Most people have a hard time talking about sex. They have an even harder time talking about sexual challenges. This may seem unusual in a world where sex sells and sexual signals are everywhere we look. From advertising to product design to TV programming, sex appears to be celebrated, displayed and exploited in all its forms.
In a way, the ubiquity of fictional sex is part of our overall dysfunction. We are perfectly willing to disseminate artificial samples of sex, but we’re still unable to have realistic sexual discussions as they apply to our everyday lives. We can talk about the sex lives of stars in dramedies and sports personas, but we don’t want to talk about our own.
The main downside of this sexual wariness is that instead of exploring, experiencing, and learning about ‘real sex’, we end up assuming the curated media displays are what sex actually is. This leads to insecurity about our bodies, misconceptions about our performance, and unrealistic perceptions and expectations from our partners. The cycle continues.
The best way to remedy this is to have open, honest discussions about sex, covering everything from average measurements to practicable technique and dysfunction. After all, hardly anybody is built with the dimensions and tactics of an adult movie star.
Talking about sexual dysfunction improves sex more than watching porn. Ideally, this discussion should be moderated by medical professionals who specialise in sexual health matters. They are better placed to tell us what is ‘normal’, what isn’t, and how we can safely solve any problems that arise.
Sexual dysfunction can be psychological, biological, or medical. This applies to both men and women, though their dysfunction manifests differently. One form of dysfunction shared by women and men is low sex drive. Reduced libido can be caused by a variety of factors like stress, depression, medication, fatigue, negative body image, or personal insecurities.
Partners may also experience a diminished sex drive if there are problems in the relationship. If there are distrust issues, suppressed emotion, or poor communication, they may not feel safe enough to desire one another. This can happen to either partner or in the worst case scenario, it may devolve into mutual sexual disinterest.
Most other forms of dysfunction are distinct for male and female patients. For women, dysfunctions seem to display itself in the form of sexual response. A woman may have a hard time achieving orgasm, and at other times, she may not be aroused at all. These matters could be hormonal, or they might be a reflection of her feelings toward her partner.
As far as her body is concerned, a woman may experience pain during sex, or she might have dryness in her vagina. Again, these may be a result of her mental state, her hormonal cycle, or her overall health. Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause, but it can also be caused by certain medications. This dryness can result in painful intercourse.
Other times, painful intercourse occurs when a woman hasn’t had enough foreplay to activate her natural lubrication, leading to pain during penetration. Her lubrication is often a biological response to sexual stimulation, but it can also be psychological.
If she’s unhappy or uneasy, it may be difficult to get her in the right mood and prepare her body for sex. For some women, the causes of pain during sex remain inconclusive. A woman who has consistently experienced pain, and whose doctors can’t tell her why or how to stop it, will often lose interest in sex because she knows how much it will hurt.
In men, sexual dysfunction falls into three main categories. Apart from low libido, a man may have difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection. This is often labelled as erectile dysfunction (ED). Some people think it’s a natural consequence of age, just like menopause in women. Many older men rush for Viagra without exploring causes and alternative remedies.
However, there are other ways to deal with ED, and if he takes the time to speak with a medical sex specialist, he may find alternative solutions, including gels and oral strips. These methods have fewer side effects, and in some cases, are far more efficient.
The second type of male sexual dysfunction is premature ejaculation (PE). This happens when a man does attain an erection, but he can’t hold it long enough to please himself, his partner, or both. In some cases, he loses his erection before penetration. In other situations, he manages penetration, but his penis softens soon after.
PE is relative, with the range of male erection extending from 60 seconds to 23 minutes. The best way to deal with suspected sexual dysfunction is to talk to a good doctor. Trying to diagnose and treat yourself – especially by searching on the internet – could be disastrous, and may even be harmful to your (sexual) health.