Struggling with sexual dysfunction can be highly challenging, both for men and women. It can lead to numerous awkward situations and unpleasant experiences with your partner. However, living with sexual dysfunction doesn’t mean you have to give up on pleasures and fun experiences.
Getting back in the game while dealing with sexual dysfunction doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you find the cause affecting your sex life, there are several different treatments you can implement to live a happier and healthier life.
From causes and symptoms to treatments, you can find everything about sexual dysfunction and how to deal with it in this detailed guide.
Sexual Dysfunction Explained
First things first, let’s say something more about what sexual dysfunction is. The sexual response cycle typically includes the excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution phase. Furthermore, the excitement phase consists of two parts – desire and arousal.
Sexual dysfunction is an issue that can take place during any of the four sexual response cycle phases. The result of sexual dysfunction is the inability to experience satisfaction or pleasure from sexual activity.
Both women and men deal with this problem. Although it’s not a common topic for discussion, many people experience sexual dysfunction in any of the four sexual response cycle phases.
Moreover, sexual dysfunction can affect all people, regardless of age, but it is more common among individuals over 40. That is because sexual dysfunction is closely connected to a decline in health, a typical consequence of aging.
Sexual Dysfunction Types
Although the symptoms are more or less the same, not everyone experiences the same type of sexual dysfunction. Since it can affect any of the four sexual response cycle phases, there are four main types of this health complication. They include:
- Desire dysfunction: Individuals with desire dysfunction aren’t as interested in sex as before and are often feeling a lack of sexual desire.
- Arousal dysfunction: Individuals with arousal dysfunction can’t get excited or physically aroused during sexual activities.
- Pain dysfunction: People with this dysfunction often experience pain or other discomforts during intercourse.
- Orgasm dysfunction: Individuals with orgasm dysfunction don’t experience orgasms and climaxes or have them with a delay.
Different Causes of Sexual Dysfunction
If you’re dealing with sexual dysfunction, you’re probably wondering what has been causing it. Plenty of factors can cause this disorder in people, so giving a short answer is impossible. Because there are so many potential causes, we’ve divided them into four categories – psychological issues, physical issues, medicine side-effects, and lifestyle causes.
These categories can play an essential role in sexual dysfunction, and we will focus on each separately.
Psychological causes are usually connected to desire and arousal disorder. That means people can’t get sexually excited because something more significant is troubling them and preventing them from feeling relaxed and at ease.
The most common psychological issue is work-related stress and anxiety. As people’s lives get busier and more career-oriented, many individuals experience sexual dysfunction since they can’t set their minds to things that aren’t connected to their profession.
Marital and relationship problems are other common psychological causes. Frequently arguing with your partner won’t do any good to your sexual relationship as you’ll probably feel a lack of sexual desire.
Some inner struggles can also play a role in your ability to have sex, including concerns about body image and sexual performance. Depression and feelings of guilt are also incredibly influential, even if you’re not aware of their existence.
Sexual trauma can leave deep marks, too, so sexual dysfunction can result from some distressing experiences in the past.
Besides psychological issues, some physical and medical complications can negatively affect sexual functions. Complex conditions such as neurological disorders don’t allow people to have an uninterrupted connection between the brain and their body parts, so sexual dysfunction is often the result.
Other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and vascular diseases can also lead to numerous health issues, one of them being sexual dysfunction. Hormonal imbalances and chronic diseases, including kidney and liver failure, can also lead to difficulties in sexual functions.
This list can be much longer. Even if you’re suffering from an illness that doesn’t directly influence sexual ability and function, the stress of battling that illness indeed affects libido and sexual function.
Medicine Side Effects
In addition to psychological and physical issues, medicines can affect sexual function. Whether you’re taking over-the-counter pills or prescription drugs, sexual dysfunction can be a common side effect.
Sexual dysfunction has been a known side effect of the following medications:
- Antihistamine medicines: Cimetidine (Tagamet), Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Meclizine (Antivert), Promethazine (Phenergan), and others.
- High blood pressure medicines and diuretics: Atenolol (Tenormin), Captopril (Capoten), Enalapril (Vasotec), Guanfacine (Tenex), Hydralazine (Apresoline), Labetalol (Normodyne), Metoprolol (Lopressor), Phentolamine (Regitine), Spironolactone (Aldactone), Verapamil (Calan), and others.
- Hormonal and chemotherapy medicines: Antiandrogens (Casodex, Flutamide), Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), LHRH agonists (Lupron, Zoladex, Firmagon), and others.
- Parkinson’s disease medicines: Benztropine (Cogentin), Bromocriptine (Parlodel), Procyclidine (Kemadrin), and others.
- Psychiatric medication and antidepressants: Amitriptyline (Elavil), Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Clomipramine (Anafranil), Diazepam (Valium), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Imipramine (Tofranil), Lorazepam (Ativan), Phenelzine (Nardil), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.
- Opiate analgesics (also known as painkillers): Codeine, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone, and others.
- Other medicines: Atropine, Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), Digoxin (Lanoxin), Estrogen, Furazolidone (Furoxone), Indomethacin (Indocin), Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, NSAIDs), Prochlorperazine (Compazine), Sumatriptan (Imitrex), and others.
Finally, lifestyle habits and daily behavior can also significantly influence sexual function.
Naturally, leading a healthy lifestyle will decrease the chances of suffering from this disorder. In contrast, bad lifestyle choices and habits will increase the chances of crossing paths with this unpleasant condition.
While there are many unfavorable lifestyle choices and habits people can pick up on, smoking, excessive drinking, recreational drugs, and drug abuse are among the leading lifestyle factors causing sexual dysfunction. Eliminating these activities or keeping them under control is enough to experience a difference in personal sexual function.
If you think you’re suffering from this condition but aren’t quite sure, checking out the common sexual dysfunction symptoms might be a good idea.
Here you’ll find an overview of the most common symptoms of sexual dysfunction both in men and women. While some symptoms appear in both sexes, others are specific to male or female genital organs.
Symptoms both men and women experience include:
- A diminished desire for or lack of interest in sex and sexual activities;
- Inability to become excited or aroused before or during intercourse;
- Experiencing pain during intercourse.
Symptoms in Men
Common symptoms of sexual dysfunction that only men can experience include:
- Erectile dysfunction: inability to maintain or achieve an erection that’s needed for sexual intercourse;
- Retarded ejaculation: experiencing delayed ejaculation or not achieving one despite sexual stimulation;
- Premature ejaculation: failure to control the timing of ejaculation.
Symptoms in Women
Other symptoms of sexual dysfunction are specific to women. They include:
- Inability to achieve orgasm despite experiencing sexual stimulation;
- Failure to ensure the required vaginal lubrication before or during sexual intercourse;
- Inability to relax the vaginal muscles to enjoy sexual intercourse.
Getting Back in the Game
Recognizing these symptoms in your behavior and sexual experience means there’s a good chance you’ve been struggling with this condition even if you haven’t been aware of that.
A good piece of advice is to talk to a professional and make sure this is the condition you’re dealing with and not something else. If the doctor confirms you have it, you can focus on getting back in the game by following the tips and tricks mentioned below. Let’s jump straight into it!
Talk with your partner.
Having a bad day and dealing with sexual dysfunction isn’t the same. If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms for a while, you and your partner may be growing apart.
That’s why the first thing you should do is talk with your partner. A recent study on sexual health revealed that expressing your feelings is the most constructive way to address and fix the problem.
Open and honest communication is the only way to ensure you and your partner are on the same page, which is what will keep your relationship strong even when you’re going through some hardships.
Regularly talking with your partner and keeping them updated on your condition is what will help your relationship overcome the barriers brought by sexual dysfunction and lead you towards a healthier and happier sex life.
In some cases, the partner’s reassurance and comfort are enough to get back in the game, especially if stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem have been causing your sexual dysfunction.
Change your habits.
In most cases, simply discussing your condition with a partner isn’t enough to forget about your struggles and difficulties. That means you might have to take your recovery to the next step, such as changing your lifestyle habits.
Smoking, drinking, and medication (recreational, over-the-counter, and prescription drugs) can play a significant role in how sexually functional you are. Therefore, breaking as many bad habits as possible will do wonders for your sex life. Reducing the intake should also do the trick.
If you’re taking any medication to combat a particular illness, it’s vital to determine if sexual dysfunction is that medication’s side effect. That way, you’ll know how to effectively overcome the condition and get back in the game as soon as possible.
However, using prescription drugs isn’t something you can stop by yourself. Instead, you should consult with your doctor to see whether it’s possible to make some changes in your therapy to influence your sexual ability.
Don’t shy away from being honest with your doctor and saying what has been bugging you. That’s the best and quickest way of finding an appropriate solution to your problem.
Consider medical treatment.
If a specific medication is why you’ve been experiencing sexual dysfunction, a simple change in your therapy is all that’s needed to get back in the game.
Nevertheless, medical treatments can also be the solution to sexual dysfunction, as more and more medications created for this purpose appear on the market. They can take numerous forms, but pills, creams, and hormone shots are the most popular.
Drugs are the standard solution for treating sexual dysfunction in men, as they increase blood flow to the penis. Most popular medications include sildenafil (Viagra®), avanafil (Stendra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), and vardenafil (Staxyn®, Levitra®).
Hormone shots are the preferred option for treating sexual dysfunction in women. Most popular hormonal shots include estrogen and testosterone.
Talk to a sex therapist.
If talking to your partner, making lifestyle changes, and getting medical treatments doesn’t help, it might time to seek help from a sex therapist.
Sex therapists are experts in dealing with all problems in a relationship, primarily related to sex. However, since these issues have their roots deep in other matters, sex therapists are also excellent marriage counselors.
A trained professional will help you address the root cause of your sexual dysfunction and overcome it. This method is the best if the cause of sexual dysfunction lies deep in the psyche, such as feeling anxious, having low confidence, or suffering from sexual trauma.
As you can see, many factors can cause sexual dysfunction. Although the condition can result from the natural process of aging and losing interest in sexual activity, it can also be a consequence of some underlying health issues.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to deal with it and work your way towards overcoming the obstacles posed by this condition.
By examining the symptoms, causes, and solutions, you’ll be able to treat sexual dysfunction and get all the problems out of the bedroom. Whether the issue is physical or psychological, the tips above will help you address it and open the door to better sexual experiences, a healthier relationship with your partner, and happier life.
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