Psychosexual dysfunction is the inability to become sexually aroused or achieve sexual satisfaction in the appropriate situations because of mental or emotional reasons.
Although psychosexual dysfunction is not life threatening, it can have a major effect on your relationships and self-esteem.
Psychosexual dysfunction is a sexual dysfunction that is due to psychological causes rather than physical problems, medical illnesses, or the side effects of medication.
Some of the psychological conditions include: DepressionAnxietyTraumatic sexual experience, such as abuse or rapeGuilty feelingsStressNegative body image
In psychosexual dysfunction physical problems have been ruled out. Mental or emotional problems are at the center of the dysfunction.
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Reduced sexual desire or activity is common among women and men.
Before treatment can begin, it is necessary to determine whether the dysfunction
caused by physical causes like
, heavy smoking, side effects of medications, or hormonal problems. Only sexual dysfunction due to psychological factors is called psychosexual dysfunction.
Factors that may increase your chances of developing psychosexual dysfunction include: Stress or anxiety from work or social situationsRecent pregnancy—This can result from the changes in hormone levels that occur after pregnancy, from postpartum depression, or from stress and fatigue that follow pregnancy because of adjusting to a new baby.DepressionUncertainty about your sexual orientationWorry about how you are able to perform sexuallyFear due to previous disturbing or painful sexual experiences or encountersConflict with your spouseReligious, social, or cultural restrictionsGuiltFinancial worriesFamily problemsAbusive relationship with partnerNegative body image
Symptoms of psychosexual disorder may differ for men and women.
Symptoms for men include: Not able to keep an erectionEjaculations occur too soonEjaculations do not occurNot able to become aroused when appropriately stimulatedNot able to achieve orgasmInhibited sexual desire
Symptoms for women include: Not able to become aroused when appropriately stimulatedNot able to achieve orgasmInhibited sexual desire
An unconscious spasm or tightening of the muscles around the vagina that interferes with sexual intercourse—
vaginismusExperiencing pain during sexDry vagina
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, your medical history, and your sexual history. A physical exam will be done. Make sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking. Your doctor may also ask questions about your partner.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
You may have a psychological assessment. This can be done with: A depression scaleA mini-mental state examination (MMSE)
Men may have tests done to assess erection ability. This can be done with: A snap gaugeA vascular assessment
Women may have additional tests done, such as: A vaginal examTests of bodily fluids, such as cultures or vaginal samples
If your doctor does not find anything significant from the examination or these tests, your doctor may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. The most appropriate treatment will depend on the cause of the psychosexual dysfunction.
Some medications can alleviate the symptoms.
However, to successfully manage psychosexual dysfunction, it is important to treat and manage mental and emotional issues.
Treatment options for psychosexual dysfunction include the following:
Medications may be prescribed to treat the symptoms, such as hormone therapy or medications used to treat psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Medications for erectile dysfunction can also be tried in men.
Psychotherapy allows you to talk and work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or licensed counselor to figure out ways to deals with stressful or painful issues.
Sex therapists assist you by encouraging communication, teaching you about sexual fantasies, and helping you focus on sexual stimuli.
A psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or licensed counselor works with you to unlearn automatic behaviors.
Couples meet with a psychologist, social worker, or other type of mental health professional to discuss issues, including communications problems.
There are no known ways to prevent psychosexual dysfunction.
To help reduce your chances of developing psychosexual dysfunction: Stay aware of your psychological or emotional health.
Call your doctor or mental health provider if you feel any problems surfacing again, you are experiencing excessive stress, or you anticipate a stressful situation in the near future.Spend time alone with your partner often, especially nonsexual intimate time, to help maintain the relationship. This will most likely lead to increase sexual interest.Continue to communicate openly with your partner about intimacy and sexual issues.
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http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Female_Sexual_Problems.aspx. Accessed May 23, 2014.
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Last reviewed June 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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