Sexual dysfunction is broadly defined as the inability to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. Specifically, sexual dysfunction is a group of disorders that interfere with a full sexual responsiveness. These disorders make it difficult for a person to enjoy or to have sexual intercourse. While sexual dysfunction rarely threatens physical health, it can take a heavy psychological toll, bringing on depression, anxiety, and debilitating feelings of inadequacy.
Sexual dysfunction takes different forms in men and women. A dysfunction can be lifelong and always present, or it can be temporary and sporadic. It can be situational or generalized. In either gender, symptoms of a sexual problem include the lack or loss of sexual desire, anxiety during intercourse, pain during intercourse, or the inability to achieve orgasm. In addition, a man may have a sexual problem if he:
Sexual arousal disorder: the general arousal aspect of sexual response is inhibited. A woman with this disorder does not lubricate, her vagina does not swell, and the muscle that surrounds the outer third of the vagina does not tighten—a series of changes that normally prepare the body for orgasm ("the orgasmic platform"). Also, in this disorder, the woman typically does not feel erotic sensations.
Orgasmic disorder: the orgasmic component of the female sexual response is impaired. The woman may be sexually aroused but never reach orgasm.
Vaginismus: a condition in which the muscles around the outer third of the vagina have involuntary spasms in response to attempts at vaginal penetration.
Painful intercourse also known as dyspareunia.
Barbara Boughton, Rebecca J. Frey PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,