Psychosexual Dysfunction

Psychosexual Dysfunction

(Sexual Aversion; Sexual Apathy; Hypoactive Sexual Desire)

How to Say It: si-co-sex-u-ull diss-funk-shun


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


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

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Prior abuse or rape
  • Guilty feelings
  • Stress
  • Not feeling good about yourself
Brain in silhouette
Mental or emotional problems are at the center of the dysfunction.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Having any of the mental health problems that cause it
  • Problems at work
  • Problems with the people in a person's life
  • Hormone changes or postpartum depression from having a baby
  • Worrying about your sexual orientation
  • Worrying about having sex
  • Prior bad feelings or pain
  • Conflict with your partner
  • Guilt or worry because of religion or the way of life where you live
  • Money problems
  • Family problems
  • Abuse from your partner


Symptoms 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
  • Lessened desire for sex


  • Not able to reach orgasm
  • Low desire for sex
  • Muscles around the vagina that tighten without control and cause pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Dry vagina


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. A mental health exam may also be done. Blood tests may also be done.


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 this health problem.


American Psychiatric Association
National Institute of Mental Health


Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association


Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 19, 2020.
Female sexual dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 19, 2020.
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: Accessed November 19, 2020.
Premature ejaculation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 19, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 4/16/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

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.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Home |Terms and Conditions |Concerned About Privacy? |Accessibility |Careers |For Employers and Medical Plan Providers

You may also be looking for: CVS/pharmacy | MinuteClinic | Specialty Pharmacy | SilverScript | Accordant