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What is sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem that occurs during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents a person from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity.

There are four different types of sexual dysfunction.

1. Desire disorders

Lack of sexual desire or interest in sex.

2. Arousal disorders

Inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity.

3. Orgasm disorders

Delay or absence of orgasm (climax).

4. Pain disorders

Pain during intercourse.

What causes sexual dysfunction?

Your sexual function can be affected by:

  • ageing
  • illness
  • alcohol
  • prescribed or non-prescription drugs
  • treatments for illness

There are many causes of sexual dysfunction, but they can broadly be divided into physical and psychological.

Physical causes

Certain medications, including some anti-depressants, can cause or contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Diabetes can cause, or contribute to, sexual dysfunction as can other diseases associated with the:

  • heart
  • kidney
  • liver
  • neurological conditions

Hormonal imbalances, including those which may be experienced during menopause may also cause sexual dysfunction.

Sexual dysfunction can also be caused by lifestyle factors like:

  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • substance misuse

Psychological causes

How you function sexually can all be affected by:

  • relationship problems
  • problems with self-esteem
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • guilt