Sexual dysfunction: Know about Types and Symptoms

Sexual dysfunction: Know about Types and Symptoms
Published : Jun 06, 2024

Sexual dysfunction is a condition when a person or couple experiences problems with several aspects of sexual activity, like arousal, attraction, pleasure, and orgasm. This sexual disorder not only causes extreme distress but also affects your quality of life.

In this article, you will learn about sexual dysfunction in detail and how to treat it effectively.

What is sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a problem that happens during any phase of your sexual response cycle. It stops you from experiencing pleasure from sexual intercourse.

This disorder happens in both males and females. Sexual problems turn out to be more common in men and women when they age. Emotional issues, stress, medications, or illness can also contribute to sexual dysfunction.

However, sexual dysfunction symptoms can be treated by addressing the underlying problems which cause the dysfunction.

Types of sexual dysfunction in men and women

There are four main types of sexual dysfunction:

Sexual Desire disorders

These types of disorders affect sexual desire and interest in sexual activity. They are also known as low libido or libido disorders. The leading cause of having a decrease in sexual desire can be low estrogen and testosterone levels.

Arousal disorders

Sexual arousal disorder makes it difficult for a person to become physically stimulated or aroused during sexual intercourse. It can affect both males and females. The most common type is erectile dysfunction, which affects men. When a person suffers from arousal disorder, they might be interested in sexual activity but unable to achieve satisfaction from it.

Orgasm disorders

Orgasm disorders involve delayed orgasm or absence of orgasm. These disorders are common in women but can affect men as well. Pain during sexual intercourse, hormonal changes, stress, reduced libido, and fatigue can contribute to orgasm disorders.

Pain disorders 

Pain disorders affect both men and women. They cause pain during sexual intercourse. In women, pain might be caused by urinary tract infections, vaginismus, vaginal dryness, and hormonal changes during menopause.

In men, pain is caused by Peyronie’s disease, prostatitis, genital herpes, yeast infections, skin conditions, and other infections.

If you have signs or symptoms of sexual dysfunction in females or males, talk to the doctor immediately. Several treatments can help you.

Symptoms of sexual dysfunctions

Here are some common symptoms of sexual dysfunction in the sexual function of males and females:

Male sexual dysfunction can have the following symptoms in male:

  • Inability to achieve or sustain hard erections that are suitable for sexual intercourse (erectile dysfunction)
  • Failure to control the timing of ejaculation (early or premature ejaculation)
  • Absent or delayed ejaculation even after having adequate sexual arousal (retarded ejaculation)

Female sexual dysfunction might include symptoms like:

  • Insufficient vaginal lubrication before and during sexual activity
  • Not able to achieve orgasm
  • Inability to relax vaginal muscles needed for intercourse

Causes of sexual dysfunction

There are numerous possible causes of erectile dysfunction, from psychological causes such as depression & anxiety to physical causes like diabetes, hormonal imbalance, heart disease, and chronic illness. Like certain drugs and alcohol, aging can also lead to changes in your body that reduce sexual response.

Psychological causes

Psychological causes of sexual dysfunction usually include concern about sexual performance, work-related anxiety & stress, depression, relationship or marital issues, concerns about body image, and the effects of earlier sexual trauma.

Physical causes

There are several physical conditions which affect the sexual function. Some common physical problems that contribute to sexual dysfunction include diabetes, kidney or liver problems, neurological disorders, alcohol use, hormonal imbalances, and substance use disorders.

Apart from this, side effects of certain medicines like antidepressant drugs can also affect your sexual health.

Treatment of sexual dysfunction

You should know that most types of sexual dysfunction are quickly addressed by just treating the underlying physical or psychological problems.

Some treatment options for sexual dysfunction include:


Men and women experiencing hormone deficiencies might be prescribed hormone shots, creams, or pills. For men, medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra) can help to increase blood flow to male sexual organs and improve sexual life. To make these ED medicines work for you, you need sexual stimulation to get a hard erection while having sexual intimacy.

For women, hormonal options like testosterone and estrogen can be effective. Premenopausal women can treat their low desire with two FDA-approved medicines, including Bremelanotide and Flibanserin.

Mechanical aids

Mechanical aids like penile implants and vacuum devices can help men to treat erectile dysfunction disorder. Women experiencing a narrowing of the vagina can benefit from dilators. On the other hand, devices such as vibrators help to enhance your sexual enjoyment.


To address your sexual trauma from the past, fear, feelings of anxiety, and poor body image, you can visit a trained counselor clinic. Having an open conversation under psychotherapy with your partner for your sexual relationship problem might help in solving sexual issues among couples. Psychotherapy is also beneficial in women dealing with hypoactive sexual desire disorder and other problems that can be solved with sex therapy.


Thus, depending on the cause of your sexual dysfunction, you might or might not live with this condition. Make sure to discuss all possible treatment options with your doctor. Seeking the proper treatment under a doctor’s supervision can help you and your partner to reimagine everyday sexual life.