Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction includes any sexual disorder that is primarily psychological in nature and not directly as a result of a medical condition. If there is a medical condition that plays a partial role in the sexual disorder then a sexual disorder due to psychological grounds can still be diagnosed if the medical condition does not explain the degree of sexual dysfunction. The sexual dysfunction categories seem to grow with each version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), and the DSM-V has the categories listed below.

Once again it needs to be stressed that the conditions below must occur all or most of the time when having or trying to have sex, in order for the diagnosis to prevail. If you couldn’t get it up on one drunken night this does not mean that you have erectile disorder! Equally, if the current sexual problem is better explained by another psychological disorder (e.g. severe depression) or by socio-cultural factors (anger at your spouse), then this – although it still needs to be addressed – would not constitute a sexual disorder.

Psychological sexual dysfunction disorders include the following:

  1. Premature ejaculation disorder
  2. Delayed ejaculation disorder
  3. Erectile disorder
  4. Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder
  5. Female sexual interest/arousal disorder
  6. Genito – pelvic pain/penetration disorder
  7. Substance/medication-induced sexual dysfunction
  8. Other specified sexual dysfunction
  9. Unspecified sexual dysfunction.

Many people are embarrassed by sexual disorders and struggle to disclose them to friends, sexual partners or even health care practitioners. This is a sad state of affairs as sex is an important part of relationships and something that definitely contributes to quality of life. Many sexual problems can be resolved through either medical means or psychotherapy or indeed dietary changes. Also, when sexual problems are not addressed then many people might develop secondary performance anxiety and self-efficacy issues that further cement the sexual problem.


How do I get help for myself or my loved one?

The first step in getting help is finding out whether you have a problem. A trained clinical psychologist can effectively perform a professional assessment, which will identify whether you have any problem areas, and will recommend the treatment most appropriate for you if necessary.

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