Psychosexual Dysfunction



Psychosexual dysfunction is caused by mental health problems, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Past abuse or rape
  • Guilty feelings
  • Stress
  • Poor self-esteem
Brain in silhouette
Mental or emotional problems are at the center of the dysfunction.
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Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of psychosexual dysfunction are:

  • Having any of the mental health problems that cause it
  • Stress
  • Hormone changes or postpartum depression from having a baby
  • Worrying about sexual orientation
  • Worrying about having sex
  • Past bad feelings or pain
  • Conflict with a partner
  • Guilt or worry due to religion or other social rules
  • Abuse from a partner



Symptoms of psychosexual dysfunction differ for men and women.


  • Not able to keep an erection
  • Ejaculate too soon or not at all
  • Not able to be aroused at the right moments
  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Reduced desire for sex


  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Low desire for sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Dry vagina


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical and mental health exam may be done. Blood tests may also be done to look for problems. Diagnosis is based on ruling out:

  • Medical causes for the problem, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or hormone imbalances
  • Medicine causes, such as antidepressants



Treatment depends on the cause. One or both of these methods may be used:

  • Medicines to treat mental health problems
  • Individual or couples therapy


There are no known guidelines to prevent psychosexual dysfunction.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.