A sexual problem, or sexual dysfunction, refers to a problem 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 has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common (43% of women and 31% of men report some degree of difficulty), it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Fortunately, most cases of sexual dysfunction are treatable, so it is important to share your concerns with your partner and doctor.
The symptoms of sexual problems in men include:
Lack of sexual desire, sexual fantasies, or interest in sexual contact
Inability to have or maintain any erection
Inability to have or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual functioning
Inability to reach an orgasm despite adequate sexual stimulation and signs of arousal
Ability to achieve orgasm only after an unusually lengthy period of stimulation
Ability to achieve orgasm only during masturbation or during oral sex
Psychological causes. These include work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, or the effects of a past sexual trauma.
Who Is Affected by Sexual Dysfunction?
Both men and women are affected by sexual dysfunction. Sexual problems occur in adults of all ages. Among those commonly affected are older adults, and they may be related to a decline in health associated with aging.