual activity. Men and women of all ages experience various types of sexual dysfunction, although the chances of experiencing one increases with the age.

Several factors disrupt sexual functioning. Physical and/or medical conditions like age-related vascular, nerve related diseases, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances and alcoholism and drugs can cause problems with the normal sexual response cycle. Imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain due to the side effects of some medications, can also affect sexual activity and function.

It is important to note that biological factors cannot be solely attributed to sexual dysfunction. Various psychological and relationship factors also contribute to sexual dysfunction. Psychological concerns such as work-related stress and anxiety, sexual performance concerns, marital and relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, body image concerns, and any effects of previous sexual trauma have the potential to negatively affect sexual arousal and performance. It has been also seen that an individual’s sexual concerns may not stem from a problem within the individual, but rather from the lack of adequate sexual stimulation, poor sexual communication, poor understanding of sexuality, different desires or preferences for sexual activity.

Sexual Dysfunction in Female

• Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder: Every woman has her own level sexual desires of what is considered “normal” based on her own experiences and biological drive.  But women with absent or reduced interest in sexual activity, thoughts, fantasies and excitement; no or reduced initiation of sexual activity, absent or reduced genital or non-genital sensations during sexual intercourse can be considered as symptoms of Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder.

• Orgasmic Disorder: Stress and fatigue are the enemies of orgasm. Women’s inability to realize orgasm happen when their drive is low or when hormones are out of whack. According to Harvard Medical School, the norm for female sexual response isn’t easily measurable and is based more on quality. Basically, you don’t have sexual dysfunction if you’re satisfied together with your sex life, and you don’t have orgasms.

• Genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder: Many things can cause pain during sexual activity. Inadequate lubrication and tense vaginal muscles make penetration painful. Hormonal changes of menopause, drop in estrogen levels may result in thinning of the skin within the genital area causing intercourse uncomfortable. It can thin vaginal lining and decreased lubrication which makes intercourse hurt.

Sexual Dysfunction in Men

• Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: Persistent or recurrent deficient in sexual or erotic thoughts, fantasies, and desire for sexual activity persisted for a minimum of six months can be considered as symptoms of HSDD. An individual with HSDD can experience marked low sexual desire for at least 75% of the time over 6 months or more. He reports apparent delay, irregularity, or lack of orgasm during sexual activity for 6 months or longer.

• Erectile Disorder: ED occurs when a man is unable achieve or maintain an erection appropriate for/during an intercourse. This can occur due to a problem with blood flow, a nerve disorder, an injury to the penis, or any psychological problems, like stress, anxiety, depression, or any relationship issues.

• Premature or Impaired Ejaculation: Premature ejaculation is ejaculation that happens before or immediately after penetration. This is often a consequence of performance anxiety. There are biological reasons like abnormal hormone levels, sexual inhibitions, or nerve damage which can cause premature ejaculation. But other psychological reasons include depression, early sexual abuse, poor body image or any tendency to rush through sexual encounters. Premature ejaculation is a common and treatable condition.

Experience of sexuality has biological, psychological, emotional and social ramification attached to it. But a problem shared is a problem halved. Both men and women face certain kind of inadequacy and inability to achieve/ maintain satisfactory levels of sexual drive. Sexual concerns or worries, whether temporary or prolonged, should be given enough time and the right setting to be talked about. Having an open conversation and acknowledging what is happening is the best way you can get onto your road to recovery. Opening up to your partner and consultation with doctor and psychologist are few initial steps which can be taken to resolve sexual dysfunction.