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Male Sexual Dysfunction

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Sexual dysfunction may result from several factors, including psychological or physical characteristics. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Raveendran S R

Published At May 11, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 5, 2024

What Is Sexual Dysfunction?

Male sexual dysfunction is one of the most common health problems in recent times and is more common with increasing age. Problems with sexual dysfunction are common and affect half of the population. Sexual dysfunctioning rarely threatens the physical health of an individual, but it can affect psychological health and lead to depression and anxiety.

What Are the Types of Sexual Dysfunction?

There are three types of sexual dysfunctions:

  • Desire Disorder - No interest in sex and lack of sexual desire.

  • Orgasm Disorders - Absence or delayed climax.

  • Arousal Disorders - Inability to become excited or aroused during sexual activity.

What Are the Categories of Male Sexual Dysfunction?

The major categories of male sexual dysfunction include:

  • Premature Ejaculation - The cause of premature ejaculation is unknown. Premature ejaculation is the inability to delay orgasm. It occurs early in the sexual contact, which makes the partner dissatisfied. The causes of premature ejaculation include stress—lack of self-confidence, past sexual trauma, depression, anxiety, lack of communication, etc.

  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED)- Erectile dysfunction is also led to impotence. However, it is the inability to maintain and have an erection that is necessary for sexual functioning. The causes of erectile dysfunction include nerve disorders, a disease affecting blood flow, injury to the penis, chronic illness, smoking, alcoholism, obesity, lack of exercise, depression, anxiety, stress, etc.

  • Retrograde Ejaculation - In this type, the semen flows back into the bladder instead of emerging from the end of the penis head during the orgasm. Retrograde dysfunction is often a side effect of some medications. It is most commonly seen in males with diabetes and diabetes-related nerve damage.

  • Hypoactive Sexual Desire and Inhibited - This type has a complete lack of sexual desire in this type.

  • Priapism - Priapism is a prolonged erection that is unaccompanied by sexual desire. This condition is dangerous and needs immediate medical attention.

  • Male Orgasmic Disorder - In this condition, the inability to reach orgasm with the partner. In some cases, the orgasm can be achieved through oral sex or masturbation.

  • Low Libido - Libido means lack of sexual desire. The condition is related to low levels of the male hormone testosterone. The reduced sexual drive in men can be caused by depression, stress, certain medications, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

Who Is Affected by Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction can affect people at any age. However, it is more common in people over 40 years and can be related to declining health-associated aging.

What Are the Symptoms of Male Sexual Dysfunction?

The symptoms of male disorders include:

  • Lack of interest or desire in sex.

  • Painful intercourse.

  • Inability to get arousal.

  • Inability and difficulty to maintain and achieve intercourse.

  • Delayed or absent ejaculation.

What Causes Male Sexual Dysfunction?

There are physical and psychological causes of male dysfunction. They are:

  • Physical - Medical and physical conditions can cause problems with sexual function. The requirements include heart diseases, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, chronic diseases, liver and kidney failure, neurological disorders, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Also, there are side effects of certain medications, including antidepressant drugs. All these conditions can affect sexual function.

  • Psychological - Psychological causes include work-related anxiety and stress, concerns about sexual performance, depression, relationship problems, feelings of guilt, past sexual trauma, body concerns, etc.

  • Other causes include low testosterone levels, smoking, alcohol use, drug abuse, stroke, nerve damage, work-related stress, etc.

What Medications Can Cause Sexual Dysfunction?

The medications that are responsible for sexual dysfunction as they have an impact on sexual functioning. In addition, there are sexual side effects that have been reported with the following drugs:


  • Tricyclic antidepressants include Doxepin, Nortriptyline, Imipramine, and Amitriptyline.

  • Anti-mania medications include lithium carbonate.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Paroxetine, Sertraline, and Fluoxetine.

  • Antipsychotic drugs like Thiothixene, Haloperidol, and Thioridazine.

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors like Tranylcypromine and Phenelzine.

Non-Prescribed Medications:

  • Some OTC (over-the-counter) antihistamines and decongestants cause problems with sexual dysfunction.


  • Goserelin.

  • Leuprolide.

Anti-Hypertensive medications:

  • Diuretics that include thiazides and spironolactone.

  • B-adrenergic beta blockers like Propranolol and Metoprolol.

  • A-adrenergic blockers like Prazosin and Terazosin.

  • Centrally acting agents like Reserpine and Methyldopa.

How Can Male Sexual Dysfunction be Prevented?

Male sexual dysfunction cannot be prevented, but it can help to deal with the causes in understanding the problem better. To maintain good sexual health, one can follow a few things:

  • Maintain cardiovascular health.

  • Quit smoking.

  • Limit alcohol intake.

  • Eat healthy food.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Get treated for psychological or emotional problems like stress, anxiety, and depression.

  • Communicate with one's partner.

How Is Male Sexual Dysfunction Diagnosed?

The healthcare provider will question the symptoms and medical and sexual history. The diagnosis of male sexual dysfunction includes a complete physical examination along with the following:

  • Blood tests to check blood sugar, cholesterol, and testosterone levels.

  • Blood pressure check.

  • Rectal examination for prostate.

  • Examination of penis and testicles.

How Is Male Sexual Dysfunction Treated?

The treatment for male sexual dysfunction includes:

  • Medications - There are drugs available that help improve sexual function by increasing the blood flow to the penis. Vardenafil, Sildenafil, and Tadalafil are safe and have proven effective for men.

  • Psychological Therapy - Psychological therapy can help one in addressing feelings of anxiety, fear, guilt, and depression that may affect sexual functioning.

  • Mechanical Aids - Penile implants and vacuum devices help men with erectile dysfunction.

  • Hormone Therapy - Low testosterone levels can be improved by hormone replacement therapies that include patches, gels, and injections.


Sexual dysfunction is a common condition. Communication is very important if one has any type of sexual dysfunction. Always talk to the partner, and do not hesitate to seek medical advice.

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Dr. Raveendran S R
Dr. Raveendran S R



premature ejaculationmale sexual dysfunction
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