Nearly half of U.S. men are experiencing symptoms of sexual dysfunction, but most of them aren’t talking about it with a healthcare provider.
Although the conversation can be uncomfortable, it’s important to have it out in the open because help is available and can have a positive impact on your relationship and happiness, explains Valeria Martinez-Kaigi, PhD, MS, a clinical health psychologist at Hartford HealthCare’s Tallwood Men’s Health Center.
If you are experiencing difficulties with sexual function, you are not alone.
Sexual health conditions are much more common than you think.
In the United States,
- 45% of couples experience relationship distress because of sexual dysfunction.
- 43% of men and 31% of women are dealing with some form of sexual dysfunction.
Most people are shocked to learn that these numbers are so high. In fact, studies show that people usually think they’re the only ones experiencing sexual issues.
Here are the most common sexual issues for men.
Sexual issues can affect both men and women. Here are some of the most common types of sexual dysfunction in men:
- Erectile dysfunction: Inability to achieve and maintain erection.
- Premature ejaculation: Ejaculate in less than 60 seconds.
- Genital pain: Interferes with intercourse.
- Delayed orgasm/anorgasmia: Delay or absence in attaining orgasm.
- Low libido: Lack of sexual interest and desire for sexual activity.
Your brain, body and relationship can all cause sexual dysfunction.
Your sexual response is influenced by the biology of your body and brain, mental health, social connections and more, says Dr. Martinez-Kaigi, including:
- Relationship dynamics.
- Discrepancies in sexual preferences.
- Depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Chronic stress.
- Neurogenic conditions like multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury.
- Hormone or endocrine gland issues such as thyroid disease and hypogonadism.
- Vasculogenic issues, like blood flow, hypertension or diabetes.
- Drug side effects, from blood pressure medication to antidepressants to recreational drugs like marijuana.
- General health issues, like respiratory or heart disease.
- Peyronie’s disease or penile injuries that cause curvature in the penis.
Sexual health is complex, and multiple biological, psychological and social factors play a role.
Depending on the underlying cause or causes, sexual issues can be impossible to solve on your own. But, with the right care, they can be solved.
For example, if hypertension or diabetes is interfering with your sexual stimulation, you’ll need proper medical treatment. If depression, anxiety, chronic stress or trauma is part of the issue, a mental health professional can help. Peyronie’s disease, which causes painful erections and erectile dysfunction, can be treated by a urologist.
If you’re not sure where to start, try your primary care medical provider. They can connect you with the care you need.