Sexual Dysfunction

Disorders of Sexual Interest/Desire and Arousal

What is sexual dysfunction?

"Sexual dysfunctions are a set of disorders in which people have difficulty responding sexually or experiencing sexual pleasure" (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014, p. 366).

Disorders of Sexual Interest/Desire and Arousal show itself differently among men and women

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In men disorders of sexual interest/desire and arousal displays in two areas:

The first: Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder- "have little desire for sex-- they do not fantasize about sex or initiate sexual activity and may be unresponsive when a partner initiates sex" (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014, p. 366).

What are the symptoms of male hypoactive sexual desire disorder?
The American Psychiatric Association (2013) has placed a criteria of this disorder among men to occur for at least 6 months of duration. The symptoms needing to last for at least 6 months consist of the lack of daydreaming of sexual acts and also lack of desire to engage in sex acts (including responsive engagement towards ones partner).
Possible Causes
This disorder among men may have numerous causes and this is more reason to be evaluated by a medical professional. Simple blood tests may pinpoint the cause of this disorder among men as it may be a testosterone issue, gland issues, substance/medication (including alcohol), or even the culture you come from (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). More notably, this disorder among men may go hand in hand with other disorders that is manifesting itself through this disorder. Therefore, for example, depression may cause hypoactive sexual desire disorder in men, thus by treating the depression this particular issue may subside (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Treatment Options

  • This disorder can be treated among an array of techniques. It may be possible that certain medications may in fact treat this disorder among men; such as hormonal based medications (Montgomery, 2008).
  • Therapy based treatments have been shown to work. Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder may be due to unresolved matters during early development and in fact, typically requires a multi-based therapy dimension (Montgomery, 2008).
  • Dual sex therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and psychodynamic with psychoanalytic therapy have shown results in the treatment of this disorder (Montgomery, 2008).

The second: Erectile disorder- unable to acquire and/or hold an erection to achieve an orgasm during sex (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).

I desire to make love to my partner; HELP!


The causes of erectile disorder is often associated with the age of at least 50 years old (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). However, biological causes from other areas may be the cause as well as a different mental disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). That being said, it makes good sense to bring up this concern with your physician so you may get the proper diagnosis and effective treatment.

Often times men attempt to purchase over the counter medication to treat this in a quiet fashion to protect from uncomfortable feelings and/or embarrassment (Men's Health Advisor, 2016).

  • Speak with your physician to discuss erectile disorder rather than treat on your own accord.
  • Over-the-counter supplements may in fact interfere with current medications creating deadly adverse reactions and/or simply act as a placebo (Men's Health Advisor, 2016). Save your health, time, and money and openly discuss with your physician.
  • Prescription medication is available and more than likely will save you money (Men's Health Advisor, 2016).

Lastly, men, these disorders do not make you weak or less of a man. These disorders come with real causes and situational factors that can be treated. Seeking treatment is the test of courage and strength and treatment will in turn make you more confident and happy.

In women disorders of sexual interest/desire and arousal encompasses one area:

Only: Female sexual interest/arousal disorder- lack of sexual desire even when the opportunity arises to engage in sexual activity with another (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).


Relationship problems and/or unsatisfactorily, sexual dysfunction in women seem prevalent based off of genetics, drug/medication use, attitudes towards sex, inability to reach orgasm, and other mental disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).


Certain medical treatments have been proven beneficial to women to increase libido (Montgomery, 2008). Along with that, therapy as well may provide benefit to women that are experiencing this disorder as well; such as, cognitive behavior therapy, dual sex therapy, and psychodynamic therapy (Montgomery, 2008).

What makes women different within these types of sexual dysfunctions?

Due to women and men thinking and desiring of sexual experiences in separate tones, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, established by the American Psychiatric Association, combines women into one category; female sexual interest/arousal disorder (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). This is because countless women display less time dreaming or thinking of sexual experiences as do men (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). That does not portray that women are turned off by sexual acts, however, women merely more so engage when sexual experiences occur versus daydreaming of sexual acts (opposed to men).

Concluding remarks

Sexual dysfunction in interest/desire and arousal can be hard topics to bring up with your primary care physician, however, not impossible. The only way to break through the barrier is by putting aside ego, pride, and anxiety aside so that you may receive the proper diagnosis and treatment. When in an intimate relationship dysfunction can have lasting effects not only as the sufferer of the dysfunction, however, the partner as well. It has been documented that healthy relationships consist of a healthy sex life. Such intimate bond is essential to happiness and the progress of your intimate relationships. Speak up, get diagnosis, and get treated. You do not have to fight alone and feel as though you have no where to turn.

Make sure you get the best diagnosis and treatment steps:
  • Talk with your physician first and foremost to rule out a medical factor.
  • Your doctor may provide a referral to a licensed clinical social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or a licensed professional counselor.
  • Make sure to seek out specialized treatment by asking for credentials of professional and also would be best they are specialized in sex therapies and/or cognitive behavior therapies with experience of treating sexual dysfunctions.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

Men’s Health Advisor. (2016). Find the right solution to erectile problems: in light of an FDA advisory; seek your doctor’s advice about supplements and other ED treatments, an expert cautions. Retrieved from falconbaker&docId=GALE|A442781227&contentSet=GALE|A442781227#.

Montgomery, K. (2008). Sexual desire disorders. Retrieved from

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal Psychology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.