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Male Sexual Dysfunction and the Causes Behind It

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Male sexual dysfunction refers to a problem a man has during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the man or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity.

Common types of male sexual dysfunction include low libido, erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation and disordered orgasm.

The definition of low libido is when sexual desire is diminished or absent.

Low libido can have a number of causes including:

- Health problems or systemic illness

- Certain medications such as SSRIs, anti-androgens, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors and opioid analgesics

- Reduced levels of male hormones or hormonal problems such as hyperthyroidism

- History of sexual abuse

- Stress

- Emotional or relationship problems

- Alcoholism or recreational drugs

- Fatigue

- Hypoactive sexual disorder

- Sexual aversion disorder

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which a man cannot get or keep an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. There are numerous causes behind ED.

These include diseases which affect blood flow, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and several related heart conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged blood vessels and heart disease.

Endocrine and hormone imbalances such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and hypogonadism can cause ED as can psychological factors such as stress, depression and performance anxiety.

Trauma or injury to the pelvis, such as spinal cord injury or prostate surgery, or a transurethral resection of the prostate, simple prostatectomy, or radical prostatectomy can be behind erectile dysfunction.

Several neurologic and central nervous system conditions -- like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis -- have been linked to ED.

Both prescription and nonprescription medicine can lead to ED in some men. These include antidepressants, antihistamines, hypertension medicines and medications for Parkinson’s disease.

Low testosterone and unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, overeating and not exercising can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Premature ejaculation is a common male sexual dysfunction. Approximately 20-30 percent of men will have premature ejaculation, according to MedicineNet.com. Ejaculation problems involve the improper discharge of sperm, prostatic and seminal vesicle fluid through the urethra.

In some cases, premature ejaculation is caused by psychological factors, including a strict religious background that causes the person to view sex as sinful, a lack of attraction for a partner, and past traumatic events.

Premature ejaculation can often be due to performance anxiety during sex. However, organic causes are sometimes present. Certain medication such as some antidepressants may impair ejaculation. Nerve damage to the spinal cord or back can also cause premature ejaculation.

Disordered orgasm is the inability to reach an orgasm after adequate stimulation. The causes behind disordered orgasm may include psychiatric disorder, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, complications from genital surgery, pelvic trauma and drugs (alpha-blockers, antidepressants).


"5 Common Causes of Impotence." Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

"Cleveland Clinic - Sexual Dysfunction in Males." Cleveland Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

"HowStuffWorks "Erectile Dysfunction"." HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

"Male Ejaculation Problems: Retrograde Ejaculation, Inhibited Ejaculation, and More." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

"Sexual Problems in Men: Get the Facts on Types." MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

"Sexual problems." womenshealth.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

Reviewed May 2, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This article is very much helpful. Most men must read on this. You may also visit www.naturalfertilityformula.com for more scientific approach in natural fertility.

August 3, 2014 - 6:52pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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