Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem occurring during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity. The sexual response cycle traditionally includes excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Desire and arousal are both part of the excitement phase of the sexual response.
While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common (43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report some degree of difficulty), it is a topic that many people are hesitant to discuss. Because treatment options are available, it is important to share your concerns with your partner and healthcare provider.
What are the types of sexual dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction generally is classified into four categories:
- Desire disorders —lack of sexual desire or interest in sex
- Arousal disorders —inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity
- Orgasm disorders —delay or absence of orgasm (climax)
- Pain disorders — pain during intercourse