Sexual dysfunction is a broad term that can be defined as a problem that prevents you from enjoying or wanting sexual activity. The likelihood of having sexual dysfunction increases with age. A common cause is stress, but it could also be the result of psychological issues or sexual trauma, and medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, or it could be exacerbated by drug and alcohol use and some medications.
There are four categories of sexual dysfunction, but a condition should not be considered a disorder unless it happens regularly or impacts on your quality of life:
Desire disorder: Most people are not in the mood at some stage, it’s natural. However, desire disorder describes a condition where you have little or no interest in sexual relations on an ongoing basis.
Pain disorder: This is the case when intercourse if painful.
Arousal disorder: You’re emotionally in the mood for sexual activity, but your body is not responding accordingly.
Orgasm disorder: This is when you’re fully aroused, but you are frustrated by an inability to climax.
When a man cannot get or maintain an erection to manage intercourse, it is termed erectile dysfunction (ED). Causes include physical issues such as a problem with blood circulation, an injury to the penis, nerve disorders, Peyronie’s disease, chronic illness, and some medicines. It can also result from psychological issues such as relationship problems, stress or depression. Prolonged ED can cause significant distress to the sufferer.
Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates before or immediately after penetration. Causes include psychological issues such as performance anxiety, stressors, sexual inhibitions or physical issues such as nerve or spinal cord damage, or some medications.
Inhibited ejaculation, on the other hand, is when you can’t ejaculate. Some men, particularly those with diabetic neuropathy, experience ‘retrograde ejaculation’, which means that when they climax, ejaculation enters the bladder instead of exiting through the penis.
If your situation doesn’t improve on its own, or if you suspect there is a physical issue impeding your sex life, it is time to visit a doctor. To find a solution that will suit you, he will give you a physical examination, check which medications you are taking, and review your lifestyle and medical history.