Have you lost your desire to have sex?
Are you experiencing pain during sexual activity?
Are you unable to experience orgasm during sex?
Do you ejaculate too soon when you are engaging in sexual activity?
Is it impossible for you to use a tampon or have intercourse?
The sexual response cycle experienced by both men and women consists of 4 phases. A Sexual Dysfunction is a disturbance in sexual desire and the sexual response cycle or pain associated with sexual intercourse that causes distress and interpersonal difficulty.
Phase 1 – Excitement: Can last from a few minutes to several hours:
Muscle tension increases.
Heart rate quickens and breathing is accelerated.
Skin may become flushed (blotches of redness appear on the chest and back).
Nipples become hardened or erect.
Blood flow to the genitals increases, resulting in swelling of the woman’s clitoris and labia minora (inner lips), and erection of the man’s penis.
Vaginal lubrication begins.
The woman’s breasts become fuller and the vaginal walls begin to swell.
The man’s testicles swell, his scrotum tightens, and he begins secreting a lubricating liquid.
Phase 2 – Plateau: Extends to the brink of orgasm:
The changes begun in phase 1 are intensified.
The vagina continues to swell from increased blood flow, and the vaginal walls turn a dark purple.
The woman’s clitoris becomes highly sensitive (may even be painful to touch) and retracts under the clitoral hood to avoid direct stimulation from the penis.
The man’s testicles are withdrawn up into the scrotum.
Breathing, heart rate and blood pressure continue to increase.
Muscle spasms may begin in the feet, face and hands.
Tension in the muscles increases.
Phase 3: Orgasm: The climax of the sexual response cycle. The shortest of the phases and generally lasts only a few seconds:
Involuntary muscle contractions begin.
Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are at their highest rates, with a rapid intake of oxygen.
Muscles in the feet spasm.
There is a sudden, forceful release of sexual tension.
In women, the muscles of the vagina contract. The uterus also undergoes rhythmic contractions.
In men, rhythmic contractions of the muscles at the base of the penis result in the ejaculation of semen.
A rash, or “sex flush” may appear over the entire body.
Phase 4: Resolution: During this phase, the body slowly returns to its normal level of functioning, and swelled and erect body parts return to their previous size and color. This phase is marked by a general sense of well-being, enhanced intimacy and, often, fatigue. Some women are capable of a rapid return to the orgasm phase with further sexual stimulation and may experience multiple orgasms. Men need recovery time after orgasm, called a refractory period, during which they cannot reach orgasm again. The duration of the refractory period varies among men and changes with age.
Many couples find themselves in a Sexless Marriage.
View Dr. Hollenbeck’s video presentation as a featured Sex Therapy expert on this topic as she discusses 20 Reasons Couples Stop Having Sex in the Center for Healthy Sex Webinar Series.
Types of Sexual Disorders as listed in the *DSM-5
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: A deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity.
Sexual Aversion Disorder: An aversion to and active avoidance of genital sexual contact with a sexual partner.
Female Sexual Arousal Disorder: A persistent or recurrent inability to attain, or to maintain until completion of the sexual activity, an adequate lubrication-swelling response of sexual excitement.
Male Erectile Disorder: A persistent or recurrent inability to attain, or to maintain until completion of the sexual activity, an adequate erection.
Female Orgasmic Disorder: A persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase.
Male Orgasmic Disorder: A persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase.
Premature Ejaculation: The persistent or recurrent onset of orgasm and ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before, on, or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it.
Dyspareunia: Genital pain that is associated with sexual intercourse.
Vaginismus: The recurrent or persistent involuntary contraction of the perineal muscles surrounding the outer third of the vagina when vaginal penetration with penis, finger, tampon, or speculum is attempted.
Treatment for Sexual Disorders
Treatment may include medication from your doctor or a psychiatrist, changes in diet and exercise, and counseling. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) are effective forms of therapy to treat sexual disorders. Using these two approaches in counseling, Dr. Crystal Hollenbeck helps you address your thoughts, emotions, behaviors and trauma related to the sexual dysfunction. Dr. Hollenbeck is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. She uses EMDR for treating sexual trauma and abuse, and Anger Management Therapy, Prepare-Enrich Couples Counseling, and Gottman Couples Therapy to address individual and couple relationship issues. She is a relationship expert and understands the importance sexuality has in all stages of our life.
There is Hope for Healing that produces Harmony through counseling.
*The American Psychological Association – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)