Disorders of Orgasm or Sexual Pain

What is it?

Men and women can both suffer from disorders or orgasm or sexual pain. According to Everyday Health, Sexual dysfunction can take many forms - it's not limited to erectile dysfunction, or low libido. Sexual dysfunction can involve pain during intercourse, and inability to maintain an erection, or difficulty experiencing an orgasm. According to Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (2014), women with female orgasmic disorder experience reduced or absence of an orgasm or pain during intercourse. Men suffer from early or premature ejaculation. It can be difficult to decide whether or not this is a sexual disorder. The DSM-5 clarifies that a man is suffering from a sexual disorder if they reach ejaculation within a minute of penetration.
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Causes of the Disorder

  • Biological Causes
Diabetes can lower sexual drive. Men with cardiovascular disease is often linked to erectile dysfunction. High levels of estrogen or testosterone in men can also cause sexual dysfunction. Women may have a low desire due to their levels of estrogen. Women also can suffer from vaginal dryness or irritation.

  • Psychological Causes
A person that suffers from depression, anxiety disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder often lose their desire to have sexual relationships. People that have been taught that sex is sinful or bad also do not have sexual desires because they fear the act.

  • Interpersonal and Sociocultural Factors
When couples have difficulties communicating about the sexual dysfunctions, symptoms can become worse. Most women need to feel a deep connection with a man in order to reach orgasm. Anger, distrust, and lack of respect for a partner can also lead to problems in a sexual relationship (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014, p. 373).

Treatment Options

Treatment for sexual disorders often involves a combination of biological interventions and psychosocial therapy.

If the sexual disorder is a direct result of a biological dysfunction, it is important that the biological disorder is treated. One of the most popular treatments fro men with sexual disorders is the medication, Viagra. Hormone therapy has also been proved to help men and women increase their sexual desire. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the treatments for sexual disorders include: communication with your partner, healthy lifestyle habits, counseling (including sex therapy), using a lubricant, or trying a device.

Common Myths and Misperceptions

  • Only men suffer from sexual disorders. This is NOT true.
  • Erectile dysfunction is a normal part of the aging process.
  • Erectile dysfunction only occurs because of relationship problems.
  • Women can reach orgasm whenever they please.
  • There are no biological factors when it comes to sexual disorders.

Credentials Required to Treat Sexual Disorders

According to Best Psychology Degrees, in order to become a therapist that specifies in sexual disorders, the first step is obtaining a degree in counseling or a therapy related field, preferably a Master's Degree. The individual will also need at least 150 hours or experience in specific sex therapy. Applying for certification is the last step in becoming a therapist that can treat individuals that are suffering from sexual disorders. The fee for the application is approximately $300 and must include transcripts, endorsements from supervisors, license copies and signatures.


Best Psychology Degrees. (2015). How do you Become a Sex Therapist? Retrieved from: http://www.bestpsychologydegrees.com/faq/how-do-you-become-a-sex-therapist/

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Female Sexual Dysfunction. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/female-sexual-dysfunction/basics/treatment/con-20027721

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

Rodriguez, D. (2015). Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women. Everyday Health. Retrieved from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/sexual-dysfunction.aspx