Definition of Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction pertains to a problem happening during a cycle of sexual response that inhibits a couple or a person from gaining satisfaction from a sexual activity. The cycle of sexual response typically involves excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Sexual wanting and arousal are parts of the sexual response’s excitement phase.

Statistics reveal that sexual dysfunction affects a large segment of the population in the United States (about 30% of men and 43% of women exhibit some signs of sexual dysfunction). Sexual dysfunction is one topic a lot of people are not too open to talk about.  The good news is that sexual dysfunction of most types can be treated and it is vital to reveal your problems with your partner and doctor in order to find a treatment for it.

There are actually four categories of sexual dysfunction. These include:

Sexual pain disorder – In medical terms this disorder is called dyspareunia which means pain during intercourse.  Dyspareunia is typically a woman’s sexual problem. Another female sexual pain disorder is called vaginismus. This condition is caused by involuntary muscle spasms felt in the vaginal walls that makes sexual intercourse painful for the female. Vaginismus can come about due to insufficient or lessened amount of lubrication of the vagina and its one main sign is vaginal dryness. Factors such as breast feeding, pregnancy or menopause can cause vaginismus. The etiology of sexual pain disorder is unknown although it can be generated by sexual abuse and rape and other forms of sexual trauma. Some other factors that can cause sexual pain disorder include vulvar vestibulitis (felt as a burning pain during copulation) and vulvodynia.

Orgasm dysfunction – This disorder is not only seen in men but in women as well. Orgasm dysfunction means that one or both partners fail to achieve orgasm or take a long time achieving orgasm after a typical sexual stimulation period. This disorder can be caused by medicines such as SSRI antidepressants.

Sexual arousal problem – This type of disorder can affect the person’s psychology more and can therefore make the problem even worse. This problem is often termed as frigidity in women and impotence in men. In men this problem is known as erectile dysfunction. Sexual arousal disorder implies a person’s evasion or dislike of sexual contact. This can be brought about by conditions such as lessened vaginal lubrication or diminished blood flow.

Sexual desire disorders – This is often due to a male’s or female’s low libido or sex drive. For women this can be due to low estrogen counts while for men low testosterone count is often the culprit. Fatigue, pregnancy and aging are some of the natural factors causing the lowering of libido. Drugs for psychiatric problems can also lessen libido in both male and female.

Sexual dysfunction can often be observed in a person’s individual’s early adult years; however, a person is often embarrassed or do not know what his problem is that can prevent him/her from getting medical attention. Sexual dysfunction strikes more in people who are drinking alcohol or abusing drugs.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.