Sexual Dysfunction

There are many things that occur during sexual activity that can be considered a sexual dysfunction. A sexual dysfunction is the loss or impairment of the ordinary physical responses of sexual function. There are many dysfunctions for men and women such as erectile disorder, female sexual arousal disorder, female orgasmic disorder, vaginismus, and premature ejaculation. All dysfunctions, as mentioned above may be life long dysfunctions or may have been acquired over time. Once again a life long dysfunction is one that has been experienced since the beginning of the sexual cycle. On the other hand, acquired is one that has been experienced at one point or another in a person’s life but, can no longer be experienced by that person.

In men, sexual dysfunction is usually known as erectile disorder or dysfunction. Erectile disorder is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is adequate for sexual pleasures. This condition was once called “impotence”. Some causes for erectile disorder may be fatigue, diabetes, hypertension, aging, alcohol and other drugs that change the hormones and affect the body. Other common reasons for this dysfunction may be psychological, from the mind, such as anxiety. Lately in the United States a new drug has been released to help people who suffer from erectile disorder. This drug is known as Viagra. This drug affects the blood flow to the penis and helps the male keep his erection much longer until the end of sex, or until desired. Another common dysfunction in men is premature ejaculation. This dysfunction involves the recurring tendency to ejaculate during sex sooner than the man or his partner desires. Many men experience one of these problems at some point in their lives, but in only a few of them is this a reoccurring problem.

In women, sexual dysfunction usually takes the form of female sexual arousal disorder. Female sexual arousal disorder is the inability to become sexually excited or to reach orgasm. A woman with this dysfunction is not able to lubricate her vagina when stimulated, her vagina does not expand, and she has no formation of her orgasmic platform. She typically will not feel erotic sensations or become aroused. The woman may find physical repulsive or she may have no feelings at all towards physical . The woman may only enjoy physical to a point before she becomes repulsed or looses all interest. This condition was once called “frigidity.” (These two names for these dysfunctions “impotence” and “frigidity” were changed due to the fact that professionals and researchers in the fields of sexual studies have rejected these terms as said to be to negative and/or judgmental.) The causes of female sexual arousal disorder are not yet fully understood, but some researchers do believe that this disorder may result from the reduction of oxygen-rich blood to the clitoris. It also appears to have something to do with psychological factors such as guilt or concern about one’s sexual performance. Like all dysfunctions female sexual arousal disorder may be life long or it may be acquired. In other words the woman may have never been responsive to sexual stimulation or at one point in her life she was responsive to it but now she no longer is. Another dysfunction in women is female orgasmic disorder. This is the impairment of the orgastic component of the female sexual response. In female orgasmic disorder, the woman may be very sexually aroused but never reach orgasm. Another dysfunction in women is Vaginismus. Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the vaginal entrance making intercourse impossible. This is generally thought to be a very rare dysfunction among women but has been found in many cases.

Occasional erectile disorder or female sexual arousal disorder problems are common in many people. Problems with achieving and/or maintaining an erection in men or with problems of reaching an orgasm in women are no need to worry. They are situations of little concern if they only happen every once in a while, but on the other hand if the problem frequently or constantly occurs it should be checked and be considered serious. Most men and women who really do have a sexual dysfunction disorder, for example, cannot have a satisfying sexual relationship even after repeated attempts with a partner whom they greatly desire. Many people seem to find sexual arousal and/or sexual pleasure difficult to experience in the beginning of it all, while others don’t begin to experience sexual dysfunction until later on in the sexual response cycle. (The sexual response cycle is the pattern of physiological arousal during and after sexual activity.) When a person develops a sexual desire disorder they begin to develop a lack of interest for sex or even a great distaste for it. “Low sexual desire is more common among women than among men and plays a role in perhaps over forty percent of all sexual dysfunctions (Southern & Gayle, 1982). The extent and causes of this disorder in men or women is difficult to analyze, because some people simply have a low motivation for sexual activity: scant interest in sex is normal for them and does not necessarily reflect any sexual disorder (Beck, 1995). Others report no anxiety about or aversion to sex but exhibit physiological indicators of inhibited desire (Wincze, Hoon, & Hoon, 1978). This fact has led some researchers to conclude that the disorder is sometimes caused by a physical abnormality.” (Morris & Maisto, 1999) In some people, investigators believe that their problems with sexual arousal and pleasure may have come from earlier childhood experiences, such as abuse or sexual experiences, or many other bad or unfulfilling relationships that they have experienced in their past. Some other people can experience the desire and drive for sex but they have the problems of not being able to have physical arousal and enjoy the sensations at the same time or they cannot stay aroused all the way to the end of sexual intercourse. These problems are considered the typical situations of sexual arousal disorder. The DSM-IV has no guidelines or rules as to how often or rarely these types of problems must occur or not occur to be considered a disorder or just to be considered normal. On the other hand, a diagnosis is a clinical judgment based on the person’s gender, age, and expressed desires. “Masters and Johnson (1970) recommended that inhibited sexual excitement be diagnosed in a male only when he fails to attain erection and vaginal entry on 25 percent of his attempts. The causes of sexual arousal disorder include anxiety-provoking attitudes derived from parental or social teaching, fear of pregnancy or inadequate performance, and inexperience on the part of one or both partners. Ackerman and Carey (1995) contend that situational anxiety, including fear of ridicule, inadequate genital size, and (especially) performance failure, also play an important role in sexual arousal disorders. The fact that many dysfunctional men report satisfactory arousal in response to such stimuli as sexually explicit films, supports this conclusion. Still other people are able to experience sexual desire and maintain arousal but are unable to reach orgasm, the peaking of sexual pleasure and the release of sexual tension. These people are said to experience orgasmic disorders. Male orgasmic disorder is the inability to ejaculate even when fully aroused. This is rare but seems to be becoming increasingly common as more men find it desirable to practice the delay of orgasm (Rosen & Rosen, 1981). Masters and Johnson (1970) attribute male orgasmic disorder primarily to such psychological factors as traumatic experiences. The problem also seems to be a side effect of some medications, such as certain anti-depressants. Among the other problems that can occur during sexual response cycle are premature ejaculation, which the DSM-IV defines as the male’s inability to inhibit orgasm as long as desired, and vaginismus, involuntary muscle spasms in the outer part of a woman’s vagina during sexual excitement that make intercourse impossible. Again, the occasional experience of such problems is common; the DSM-IV considers them dysfunctions only if they are “persistent and recurrent”.” (Morris & Maisto, 1999)

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