Types of Sexual Dysfunction in Men
According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 31 percent of men in the United States have some form of sexual dysfunction. This category of conditions is composed of many symptoms, and each may stem from a different issue.
Forms of sexual dysfunction
Each case of sexual dysfunction may be different from the next, so it’s important not to dismiss a symptom simply because it doesn’t match your idea of a given condition. Many types of sexual dysfunction also overlap and coexist, so pay close attention to all aspects of your sexual difficulties. Four types of sexual dysfunction are most common and are discussed below.
Also known as impotence, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which a man is unable to achieve and maintain an erection that is firm enough for sex. According to the Mayo Clinic, it isn’t uncommon to experience erection difficulty from time to time, but if it is a persistent issue, it could be erectile dysfunction.
This condition, also known as impaired ejaculation, occurs when a man requires an extended period of sexual stimulation in order to achieve an orgasm. Some men with this condition are unable to ejaculate at all. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition can be temporary or lifelong.
Treatment for impaired ejaculation depends on its underlying cause, which can vary from chronic health conditions to medication side effects and more. For example, some antidepressants are known to have this side effect.
Reduced or nonexistent sexual desire
Men with low libido experience reduced or nonexistent sex drive. This can occur due to hormone imbalances, side effects of certain medications, depression and more.
When a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than he or his partner would like, he is said to suffer from premature ejaculation. According to experts, premature ejaculation is a common struggle. Mayo Clinic literature indicates that as many as one in three men say they experience this problem from time to time.
If you or your partner experience any one or more of these conditions, talk to your doctor, both for treatment and to identify the underlying cause.
Treating sexual dysfunction in men
Learning the root cause of sexual dysfunction begins with a visit to a doctor.
To assess the situation, a doctor will check the patient’s blood pressure and may perform blood tests to evaluate overall cardiovascular health and hormone levels. The doctor will examine the patient’s genitals, too, for signs of abnormalities.
Other tests can show if blood is flowing normally to the penis and elsewhere in the body. For example, if poor blood flow is the cause, then prescription medications such as phosphodiesterase inhibitors (e.g., Viagra, Levitra, Cialis) can be prescribed.
When men can't have an orgasm because they have low sexual desire, the reason may be low levels of testosterone. As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decline significantly and, since testosterone is a hormone that maintains a man's sex drive, energy, mood and brain health, men may well suffer sexual dysfunction as a result.
Increasing low testosterone naturally (and possibly with external replacement) can help restore men’s libido and their ability to have an orgasm. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to external hormone replacement, and this discussion should take place with an experienced physician.
Listen to your doctor
If a doctor rules out medical conditions as the cause of dysfunction, the problem may be psychological. Professional counseling can help resolve feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and other mental or emotional factors that might interfere with an individual’s sex life.
For some men, talking to a doctor about sexual dysfunction may feel uncomfortable. However, it’s important to remember that doing so can help discover the underlying cause of and possible treatment for sexual dysfunction.