Male Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction can affect men of all ages but is especially common in older men. The most common problems related to sexual dysfunction include ejaculation disorders, erectile dysfunction, and inhibited sexual desire. These issues can often be corrected by treating the underlying causes. 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. One or more conditions can coexist in an individual. The inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse is a distressing and common symptom, affecting up to one-third of adult men.
Health care professionals should therefore ask men of all ages about sexual dysfunction as part of their routine psychosocial assessment. The sexual response cycle traditionally includes excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Desire and arousal are both parts of the excitement phase of the sexual response. In most cases, you recognize something is interfering with your enjoyment (or a partner’s enjoyment) of a sexual relationship. Your provider usually begins with a complete history of symptoms and a physical. They may order diagnostic tests to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the dysfunction. Typically, lab testing plays a very limited role in the diagnosis of sexual dysfunction. An evaluation of attitudes about sex, as well as other possible contributing factors —fear, anxiety, past sexual trauma/abuse, relationship concerns, medications, alcohol or drug abuse, etc. — helps a clinician understand the underlying cause of the problem and recommend the right treatment.
What Triggers a Man Sexually?
Sex drive is usually described as libido. The male libido lives in two areas of the brain: the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. These parts of the brain are vital to a man’s sex drive and performance. Men’s arousal patterns have repeatedly emphasized their sensitivity to visual cues. As soon as the lust-inspiring image registers in their brain, they become turned-on—not only physically but psychologically, too. Exposure to such erotic stimuli immediately activates the parts of their brain related to getting an erection. The way the male sexual brain is constituted (as long, that is, as testosterone levels remain sufficiently high, or one’s personal, non-sexual ideals are suspended), the pursuit of sexual stimulation remains discouraged and unfaltering. Beyond the particular physical, or visual, cues that men seek for arousal, some additional psychological cues might also be mentioned here. Namely, it’s the depiction of women (in stills or, even better, in videos) gasping, moaning, screaming, and swooning—that is, the portrayal of women seemingly electrified by the most intense sexual pleasure. There can be various other triggers.
Types of Male Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is a problem that can happen during any phase of the sexual response cycle. It prevents you from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity. Sexual dysfunction generally is classified into four categories:
- Desire disorders:lack of sexual desire or interest in sex.
- Arousal disorders:inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity.
- Orgasm disorders:delay or absence of orgasm (climax).
- Pain disorders:pain during intercourse.
The most common problems men face with sexual dysfunction are troubles with ejaculation, getting and keeping an erection, and reduced sexual desire:
1. Ejaculation disorders
- Premature ejaculation (PE): Ejaculation that occurs before or too soon after penetration.
- Inhibited or delayed ejaculation: Ejaculation does not happen or takes a very long time.
- Retrograde ejaculation: At orgasm, the ejaculated is forced back into the bladder rather than through the end of the penis.
2. Premature ejaculation (PE)
The exact is not known. While in many cases Premature ejaculation is due to performance anxiety during sex, other factors may be:
- Temporary depression.
- History of sexual repression.
- Low self-confidence.
- Lack of communication or unresolved conflict with a partner.
Studies suggest that the breakdown of serotonin (a natural chemical that affects mood) may play a role in Premature ejaculation. Certain drugs, including some antidepressants, may affect ejaculation, as can nerve damage to the back or spinal cord.
3. Inhibited or delayed ejaculation
This may include physical causes like 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.
4. Retrograde ejaculation
It 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 to 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.
5. 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 Erectile dysfunction include:
- Diseases affecting blood flow such as hardening of the arteries.
- Nerve disorders.
- Stress, relationship conflicts, depression, and performance anxiety.
- Injury to the penis.
- Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, overeating, and lack of exercise.
6. 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. Low sex drive may also be caused by depression, anxiety, or relationship difficulties. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain medications like antidepressants may also contribute to low libido.
What Causes Male Sexual Dysfunction?
There are various causes of Male Sexual Dysfunction, they can be broadly categorized into two categories:
Physical causes of overall sexual dysfunction may be due to:
- Low testosterone levels.
- Prescription drugs (antidepressants, high blood pressure medicine).
- Blood vessel disorders such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure.
- Stroke or nerve damage from diabetes or surgery.
- Alcoholism and drug abuse.
(Curved erection and penile deformity can also lead to sexual dissatisfaction.)
Psychological causes might include:
- Concern about sexual performance.
- Marital or relationship problems.
- Depression, feelings of guilt.
- Effects of past sexual trauma.
- Work-related stress and anxiety.
Male Sexual Dysfunction Treatment
Many cases of sexual dysfunction can be corrected by treating the mental or physical problems that cause it. Treatments include:
- Medications: Drugs that help improve sexual function by increasing blood flow to the penis. Sildenafil (Viagra®), vardenafil (Levitra®), and tadalafil (Cialis®) are safe and effective for most men.
- Hormone therapy: Low levels of testosterone raised by hormone replacement therapies that include injections, patches, or gels.
- Psychological therapy: A psychological counselor to help you address feelings of anxiety, depression, fear, or guilt that may affect sexual function.
- Mechanical aids: Vacuum devices and penile implants that can help some men with erectile dysfunction.
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 you should follow the same program that is recommended to maintain cardiovascular health.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan for any of your medical/health conditions.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Quit smoking.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet (the Mediterranean diet is often recommended).
- Get regular aerobic and weight-building exercise.
- Get treatment if needed for any emotional or psychological problems such as stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Communicate better and more often with your partner.
What Food Works Like Viagra?
These foods function as an aphrodisiac and replace the need for Viagra:
- Celery:Celery contains arginine, which expands blood vessels in a similar way that Viagra does.
- Watermelon: The citrulline in the watermelon helps produce nitric oxide, which boosts sexual stamina and helps reduce erectile dysfunction.
- Chocolate:Studies have proven that chocolate increases the elasticity of blood vessels, which in turn facilitates the flow of blood.
- Pepper:The stuff in Cayennes , jalapeños, habaneros, and other peppers that give them their heat relaxes the arteries — and that helps blood flow to the heart and other organs, including the penis.
- Garlic:Garlic contains allicin, an active compound that increases blood flow, making your body extra sensitive to touch and increases your libido. The improved blood flow also helps stronger erections and greater endurance.
- Nuts:Many varieties contain the essential amino acid L-arginine that dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow to the genitals. The fatty acids in nuts increase endorphins, making you feel more relaxed.
- Ginger:It is definitely of great use as an aphrodisiac.
- Bananas:Bananas contain bromelain, which helps the production of testosterone, keeping your sexual drive up and aware.
- Sweet Potatoes:They’re rich in beta-carotene and potassium which can help with men’s erectile dysfunction and aid fertility issues.
- Fenugreek:Fenugreek is a popular herb in alternative medicine that may help enhance libido and improve sexual function.
- Saffron:Its many traditional uses range from reducing stress to acting as an aphrodisiac, especially for people on antidepressants.
- Muesli:White muesli is a proven cure for low sperm count, low libido, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, nightfall, and many other sexual performance-related problems in men.
- Carrots:Carrots have fibrous ingredients that energize the body and lead to a feeling of strong sexual desire.
- Strawberries:The aphrodisiac reputation of strawberries comes from a high amount of vitamin C and folic acid that act as antioxidants that boost blood flow – to your sexual organs, among other places.
- Apples:Apples are filled with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that stimulate sexual desire.
- Ginseng:Ginseng contains a compound that increases sexual satisfaction and can help prevent or lessen erectile dysfunction.
- Saffron:Saffron is a natural aphrodisiac that can improve your sex drive and also boosts stamina and energy.
- Cinnamon:Cinnamon is used in the treatment of impotence and is proven to be sexually stimulating for men.
- Seeds:Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are a great source of zinc, which boosts testosterone. They are also loaded with antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium, and healthier nutrients.
- Spinach and other greens:Spinach is a rich source of magnesium that is known for helping dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to your genitals, which in turn increases arousal. Leafy greens are high in vitamin A, a hormone-balancer that supports proper endocrine function, and contain iodine, an essential mineral for the proper function of the thyroid and adrenal glands that help regulate your mood.
- Eggs:Boiled eggs contain L-arginine, which can help improve erectile dysfunction.
- Figs:Figs are an ancient aphrodisiac, contains magnesium and an amino acid which have been linked to testosterone production and improved circulation.
- Oysters: These shellfish may boost your testosterone levels, and that can help with sex drive.
- Coffee:Men who drank two or three cups’ worth of caffeine a day were less likely to have erectile dysfunction, one study found. That’s because caffeine helps boost blood flow.
- Fish: Salmon and other fatty fish are great sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may boost nitric oxide in your body. They’ll lower your blood pressure and your risks for heart attack and blood clots.
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