The sexual problems that are psychological in origin, rather than physiological, are called psychosexual disorders. It may arise due to guilty conscience, stress, anxiety, nervousness, worry, fear, depression, physical or emotional trauma, abuse, rape and so on. The other factors causing sexual problems are based on psychosocial and cultural aspects. Ignorance or improper sex education can be a reason. Conflict of values between sexual feelings during adolescence and that which is represented by family or religion, (for example, the attitude that sex is dirty, sinful or a shame) acts as a trigger for psychosexual disorder symptoms. Relationship aspects, like power, trust or anger at partner and lack of communication and commitment to one’s partner or peer may also lead to sexual disorders.
Identifying Sexual Disorders
Discussions on sexual problems, once considered a taboo, has become open in today’s society. In order to identify the sexual problem, the case history of the patient should be drawn carefully in detail. In case of couples, the information from the partner is also very critical.
The actual nature of the problem must be analyzed with respect to the stage of the sexual cycle and the conditions that trigger. The extent of the problem, in terms of duration and its variation under various environments, past and present experiences of the patient and partner must be given due consideration in identifying the sexual disorder. When a partner is involved, their commitment to each other and the degree of love, understanding and trust, conflicts and resolution, communication patterns and individual preferences must be taken into account.
The personality of the patient must be assessed to clarify the abnormal sexual behavior. All other disorders like pot addiction, alcoholism, depression etc, and physical causes must be ruled out. Professionally framed tests and quizzes help analyze and identify the individual’s psychosexual disorder symptoms.
Symptoms of Psychosexual Disorders
Psychosexual disorder symptoms vary for every individual and differ with gender. They may be categorized into sexual dysfunction, paraphilias and gender identity disorders.
Dysfunction is a sexual problem characterized by decreased desire, arousal or orgasm and lack of enjoyment or satisfaction derived from sex. It may also display dyspareunia or experience of more pain during the act. Sexual aversion is associated with fear, anxiety and dislike. Impotence (male erectile dysfunction), premature ejaculation, inhibited male orgasms and vaginismus (involuntary contraction of the vagina in female) are the visible symptoms of sexual problems.
Paraphilias or the disorder of sexual preference is the unusual or abnormal sexual behavior that does not follow the normal standards. This category of sexual disorder exhibits abnormal preference of sexual objects that include fetishism (preference for inanimate objects), fetishistic transvestism (wearing clothes of the opposite sex), paedophilia (pre-pubertal children), zoophilia (animals), necrophilia (dead bodies), persons with specific qualities like a deformity or handicap etc.,
Sexual perversions are also due to some type of psychosexual disorder and include sexual sadism, exhibitionism, voyeurism and frotteurism. Exhibitionism is exposing the genitals in public places for sexual excitement. Voyeurism is witnessing other’s sexual acts for arousal hideously. Sadism or sadomasochism is inflicting pain on others, while masochism is inducing pain to one’s own self during the act and deriving pleasure from it. Frotteurism is being excited by rubbing the genitalia against people in crowded public places.
Gender identity disorders exhibit variation between one’s sense of sexual identity and the biological one. The sufferer shows doubt about one’s own sexual orientation, difficulty to adjust to the normal lifestyle, and a desire to modify the sexual orientation to become a member of the opposite sex.
If any individual is suspected to suffer from any kind of psychosexual disorder symptom, he/she must visit a professional counselor for additional evaluation and personalized treatment. Psychological evaluations are performed to rule out physical reasons and to reveal some kind of mental illness in the affected individual.
Though the disorder is not life-threatening, it affects the relationship with one’s partner and reduces self-esteem. Such disorders may result in unlawful activities or instincts that need to be treated. Treatment for this type of psychological disorder involves medications together with psychotherapy and counseling.
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