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.
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Some years ago when I was chief resident in psychiatry at the New England
Medical Center, I decided it was finally time to enter therapy myself. I was
dating the woman who would later become my wife and I wanted to explore why I
hadn’t yet committed to her.
So I booked an appointment with a noted psychiatrist, about 10 miles from my
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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.