The inability to experience sexual satisfaction due to problems occurring in any of the phases of sexual response cycle is termed as sexual dysfunction. It is also known as sexual disorder or sexual malfunction. The sexual response cycle consists of four phases namely excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. This disorder, seen in both male and female, greatly influence the quality of their sexual life.
Sexual dysfunction is one of the most common disorders experienced today. About 31% of men and 43% of women are reported to face some kind of difficulty in their sexual life. Yet the social stigma and embarrassment associated with it, prevents people from getting proper medical help. It is to be noted that this disorder is highly curable. With proper medical attention and expert advice, the chances of full recovery are high.
Sexual disorder can be caused either due to physical causes or psychological causes. The physical causes of the disorder maybe due to heart diseases, diabetes, neurological, kidney or liver diseases, hormonal imbalances or menopause. Alcoholism and drug abuse are also said to have a profound effect on the sexual function. In addition to these, sexual dysfunction can occur as a result of side effects from various medications, including anti-depressant drugs.
The psychological factors play an important role in this disorder. The problems in marital life including marital discord, guilt, anxiety and depression affects the quality of sexual life. The cases of past trauma in one’s sexual life can also lead to this disorder. The most commonly seen psychological cause, nowadays, is work related anxiety and stress. According to researchers, an intense psychological stress lasting about 6 months can lead to sexual dysfunction.
The major signs of sexual dysfunction include pain during intercourse. It can be due to a number of reasons like ovarian cysts, endometriosis, poor lubrication or vaginitis. Sexual phobia stemming from a previous traumatic experience or fear of penetration can also lead to painful intercourse. Lack of arousal or the inability to get aroused is another kind of female sexual dysfunction. This inability leads to lack of vaginal lubrication which in turn makes intercourse painful. This can also be due to stress, anxiety or lack of stimulation.
Anorgasmia or lack of orgasm is a another sign of female sexual dysfunction. There are many reasons for the absence of climax in sexual activity. Some of them stems from anxiety, guilt, fear, lack of knowledge or experience. The side effects of certain medications, lack of stimulation and chronic diseases also leads to this disorder. The diagnosis of sexual dysfunction involves an initial physical examination followed by a pelvic exam and pap smear test to examine the cervical cells for changes. An evaluation of the patient’s psychological attributes is also done.
Female sexual dysfunction is treatable. The treatment regimen involves providing FEMALE INFERTILITY about human anatomy, sexual needs and the changes of body in relation to aging. This can help a woman overcome her fears and insecurities. Other treatment techniques include teaching methods to improve stimulation and involving distraction techniques. The patients are also made aware of methods to minimise pain.