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What Does Sexual Dysfunction Mean

When we talk about sexual dysfunction, it does not refer to one particular thing. In fact, there are a number of different sexual dysfunctions for both men and women. We can find these outlined in the authoritative DSM5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), produced by the American Psychiatric Association, and trusted around the world.

Within the DSM5, it is split into the male and female disorders:


What Does Sexual Dysfunction Mean


Male Sexual Dysfunction

  • Erectile disorder
  • This dysfunction is characterised by the inability to maintain an erection long enough to have intercourse.
  • Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder
  • Where a man has no desire for sex, no thoughts of a sexual nature, etc.
  • Premature (early ejaculation)
  • When ejaculation comes before or very quickly after penetration.
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • The opposite of premature ejaculation; when it takes a prolonged amount of time to ejaculate.


Female Sexual Dysfunction

  • Female sexual interest/arousal disorder
  • Where a woman cannot reach sexual arousal, or cannot stay aroused long enough during sexual activity.
  • Female orgasmic disorder
  • The inability or extreme difficulty to reach orgasm, via intercourse or other means.
  • Genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder
  • Pain in the vagina or adjacent areas, typified by tightening of the muscles to the point where penetration is very uncomfortable, painful, or, in some cases, unattainable.

Shared male/female dysfunctions

  • Substance/medication-induced sexual dysfunction
  • When a man or woman’s sexual disorder has arisen out of the use of a particular substance or medicine.
  • Sexual dysfunction NOS (Not Otherwise Specified)
  • Any other atypical sexual response not covered.

To be classified as one of these disorders, the behaviour needs to appear 75-100% of the time, and it must have been happening for six months or more. However, this is just a psychiatric diagnosis – there are many people that it is happening to slightly less often, and perhaps for a shorter period that are still concerned about what it means for their love lives.

As you can see, there is quite a range of sexual dysfunctions. It is believed that the most commonly occurring sexual dysfunction is the erectile disorder, followed by premature ejaculation, however, there can be early ejaculation consultation. If you or your partner have been struggling with any one of these issues, then it’s time to do something about it. Whether the issue stems from a physical, psychological, or medication-related problem, it’s not something that you should just have to put up with.

If you would like to learn more about sexual dysfunction and its causes or would like a free, confidential consultation with AMI doctors, then get on the phone to us on 1800 10 10 90.

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