Psychosexual Dysfunction

(Sexual Aversion; Sexual Apathy; Hypoactive Sexual Desire)

How to Say It: si-co-sex-u-ull diss-funk-shun

Definition

A person with psychosexual dysfunction is not aroused or satisfied during sex. It can lead to relationship and self-esteem problems.

Causes

Psychosexual dysfunction is caused by mental health problems, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Prior abuse or rape
  • Guilty feelings
  • Stress
  • Not feeling good about yourself

Brain in silhouette

Mental or emotional problems are at the center of the dysfunction.

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Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Having any of the mental health problems that cause it
  • Problems at work
  • Problems with the people in a person's life
  • Hormone changes or postpartum depression from having a baby
  • Worrying about your sexual orientation
  • Worrying about having sex
  • Prior bad feelings or pain
  • Conflict with your partner
  • Guilt or worry because of religion or the way of life where you live
  • Money problems
  • Family problems
  • Abuse from your partner

Symptoms

Symptoms differ for men and women.

Men:

  • Not able to keep an erection
  • Ejaculate too soon or not at all
  • Not able to be aroused at the right moments
  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Lessened desire for sex

Women:

  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Low desire for sex
  • Muscles around the vagina that tighten without control and cause pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Dry vagina

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. A mental health exam may also be done. Blood tests may also be done.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause. One or both of these methods may be used:

  • Medicines to balance hormones or treat mental health problems
  • Individual or couples therapy

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES:

American Psychiatric Association
https://www.psychiatry.org

National Institute of Mental Health
https://www.nimh.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Mental Health Association
https://cmha.ca

Canadian Psychiatric Association
https://www.cpa-apc.org

REFERENCES:

Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/erectile-dysfunction. Accessed November 19, 2020.

Female sexual dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/female-sexual-dysfunction. Accessed November 19, 2020.

Hatzimouratidis K, Giuliano F, et al; European Association of Urology (EAU). Guideline on Male Sexual Dysfunction. EAU 2019.

Overview of female sexual function and dysfunction. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/sexual-dysfunction-in-women/overview-of-female-sexual-function-and-dysfunction. Accessed November 19, 2020. .

Premature ejaculation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/premature-ejaculation-19. Accessed November 19, 2020.

Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD  Last Updated: 11/19/2020