Sexual dysfunctions are problems that occur during sexual intercourse either in the phase of desire, arousal, orgasm, resolution or at other times of sexual intercourse, but also the appearance of pain at any of these stages. The characteristics that all of them have in common is that they make it difficult to enjoy sexuality in any of these stages, there are also definitions that say that they have to be persistent over time. They also coincide in that they cause suffering in the people who suffer from them, sometimes physical pain and discomfort, as well as psychological.
There may be people who have the same experience or the same problems, but it can be defined as a dysfunction if it causes physical, emotional or psychological discomfort.
What types of sexual dysfunctions are there?
We can differentiate between male and female sexual dysfunctions. The most common male ones are:
- Erectile dysfunction: problems in having an erection, continuous or by potency, which prevents having a full sexual intercourse, or reaching the penetration, orgasm or resolution phase (of the sufferer or his partner).
- Premature ejaculation: difficulties around the control at the moment of ejaculation, so that sexual intercourse is not satisfactory, sometimes generating anxiety, frustration, among other things.
There are also dysfunctions such as anorgasmia or sex addiction.
As for the most frequent female sexual dysfunctions are:
- Dysfunction or hypoactive sexual desire: having very little sexual desire, which also occurs in men, but is usually consulted more in women.
- Anorgasmia: difficulty in reaching orgasm.
- Vaginismus: pain during sexual intercourse, or even a total blockage of the area. There is also dyspareunia, which is pain during or after sexual intercourse, but this disorder is also observed in men.
In many occasions these dysfunctions are concatenated with each other. For example, a woman who has pain during sexual intercourse (vaginismus) may end up avoiding it, so there is an absence of desire (hypoactive sexual desire).
How are they treated?
Each sexual dysfunction has a specific treatment, but generally it is necessary to work a lot with body relaxation guidelines, since there is usually anticipatory anxiety in most cases. Also, body awareness is important in order to know oneself and know what is happening, as well as the origin and why it has happened. It is a global approach where all emotional, behavioral and somatic aspects are worked on, as well as the physical part. Sex therapy usually works on all these aspects and the most advisable is to go to a specialist in Sexology.
Behind many sexual dysfunctions there is a sexual abuse, a bad experience or bad sexual learning. In these cases it may be necessary and it is advisable to have psychological therapy with specialists in trauma or sexual abuse.
Another approach that is usually necessary is to make a good sexuality education, banish myths or talk about sexuality as it is, leaving aside major erroneous and negative beliefs and promoting a comprehensive and healthy sexual health.
In relation to these expectations or beliefs, lately we have problems with sexuality due to the massive consumption of online pornography. In these cases the treatment would be similar to that of any addiction, because these same reward circuits are usually generated.
What does the therapy consist of?
The therapy consists of knowing the problem, identifying the origin if there is one and giving relaxation and mindfulness guidelines. In addition to working mindfulness, with positive resources to talk about situations in which they have felt good. Sometimes the specialist in psychology performs exercises to approach sexual relations, sometimes imaginary and guided visualizations; at other times, they are behavioral tasks, especially in women I try to work on self-exploration and if they have a partner, communication, talking about what is happening to them and not being afraid to talk about it with their partner, because if they do not do it the problem becomes chronic.
In other cases I play audios repeatedly, through hypnosis or EMDR therapy I work on the phobic situation or what has caused the problem, it is what is known as a work of reprocessing of the situation experienced.
Sometimes it is important to make sure that everything is fine on a physical level, that is, it is essential to take a good medical history at the beginning and rule out that there is no medical pathology behind it, since there are certain diseases that cause sexual dysfunctions. It is also necessary to know what type of medication you are using because there are medications that interfere with sexual response, as well as if you have any chronic or specific disease. For example, hypothyroidism can be a cause of lack of desire or taking antidepressants can produce many problems of desire.
What exercises or guidelines can the patient follow in his or her daily life?
It should be noted that in many cases there is a very stressful pace of life, so it is necessary to include habits and have healthy routines to introduce them into your life. What is often called life hygiene, since having a healthy and orderly life helps to enjoy more of the pleasures that sexuality can provide.