What Are Sexual Dysfunctions and Are They Normal?
Updated: Jun 17
We live in a strange society. TV and film have sex scenes left right and center. Most of us think about sex (a lot) and we pay for sex toys and porn. The sex toy industry alone is projected to be worth $35.5 billion by the end of 2023. Compare that to the toothbrush industry which is just $4.72 billion. Sex is popular!
Why is it then, that talking about sex, let alone sexual dysfunctions are still so hush-hush?
Admittedly, we’ve come a long way in the past decade. But there still remains a huge taboo around sexual dysfunctions and sexual pleasure.
Of course, sex is naturally a topic that can feel very personal and private. For many people, talking about sex, let alone sexual issues can feel vulnerable and even embarrassing. And it doesn't exactly help that there aren't many people out there helping us.
But the truth is that sexual dysfunctions are SO normal. That's why we’ve built a business to help people overcome them. And we're also going to dedicate this blog post to explain everything about them. What it means, how people experience them and just how common they are.
So, what is a sexual dysfunction? Well, it is often defined as "a physical or psychological problem that prevents a person from experiencing sexual pleasure".
What causes sexual dysfunctions?
Such as underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, alcoholism or drug abuse, or even medication.
Such as stress, anxiety, depression, concern about sexual performance, relationship problems, issues with body image and psychological trauma.
They can broadly be categorized into these four themes:
Sexual desire is fluid throughout a lifetime, however, at various points in one’s life, low sexual desire can cause a person significant distress.
This is a decrease in response to sexual stimuli and a decrease in blood flow to the genitals.
This can be either situational or acquired, which can cause a person to experience difficulty reaching climax.
When a person experiences pain during sex. This tends to be more common among women, with 26% of women experiencing some pain during sex.
What does this look like in men and women?
It can result in an inability to achieve or maintain an erection, to the extent it is difficult to have intercourse.
Delayed or an inability to ejaculate, despite receiving adequate sexual stimulation.
The inability to control when one ejaculates, also known as premature ejaculation.
The inability to reach orgasm.
Inadequate arousal, leading to a lack of vaginal lubrication before and during sex.
Difficulty relaxing the vaginal muscles to experience penetration.
In men and women:
Loss or lack of interest in desire for sex
Difficulty becoming aroused, despite receiving adequate sexual stimulation
Experiencing pain with intercourse.
Who is susceptible to having a sexual dysfunction?
First things first. If you are experiencing any of the above, you are one of millions. Don’t believe it? Here are the facts.
Up to 45%* of women and 31% of men are affected by some kind of sexual dysfunction.
Studies have shown that 30% of women have a hypoactive sexual desire disorder and 15% of men too.
When it comes to sexual arousal disorders, around 10% to 20% of men and women will experience them. Erectile dysfunction alone affects 30 million men every year.
Orgasmic disorder (also known as the difficulty or an inability to reach orgasm) affects around 10% to 15% of women based on various studies.
Whereas, for men, premature ejaculation is the most common sexual complaint. Surprisingly, up to 30% of men report experiencing it, yet just 3% of men fit the medical definition.
Sexual pain also affects up to 26% of women and 5% of men.
All of these have been shown to impact a person's interpersonal relationships and overall quality of life.
This all sounds very negative, but there are solutions.
Given that it’s so normal, why is no one talking about it?
It always amazes us to think that an accurate anatomy of the clitoris was only discovered in 1998. That’s 101 years after we split the atom. And 29 years after we put a man on the moon. And 15 years after we invented the internet.
Knowing about sex and our bodies, let alone discussing it has not been a priority in the past. So, it’s no surprise these issues are still largely missing from public conversation and our sexual education.
On top of that, you have assumptions about what it is to be a man. That you should have always have a rock-hard, long-lasting erection when you want one. And that being a man comes hand in hand with having a high sex drive. Neither of which is true for any person.
Female sexuality too has not been openly celebrated until recently. Just think, male masturbation is basically a “given” among boys going through puberty. But this conversation is largely absent among young women. Despite the fact that most women report doing it.
It’s also such an intimate experience, that for many people, having an open discussion about it can feel private or uncomfortable. We get that.
You’re not alone…
The Lover app has been created to help people overcome their sexual issues. Because there are solutions that provide long-lasting change.
We're excited to announce we’re also releasing a community forum on the Lover app. This is a space for our users to openly ask their questions to our sexual therapist Dr. Britney Blair. In a non-judgmental, open space. Hopefully, you’ll get to see the concerns of other people all across the world, and learn the many steps you can take to take back control of your happiness in the bedroom, AND your relationships. So, keep an eye out for its release in a couple of weeks.
Download the Lover app today to start your sexual wellness journey.