Sexual Dysfunctions: What They Are, What Types There Are, and How They Are Treated

Sexual Dysfunctions: What They Are

Sexual dysfunctions are all those situations in which sexual satisfaction or sexual response is affected and this prevents participation in a desired sexual relationship. They affect both men and women and do not have to be associated with age or sexual orientation.

Our sexuality is valued, albeit privately and intimately, as one of the most important aspects of our lives. However, it is well known that throughout history, human sexuality has been a nest of taboos, prejudices and censorship .

The repression of sexuality, which is not good, the curbing of desire and the general ignorance on the subject, not only causes us to be unable to know, express and enjoy our sexuality to the full, but also, on many occasions, causes the appearance of more serious difficulties which prevent us from enjoying it and which harm our relationships, both as a couple and on a social level, since they damage self-esteem and general satisfaction with life.

Prevalence

Although the statistics are confusing, due to the disagreement that often exists in the classification of sexual dysfunctions, they indicate a rather high prevalence . Masters and Johnson, pioneers in the research of human sexuality in the 1960s, indicated that 50% of heterosexual couples presented some sexual dysfunction.

Currently, according to the Andalusian Institute of Sexology and Psychology (2002) the sexual dysfunction for which most people are consulted is erectile dysfunction, which covers 48% of consultations. Premature ejaculation follows with 28.8%, followed by hypoactive sexual desire (8%), female anorgasmia (7.4%), vaginismus (1.6%) and male orgasm disorders (0.4%).

How do I know if I have any sexual dysfunction?

The moment you feel discomfort or dissatisfaction regarding your sexual behavior. For me, the dysfunction starts when it is the person himself who is not comfortable in his relationships , not when the body does not respond as society dictates it should (e.g. “A real man lasts longer than X time”, if you are satisfied with your ejaculation time and your partner is too, there is no sexual dysfunction worthwhile). In other words, it is a subjective perception.

How it interferes with quality of life

Our body is a means to pleasure. If it doesn’t work as we would like it to, that pleasure will be invaded, and doesn’t pleasure provide quality of life in every way? If our sexual relations do not provide us with satisfaction we will stop maintaining them, when numerous studies say that one of the variables associated with sexual satisfaction is the frequency with which they are had, both for men and women.

Furthermore, as is evident, not only is the couple’s relationship deteriorating in bed, but also their confidence in each other, their self-esteem is deteriorating, and in the case of having a stable partner, communication with this partner and the general satisfaction with the relationship is also deteriorating .

As usual, but not the best choice, sexual problems are usually lived in silence. This only generates serious internal conflicts (and with the partner), consequently diminishing the quality of life .

Why treatment is important

Sexual dysfunctions often become a vicious circle. It starts by having an episode in which our body has not reacted as we wanted (we have lost or not achieved an erection, suddenly we do not feel like having sex, I do not manage to reach a climax or ejaculate earlier than I would like).

The next time you have sex, you leave with some anticipatory anxiety in your body for fear that it will happen again. So, until you stop trying (“I’m not going to enjoy it at all” or “Why should I try if I’m not going to succeed” or “I’m useless” or “I want to satisfy you and I can’t”). In short, you enter a loop from which it is very difficult to get out and for which, in the vast majority of cases, therapeutic help is needed .

Talking about problems related to sexuality produces very complex emotions such as guilt, shame or failure. That’s why many people and couples have a hard time making the transition to therapy.

We know that it costs a lot, firstly, to accept that you have a problem that you are usually ashamed to admit to yourself and others, and secondly, to dare to ask for help . Many couples spend an average of 3 years without talking about solving the problem and spend 5 years until they go to therapy.

The primary reason why it is important to treat them is because problems in bed produce emotional pain (and physical pain in some dysfunctions) that can affect self-esteem and your overall quality of life. It is important that you don’t let the emotions that we talked about before invade you and don’t let you put an end to that vicious circle, since they are precisely the ones that feed it.

Bibliographic references:

  • Toquero de la Torre, F., Zarco Rodríguez, J., Cabello-Santamaría, F., Alcoba Valls, S., García-Giralda Ruiz, L. and San Martín Blanco, C. (2004). Guide to good clinical practice in sexual dysfunctions. Madrid: Organización Médica Colegial.

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