Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem occurring during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity. The sexual response cycle traditionally includes excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Desire and arousal are both part of the excitement phase of the sexual response.
While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common (43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report some degree of difficulty), it is a topic that many people are hesitant to discuss. Because treatment options are available, it is important to share your concerns with your partner and healthcare provider.
What are the types of sexual dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction generally is classified into four categories:
Desire disorders —lack of sexual desire or interest in sex
Arousal disorders —inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity
Orgasm disorders —delay or absence of orgasm (climax)
Pain disorders — pain during intercourse
What are the symptoms of sexual dysfunction?
Inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for intercourse (erectile dysfunction)
Absent or delayed ejaculation despite adequate sexual stimulation (retarded ejaculation)
Inability to control the timing of ejaculation (early or premature ejaculation)
Inability to achieve orgasm
Inadequate vaginal lubrication before and during intercourse
Inability to relax the vaginal muscles enough to allow intercourse