Sexual Dysfunctions


Sexual dysfunctions are often related to medical causes in which it is presumed that psychological or emotional factors play no significant role. For example, some types of medications or medical conditions can lead to erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve or maintain a full erection) in men – once the medical condition is addressed, the dysfunction disappears.

Psychosexual disorders or dysfunctions, however, are disorders of sexual functioning in which psychological factors are considered to play a major, if not exclusive, causative role. For example, an erectile dysfunction can result when a man is afraid that he will be unable to please his sexual partner.


Many people are reluctant to seek medical advice regarding a sexual dysfunction because they are afraid that the difficulties arise from psychological factors, and to seek assistance would be to admit some level of inadequacy or inferiority. In fact, many types of interference in sexual functioning are relatively straightforward to address. In those cases where psychological factors underlie the interference, it is most often the case that the person is unhappy in many other ways – the sexual difficulties may simply be the most blatant symptom of the person’s lack of satisfaction with his/her life. Treatment of such factors is often easier than is expected by the person experiencing the distress, and will generally lead to a full return of sexual functioning and satisfaction.