Sexual Dysfunction's, Paraphilias and Gender Identity Disorders

     Sexual disorders are often the most stigmatized in society. They are disorders which disrupt the sexual response or cause pain during intercourse, and last over a long period of time.

a) Sexual Desire Disorders: Sexual desire disorders include hypoactive disorder which is when a person is generally uninterested in sexual activity and even sexual fantasy. Sexual aversion disorder is not just a lack of interest in sex but an all out disgust and fear of sex. It is often the result of rape or sexual abuse.

b) Sexual Arousal Disorders: Female sexual arousal disorder is indicated by insufficient vaginal lubrication. As well, it is thought that psychological causes are at work – such as emotional distress or a history of sexual trauma. Male erectile disorder occurs when men have problems getting and maintaining an erection. Causes have been thought to be physical and psychological and could be due to diabetes, MS and kidney disease, as well as stress, depression, performance anxiety and avoidance of intimacy.

c) Orgasmic Disorders: Orgasmic disorders include female orgasmic disorder, which is a problem of achieving orgasm, and is reported by one fourth of all women. Male orgasmic disorder is less common. Both are said to be caused by antidepressants and anxiety about sex. Premature ejaculation is when a man reaches orgasm before or shortly after penetration. It is regarded to be due to psychological factors, as well as biological causes.

d) Sexual Pain disorders: Dyspareunia is the experience of pain during sexual intercourse. This pain is usually due to gynaecological or urological problems, but it may also be a conditioned response to sexual trauma. Vaginismus is a problem in which the muscles surrounding the outer part of the vagina contract involuntarily when attempts are made to insert the penis. It usually turns out to be the consequence of sexual trauma.

e) Fetishism: Fetishism involves a reliance on inanimate objects or on a specific body part (to the exclusion of the person as a whole) for sexual gratification’s. Most fetishes are associated with the human body. Common choices are fur, women’s stockings, women’s shoes, women’s gloves and women’s underpants. The fetishes sexual activity typically consists of fondling, kissing, and smelling the fetish. Fetishism is a “spectrum disorder” and exists on a continuum ranging from normal fetishes to abnormal ones.

f) Transvestism: Transvestism is sexual gratification through dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex. It is similar to fetishism as it involves a fascination with inanimate objects. Transvestites go one step further and actually put on their fetish – the clothing of the opposite sex. They may also enjoy appearing in public. Transvestites do not wish to be the opposite sex, only to dress as them for pleasure. As well, transvestites should not be confused with transsexuals, or people who experience gender identity confusion.

g) Exhibitionism: Exbhitionism is one of the most reported sex offences. Courts often treat this seriously as they feel that often exhibitionism leads to more serious sex offences. More than 10 percent of child molesters and 8 percent of rapist began as exhibitionists. Most are not dangerous and do not attempt to have sexual contact with their victim. The typical exhibitionist is a sexually inhibited, unhappily married young man. He will go to a public place and typically show his penis to a young woman. The exhibitionist gets aroused from the women’s response. Usually he will get sexual gratification in privacy while fantasizing about the event. Sometimes exhibitionism occurs as a symptom of some other disease – such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, senile brain deterioration or mental retardation. Most are simply shy, inhibited, sexually inferior feeling men.

h) Voyeurism: An element of voyeurism is usually involved in normal sexual activity – for example magazines or videos. The definition of abnormal voyeurism is someone who derives their sexual pleasure from watching others, and this interferes with the others lives (i.e., invasion of privacy, etc.). They obtain their sexual gratification by invading others privacy, such as by watching women undress or couples having sex. Often the voyeur is typically like the exhibitionist in their personal characteristics (See above).

i) Sadism and Masochism: It is relatively normal for aggression to enter natural intercourse and aggressive sexual fantasies are often acted out during normal intercourse. In sadism and masochism, however, the element of physical or psychological cruelty – inflicting pain and being subjected to it – assumes a central role in sexual functioning. It is hard to draw a line where these activities go from normal to abnormal, however evidence of distress, interpersonal difficulty and impairment in functioning due to the fixation are clues that the behaviour is abnormal.

j) Frotteurism: With frotteurism, a person obtains sexual gratification from touching or rubbing against a non-consenting person. Frotteurs usually operate is crowded places, such as buses or subways, where they are likely to escape notice. Typically, they will rub their genitals on a person, or touch the other person’s genitals or breasts. Part of the excitement for the frotteur is their sense of power that they feel over their unsuspecting victim.

k) Paedophilia: Paedophiles are adults who seek sexual gratification through sexual contact with children. Though paedophiles rarely cause physical harm to children, they create severe emotional distress in their victims. There are several causes, including arrested development, social isolation and childhood sexual abuse.

Related Links

Abnormal Psychology
Emotional & Behavioural Disorders
     Anxiety Disorders
     Dissociative & Somatoform Disorders
     Psychological Stress & Physical Disorders
     Mood Disorders
     Personality Disorders
     Substance Use Disorders
Psychotic and Neuropsychological Disorders
     Acquired Brain Disorders
     Disorders of Childhood & Adolescence
     Mental Retardation & Autism
     Antisocial & Violent Behaviour