What is Male Sexual Dysfunction?
Male sexual dysfunction refers to physical and/or psychological issues that inhibit sexual intercourse and satisfaction between partners. Sexual dysfunction often stems from a combination of physical and psychological issues. Depression, anxiety, and stress can all play major roles in sexual dysfunction by both causing and exacerbating the issue.
Male sexual dysfunction may include erectile dysfunction, lessened sexual desire, and/or disordered ejaculation. Male sexual dysfunction is a common issue and can impact men at any age. However, older men in their middle age and elderly years are more likely to suffer from this condition than their younger counterparts.
Signs of Male Sexual Dysfunction
The main symptoms of male sexual dysfunction are listed below. Keep in mind that signs of male sexual dysfunction vary depending on the individual and the cause of the condition. So, a man with sexual dysfunction may experience only one or many of these symptoms.
- Difficulty having or keeping an erection
- Difficulty having or keeping an erection that’s appropriate for penetration
- Difficulty reaching an orgasm or inability to reach an organism, even when the individual has experienced sufficient sexual stimulation
- Reaching an orgasm only after an abnormally lengthy period of stimulation, or only during oral sex or masturbation
- Inability to manage the timing of an orgasm so that both partners are satisfied
- Absence of ejaculate
- Lasting erection without sexual stimulation
- Absence of sexual interests, fantasies or desire
How is Male Sexual Dysfunction Treated?
Treatment of male sexual dysfunction is typically preceded by a medical exam. Your doctor may conduct a physical exam, blood tests, urinalysis, psychological screening, and/or an ultrasound to check for conditions that may be causing the condition.
To start treatment of male sexual dysfunction, it’s important to pinpoint the underlying cause(s) of the disease. Treatment strategies may include:
There are oral medications known to effectively treat sexual dysfunction in many individuals. These drugs work by increasing blood flow to stimulate and erection with nitric oxide, a natural bodily chemical. Sexual stimulation is needed for these medications to produce an erection.
Therapy or counseling
When the underlying cause of male sexual dysfunction is psychological, therapy can be an effective treatment method. A therapist can help with feelings of depression, stress, anxiety, fear, and low self-esteem to increase sexual desire.
Hormone therapy involves taking supplemental testosterone to treat male sexual dysfunction. Testosterone may be taken in the form of pills, injections, patches, or topical gels.
Pumps or implants
When medications aren’t a successful treatment method, your doctor may suggest a penis pump or implant for male sexual dysfunction. These tools can help stimulate an erection to improve sexual satisfaction between partners.
WHEN TO SEE A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
Mental health issues are real, common, and treatable. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 20% of those are considered serious. 17% of 6-17 year olds experience a mental health disorder. So the first thing to remember is this: You are not alone.
If you feel that you are suffering from a mental illness, and particularly if those issues are preventing you from living life to the full or feeling yourself, you may want to consider professional help which can make an enormous difference.
And to be clear, you don't need to be going through a crisis in order to justify getting help. In fact, it can be advantageous from a treatment perspective to identify and deal with issues early and before they have a major impact on your life. Either way you should feel encouraged and able to seek help however you are feeling.
Mental health professionals such as licensed therapist can help in a range of ways including:
- Help you identify where, when, and how issues arise
- Develop coping strategies for specific symptoms and issues
- Encourage resilience and self-management
- Identify and change negative behaviors
- Identify and encourage positive behaviors
- Heal pain from past trauma
- Figure out goals and waypoints
- Build self-confidence
Treatment for mental health issues, and psychotherapy (sometimes known as 'talk therapy') in particular, frequently helps people to feel better, manage, and even get rid of their symptoms. For example, did you know that over 80% of people treated for depression materially improve? Or that treatment for panic disorder has a 90% success rate?
Other treatment options include medication which, in some cases, can be highly effective when administered in combination with psychotherapy.
So what is psychotherapy? It involves talking about your problems and concerns with a mental health professional. It can take lots of forms, including individual, group, couples and family sessions. Often, people see their therapists once a week for 50 minutes to start with and then reducing frequency as time goes on and issues subside. Treatment can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a few years depending on your particular situation and response.
Never think that getting help is a sign of weakness. It isn't. In fact, it can be a sign of strength and maturity to take the steps necessary to becoming you again and getting your life back on track.
WHEN TO GET EMERGENCY HELP
Are you in distress? If so, or if you think that you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Also consider these options if you're having suicidal thoughts:
- Call your mental health specialist.
- Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- Seek help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
If a loved one or friend is in danger of attempting suicide or has made an attempt:
- Make sure someone stays with that person.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
- Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.