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(Sexual Aversion; Sexual Apathy; Hypoactive Sexual Desire)
Pronounced: si-co-sex-u-ull diss-funk-shun
by Diane A. Safer, PhD
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:
Risk Factors TOP
Reduced sexual desire or activity is common among women and men. Before treatment can begin, it is necessary to determine whether the dysfunction may be caused by physical causes like diabetes, heart disease, alcohol use disorder, 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:
Symptoms of psychosexual disorder may differ for men and women.
Symptoms for men include:
Symptoms for women include:
You will be asked 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:
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.
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 Therapy TOP
Sex therapists assist you by encouraging communication, teaching you about sexual fantasies, and helping you focus on sexual stimuli.
Behavioral Therapy TOP
A psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or licensed counselor works with you to unlearn automatic behaviors.
Marriage or Relationship Counseling TOP
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:
American Psychological Association
Mental Health America
Canadian Psychological Association
Sex Information and Education Council of Canada
AACE male sexual dysfunction task force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of male sexual dysfunction: A couple’s problem—2003 update. Endocrine Practice. 2003; 9(1):77-94.
Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 29, 2016. Accessed June 16, 2016.
Female sexual dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated June 27, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Female sexual problems. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 13, 2015.
Premature ejaculation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed June 16, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 5/23/2014
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