Types of Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women


Good sex life is a key to a healthy relationship, overall well-being of an individual and happiness. But what’s the mantra of power of sexuality?  It’s the equilibrium between desire, eroticism, pleasure, and satisfaction. Any interference with these components can ruin your sex life and the villain in the story is known as sexual dysfunction. Let’s know more about it.

Types of Sexual Dysfunction

What is Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a set of problems hindering the engagement of a person into sexual activities leading to dissatisfaction as well as personal and relationship distress. Its prevalence is not gender or age specific, rather it can be experienced by men and women of all ages, although chances of its occurrence increase with age. Now, what subverts the sexual desire and satisfaction is the disturbed interrelationship between body, mind, and emotions during the sexual response.

Multiple times it happens that one may not be in mood to have sex. Is this normal or a problem?

When to Consider a Bad Night Experience as a Problem?

Not being in the mood to share intimacy with your partner sometimes is absolutely normal. It’s a matter of concern only when it becomes a daily routine and starts ruining your sexual life. Depending upon the realm of sexual response affected, the sexual dysfunction is categorized mainly into four types as described below:

  • Low Libido Disorder
  • Sexual Arousal Disorder
  • Orgasmic Dysfunction
  • Sexual Pain Disorder

1. Low Libido Disorder

The first step of any sexual activity is the desire or fantasy or thought provoking to do so. Having little or no such drive to indulge in sex that too being experienced continuously or recurrently for a prolonged time leading to personal distress is referred to as a low libido disorder. This may develop after a prolonged period of normal sex life or have been present always. This can further be of two types:

  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder: It is characterized by a persistent or recurrent absence or low desire to get intimate with a partner.
  • Sexual Aversion disorder: It is characterized by a complete avoidance of sex that causes your relationship sour with your partner. In addition, one may experience panic attacks just by the possibility of sexual intercourse.


In men, low libido may occur due to low levels of testosterone whereas, in women, this may occur due to:

  • Low levels of estrogen
  • Menopause
  • Breast-feeding
  • Hormonal imbalance during childbirth

Other responsible factors common to both (males and females) may include:

  • Diseases, such as high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • Certain medications, such as fluoxetine (antidepressant drugs)
  • Stress or a traumatic past
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Sexual inhibitions
  • Fatigue
  • A fear of pregnancy
  • Age
  • Depression
  • Anxiety


The individual may be advised to undergo the following:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Couple counseling
  • Switch the antidepressant medication

2. Sexual Arousal Disorder

Sexual arousal or a sexual turn on is something that fuels your erotic engines, absence of which can make the sexual intercourse difficult, painful, and unrewarding. When a person persistently experiences a lack of or diminished sexual excitement or arousal (mental, emotional or physical sensations such as tingling, or throbbing sensation in the genitals or vaginal wetness, or penile erection etc.) in response to sexual stimulation (such as kissing or dancing, watching a porn, and touching the genitals etc.) is referred to as sexual arousal disorder. This includes the inability of a male to achieve erection and problematic genital swelling and lubrication in females.


Most of the causes are the same as that of low libido disorder, such as, age, hormonal changes, depression, stress etc. Some other responsible causes are as follows:

  • Thinning and drying of vagina after menopause (atrophic vaginitis)
  • Vaginal infections (vaginitis) or bladder infections (cystitis)
  • Nerve damage and clogging of the blood vessels
  • Diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure etc.


  • Some general measures that can be helpful are listed below
  • activities enhancing trust and intimacy between sexual partners
  • Mutual cooperation in making the environment more conducive for sexual intercourse
  •  Discussing or knowing the sexual interests of your partner
  • Use of aphrodisiacs such as sildenafil or tadalafil (the medications should be taken in consultation with your doctor only)
  • Therapies to restore hormonal imbalance

3. Orgasmic Dysfunction

This type of sexual dysfunction occurs when an individual either fails to achieve or have delayed sexual climax (orgasm) even when there is ample sexual stimulation and is sexually aroused’ for example, delayed ejaculation in men; or achieves orgasm too early, for example premature ejaculation. This may result in interpersonal distress, frustration, irritation and personal problems.


The main causes of orgasmic dysfunction are as listed below:

  • Psychological, shyness, low self-esteem, religious and cultural beliefs, guilt, depression, stress
  • Personal issues, relationship conflicts, history of sexual abuse, physical trauma, gynecological surgeries
  • Diseases; diabetes, high blood pressure
  • Medications, fluoxetine (antidepressants)
  • Nerve damage, spinal cord injury


Its treatment mainly depends on the cause. One may be required to:

  • Treat underlying diseases or damages
  • Change antidepressant medications
  •  Undergo sex therapy or cognitive behavior therapy
  • Increase genital stimulation using sex toys or arousal oils or through other sexual activities during sexual intercourse or masturbation
  • Couple counselling
  • Hormonal therapy

4. Sexual Pain Disorder

Also, referred to as genito-pelvic pain or penetration disorder and is characterized by the pain associated with various phases of sex, such as arousal, penetration, and ejaculation. This type of conditions makes it difficult to enjoy sex rather make it more traumatic, increases interpersonal and sexual distress, reduces emotional quality of life.


The pain during sexual activities can arise due to the following cause:

  • Poor lubrication and tense vaginal muscles
  • Vaginismus or Involuntary vaginal muscle spasms
  • Neurological, urinary tract, or bowel disorders and infections, such as chronic prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, genital herpes
  • Hormonal changes due to menopause
  • Psychological factors: fear, depression, anxiety
  • Nerve damage, spinal cord injury
  • Damage to the penis, peyronie’s disease
  • Medication side effects  


The strategy of treatment for sexual pain disorders is mainly cause oriented. The individual may be required to undergo:

  • Treatment for underlying diseases or damages
  • Changing the medications responsible for causing painful sexual experience
  • Undergo sex therapy or cognitive behavior therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Couple counselling
  • Vaginal relaxation exercises
  • Use of lubricants, different sexual postures

Don’t judge a book by its cover. If you are worried that your partner is trying to avoid sex talk or giving excuses when you approach for sex, then talk more compassionately to your partner instead of coming directly to a conclusion. May be your partner needs your help and support and is afraid of being judged for a problem more private and serious.


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