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Psychosexual Dysfunction

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Psychosexual Dysfunction

(Sexual Aversion; Sexual Apathy; Hypoactive Sexual Desire)


A person with psychosexual dysfunction is not aroused or satisfied during sex. It can lead to relationship and self-esteem problems.

Treatment can help.


Psychosexual dysfunction is caused by mental health problems, such as:


Mental or emotional problems are at the center of the dysfunction.

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Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of psychosexual dysfunction are:

  • Having any of the mental health problems that cause it
  • Stress
  • Hormone changes or postpartum depression from having a baby
  • Worrying about sexual orientation
  • Worrying about having sex
  • Past bad feelings or pain
  • Conflict with a partner
  • Guilt or worry due to religion or other social rules
  • Abuse from a partner


Symptoms of psychosexual dysfunction differ for men and women.


  • Not able to keep an erection
  • Ejaculate too soon or not at all
  • Not able to be aroused at the right moments
  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Reduced desire for sex


  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Low desire for sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Dry vagina


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical and mental health exam may be done. Blood tests may also be done to look for problems.


Treatment depends on the cause. One or both of these methods may be used:

  • Medicines to balance hormones or treat mental health problems
  • Individual or couples therapy


There are no known guidelines to prevent psychosexual dysfunction.





  • Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/erectile-dysfunction.
  • Female sexual dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/female-sexual-dysfunction.
  • Hatzimouratidis K, Giuliano F, et al; European Association of Urology (EAU). Guideline on Male Sexual Dysfunction. EAU 2019.
  • Overview of female sexual function and dysfunction. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/sexual-dysfunction-in-women/overview-of-female-sexual-function-and-dysfunction.
  • Premature ejaculation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/premature-ejaculation-19.


  • Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.