Causes of Sexual Dysfunction

The reasons for sexual dysfunction can be quite complex and can be interrelated as well. Sexual dysfunction causes can be viewed in three categories:

Physical and health factors
Psychological factors
Relationship factors

Physical and Health Factors

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common physical factor of male sexual dysfunction. It can be due to conditions like fractures or trauma to the spinal cord or pelvic area, multiple sclerosis, heart diseases, endocrine disorders, diabetes, sexually transmitted disease or high blood pressure. Alcohol abuse and tobacco smoking can also cause ED.

Hormonal and endocrine problems – Men who have high amounts of prolactin in their body usually complain of lack or loss of interest in sex. Their loss of interest in sex affects their female partner in terms of lessened sexual activity and lowered desire level that can make their partner eventually become infertile.  Certain medicines like antipsychotics have side effects that cause prolactin level in men to rise. Cyclical fluctuations of estrogen and androgen can also affect the sexual drive of males as well as females.

Medication – There are drugs that when taken can affect the neurotransmitters of the body including serotonin and dopamine which can result in sexual problems. A great number of medicines can cause this kind of side effect. These include medicines for the treatment of depression, heart problems, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, psychosis and drugs for the lowering of cholesterol.

Psychological factors

Male and female sexual responses are triggered by erotic sensations that stimulate arousal and eventually lead to orgasm. Important in the process to attain sexual stimulation and sexual intercourse is the ability to relax, enjoy and concentrate on sensations. The person needs to feel confident and comfortable about his/her body and the physical changes that occur making him/her more desirable to the opposite sex. Also, the person is required to feel confident and comfortable enough to enable these changes to happen in front of his/her partner. He/she can feel vulnerable when he/she is in a sexually aroused state so that anything that may disrupt feelings of security and comfort during a sexual activity can negatively affect the person’s sexual responses. Resentment, hostility, anxiety anger and low mood can be factors that cause disruption in normal sexual functioning. Psychological pressures occur in stressful situations and mental illness. Past experiences of negativity and religious factors like religious and cultural beliefs, trauma and childhood sexual abuse can make a person averse to sex and repress his/her sexual desires. These psychological problems not only affect his/her sexual life but can lead to relationship problems as well.

Relationship Factors

It is very common to know that certain sexual problems are caused by relationship difficulties. Relationship problems and sexual dysfunction can lead to a vicious cycle where relationship difficulties can lead to sexual dysfunction, which then contribute or cause the relationship problem. Problems in a person’s relationship can be due to factors like cultural differences between partners, boundary issues, lack of understanding to resolve a conflict and poor communication. They all can result in avoidance and pervasive hostility. Some relationship problems that can lead to one partner losing his/her sexual desire can involve the other partner’s medical condition, personality or deviant attitude. One partner may be, for example, either mentally or physically ill, too suspicious or possessive or is having an affair.

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