Sexual disorders are like people -- they come in all shapes, sizes, and kinds. A sexual disorder doesn't mean something is "wrong" with you, only that you're experiencing the kind of issue that can suddenly affect anyone, at any time in their lives, for any reason or no reason whatsoever. While many sexual issues can be traced back to a physical problem or a sudden change in one's life circumstances, many sexual disorders' causes are not well-known or understood.
The good news is that nowadays, having a sexual concern such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or problems with getting aroused is no big deal. There are a wide variety of treatments -- from medications to a specific form of psychotherapy -- that can help virtually everyone with a sexual disorder, no matter what the concern.
Keep in mind as you read through this section that sexuality exists on a continuum. A concern only rises to the level of a "sexual disorder" if it is causing the person a great deal of distress in their life, and they would like to rectify the behavior or problem. Some of the disorders listed below are otherwise considered healthy parts of normal human sexuality. For instance, if a person has a fetish and he or she is fine with it (and it's not causing other trouble in the person's life), then it's not considered a disorder.
We've compiled a growing library of articles and information related to sexual dysfunction, as well as other articles on more general sexuality and relationship concerns. Check below for symptoms associated with sexual disorders, and on the left-hand menu for additional information and articles on sexuality and relationships.
One of the most common sexual dysfunctions, erectile dysfunction, is readily treated with medications. There are three drugs approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction: Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra. All three of these medications are available only by prescription and work by increasing the blood flow to the penis. This allows for an easier erection in the man when he is sexually stimulated. Levitra works a little longer than Viagra and both take effect in about 30 minutes. In both of these medications, the effects can last between 4 and 5 hours. Cialis works a bit faster (within about 15 minutes), and the effects can last much longer -- up to 36 hours in some cases.
For other sexual disorders and concerns, psychotherapy is usually the best option. You should look for a therapist who specializes or is well-experienced in sex therapy, a specific type of psychotherapy that is focused on helping a person or couple with their sexual issues. (Sex therapy does not involve any type of sexual or physical interaction with the therapist.)
Psychotherapy is nonjudgmental. A professional therapist is there to help you address the sexual concern is a safe and supportive environment.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 May 2008
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.