Sexual Dysfunction in Males

What is sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is any physical or psychological problem that prevents you or your partner from getting sexual satisfaction. Male sexual dysfunction is a common health problem affecting men of all ages, but is more common with increasing age. Treatment can often help men suffering from sexual dysfunction.

The main types of male sexual dysfunction are:

What causes sexual dysfunction?

Physical causes of overall sexual dysfunction may be:

Psychological causes might include:

How does sexual dysfunction affect men?

The most common problems men face with sexual dysfunction are troubles with ejaculation, getting and keeping an erection, and reduced sexual desire.

Ejaculation disorders

Problems with ejaculation are:

The exact cause of premature ejaculation (PE) is not known. While in many cases PE is due to performance anxiety during sex, other factors may be:

Studies suggest that the breakdown of serotonin (a natural chemical that affects mood) may play a role in PE. Certain drugs, including some antidepressants, may affect ejaculation, as can nerve damage to the back or spinal cord.

Physical causes for inhibited or delayed ejaculation may include chronic (long-term) health problems, medication side effects, alcohol abuse, or surgeries. The problem can also be caused by psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, stress, or relationship problems.

Retrograde ejaculation is most common in males with diabetes who suffer from diabetic nerve damage. Problems with the nerves in the bladder and the bladder neck force the ejaculate to flow backward. In other men, retrograde ejaculation may be a side effect of some medications, or happen after an operation on the bladder neck or prostate.

Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and keep an erection for sexual intercourse. ED is quite common, with studies showing that about one half of American men over age 40 are affected. Causes of ED include:

Low libido (reduced sexual desire)

Low libido means your desire or interest in sex has decreased. The condition is often linked with low levels of the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone maintains sex drive, sperm production, muscle, hair, and bone. Low testosterone can affect your body and mood.

Reduced sexual desire may also be caused by depression, anxiety, or relationship difficulties. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain medications like antidepressants may also contribute to a low libido.

How is male sexual dysfunction diagnosed?

Your doctor may begin the diagnosis process with a physical exam. Physical tests may include:

Other tests can show if you have problems with the nerve impulses or blood flow to the penis.

Your doctor may also ask questions about your symptoms and your medical and sexual history. Though these questions may seem very personal, do not be embarrassed. It is important to answer honestly so the best treatment can be recommended. You may be sent to a different type of doctor (urologist, endocrinologist or sex therapist, for example) who can help you.

How is male sexual dysfunction treated?

Many cases of sexual dysfunction can be corrected by treating the mental or physical problems that cause it. Treatments include:

Can male sexual dysfunction be prevented?

While male sexual dysfunction cannot be prevented, dealing with the causes of the dysfunction can help you better understand and cope with the problem when it happens. To help maintain good sexual function:

References

 

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ or www.clevelandclinicflorida.org. This document was last reviewed on: 6/3/2015

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