The 7 Most Common Sexual Problems

There are many different types of sexual problems, and we'll look at the most common ones in men and women.
The 7 Most Common Sexual Problems
Diego Pereira

Reviewed and approved by el médico Diego Pereira.

Last update: 27 January, 2023

Sexual dysfunction is a phenomenon that affects millions of people around the world. According to some estimates, 43% of women and 31% of men suffer from it. It refers to any type of problem, challenge, or obstacle when starting, continuing, or ending sexual activity. Today we’ll look at the most common sexual problems and their characteristics.

When we think about sexual problems, it’s often only in reference to men, and almost always related to impotence. However, sexual problems go far beyond this, and evidence indicates that they’re actually more common in women. They can be influenced by both psychological and physiological factors, and they are quite complex in nature.

The most common sexual problems

Sexual dysfunction is divided into four types: sexual desire disorders, sexual arousal disorders, orgasm disorders, and sexual pain disorders.

Its manifestations are more complex than often thought, both in terms of its causes and its treatment. We’ll bring you a list of the 7 most common sexual problems that belong to these four categories.

1. Inhibited sexual desire

It is also known as hyposexuality or hypoactive sexual desire disorders. According to indications, it affects up to 12.3% of women, while in men it oscillates around 15% according to some experts. The actual percentage may differ, as this disorder can often be misdiagnosed as another disorder due to their similarity.

In any case, it alludes to the absence of sexual desire, sexual fantasies, and libido. Due to hormonal issues, lack of time, or stress, almost all people deal with fluctuations in their sexual interest.

However, in this case, the episodes last for a while and cause distress. It isn’t related to mental disorders, drug intake, or underlying diseases.

2. Erectile dysfunction

The most common sexual problems include erectile dysfunction.
There are numerous causes of erectile dysfunction, so the intervention of a multidisciplinary team may be necessary.

The researchers point out that up to 12.9% of men suffer from erectile dysfunction, although the actual percentage varies according to age (it’s more common as you get older), region (more common in Anglo-Saxon countries) and underlying conditions (such as prostate problems).

It refers to two conditions: the inability to achieve an erection at the beginning of sex, and the inability to maintain it during intercourse.

Almost all cases are explained by underlying conditions, and only a part of these are due to psychological problems. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common sexual problems in society.

3. Anorgasmia

Anorgasmia refers to the inability to get an orgasm  despite adequate stimulation. It is estimated that up to 26% of the population suffers from it, with a higher prevalence among women. In men, it’s associated with delayed ejaculation, one of the less frequent sexual dysfunctions in men.

The condition can be triggered by psychological or physiological factors. There are two types: primary and secondary.

In the first case, the patient has never experienced an orgasm, in the second he has, but he has lost the ability to have a new one, or its intensity is much less. There is also situational anorgasmia; this is when orgasm is reached meeting specific criteria.

4. Premature ejaculation

Evidence indicates that up to 21% of men suffer from premature ejaculation. In general, 1 in 5 manifest this problem and it’s one of the most common sexual problems in men.

There’s no general consensus as to how long we’re talking about as being premature, although the criterion of 1 minute after stimulation is generally used.

The causes of premature ejaculation are not known, and the suggested hypotheses show inconsistent evidence. Four types are distinguished: subjective, acquired, lifelong and variable. It is only diagnosed as such when the episodes last for at least 6 months continuously, or during at least 75% of the encounters.

5. Vaginismus

The most common sexual problems include dyspareunia.
Within female sexual dysfunctions, vaginismus is one of those most associated with psychological factors.

Vaginismus is involuntary muscle spasms of the muscles that surround the vagina during intercourse. This causes pain during sexual intercourse and rejection of encounters.

There are two types: primary and secondary. The first case refers to when the patient has always experienced vaginismus, and secondary is when the person suffers from it after having had sex without any problems previously.

The causes of vaginismus are not known, although researchers think that many cases are due to anxiety. The stigma in relation to sex plays a role, which is why its prevalence is higher in conservative countries. Infections and childbirth are also behind many episodes of this type.

6. Dyspareunia

It’s estimated that between 7% and 46% of women will suffer from dyspareunia at least once in their lives. With this name, we include all episodes that cause pain during sexual intercourse. The location, nature, and duration of the pain varies from case to case, so each condition is different for each patient.

Anatomical alterations, infections, hormonal disorders, hormonal dysfunctions, bladder irritations, and other causes may be behind episodes of this type. It can also affect men, who develop pain and discomfort in the testicular area or glans. It can be superficial or deep in both sexes.

7. Peyronie’s disease

According to some estimates, up to 6% of the male population may have Peyronie’s disease, although it varies by age and region. The percentage can be very high, since during surveys men may feel embarrassed to report that they have the condition.

It alludes to the growth of plaques on the soft inner part of the penis, which causes it to curve. As a consequence, the patient may develop a shortening of the penis, erectile dysfunction, and pain during intercourse. A slight congenital curvature is considered normal, so not all penises with these characteristics point to this condition.

Sexual problems are more common than you think. All of these have their respective treatment, so you should always be open to seeking professional help. Otherwise, it’s very common for patients to develop anguish, depression, and a refusal to start a sexual relationship.

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