Do You Know About the 6 Most Common Sexual Problems?

Do You Know About the 6 Most Common Sexual Problems?
Sara Clemente

Written and verified by psychologist and journalist Sara Clemente.

Last update: 13 October, 2022

Sexuality is a tridimensional concept. It’s composed of biological, psychophysiological, and socio-cultural aspects. Thus, the satisfaction or dissatisfaction which derives from the sexual act is determined by plenty of factors. Among these are anxiety, imagination, or lack of confidence. These shape the different known dysfunctions that affect people’s sexuality. What are the most common sexual problems?

Factors that promote sexual problems

As we’ve mentioned, the sexual act isn’t a practice that’s isolated from its environment. It’s influenced by many biopsychosocial elements, from our expectations and previous experiences to our genetic, anatomical, and hormonal conditions. Likewise, it also includes an endless amount of cultural, educational, ethical, and religious aspects.

Hence, the effectivity of arousal is determined by sensorial or organic, psychological, attentional, emotional, motivational, and cognitive factors. Here lies the importance of the adequacy of every organ and sensory system. The interaction between the participants of the act or the ability you might have to focus your attention on that specific moment are also important.

You emotional and motivational state also have an influence. If you’re tired or suffering from anxiety, it’s normal for your libido to be low. Likewise, fatigue or cognitive aspects, such as fantasies, will also determine the level of satisfaction as a result of that stimulation.

A couple laying in bed disappointed.

Dysfunctions and sexual deviations

Although these are both pathologies of intimate behavior, we need to establish the difference between them.

  • Deviations are appropriate sexual responses to inappropriate stimuli. For example, fetishism, masochism, transvestism, or zoophilia.
  • Sexual dysfunctions are alterations of the sexual response to appropriate stimuli. Different kinds can be identified depending on the level of desire, excitement, or experimentation of an orgasm. We’ll delve into this below.

Sexual problems for him…

Erectile dysfunction

It’s one of the most common sexual problems. It’s when a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection to carry out a sexual act. The condition is also known as impotence and generally doesn’t affect sexual drive.

It’s estimated that 20 to 30% of cases have a psychological origin. For example, a very strict moral upbringing, inappropriate sexual information, or previous traumatic experiences which haven’t been treated. Also, certain medication can cause this dysfunction as a side effect. Illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, cardiac or hormonal problems, as well as tobacco and alcohol consumption also contribute to this condition.

Premature or late ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is the inability to control the expulsion of semen to the desired degree. Although it can often be associated with the end of the act, ejaculation doesn’t have to signify its end. On the other hand, late ejaculation is the delay or absence of the same. It can be delayed or completely inexistent. This condition becomes a problem if it happens too often.

The origin of both of these problems in intimacy usually involves psychological factors. Thus, the treatment is usually directed towards the control of arousal, be it by directly intervening over the stimuli which produce it or by training certain mental resources which inhibit it to some degree. Two of the most recommended protocols in this sense are the “start-stop” and “compression” techniques.

Sexual problems for her…


This refers to the difficulty of performing coitus due to the involuntary contraction of the muscles in the lower third of the vagina. Spasms occur in the muscles that close the vagina and prevent penetration from taking place. In regards to its origin, there are two kinds of vaginismus: primary and secondary vaginismus. In primary vaginismus, the woman has never been able to have sexual relations without pain. However, in secondary vaginismus, the woman had been capable of experiencing pain-free relations before the condition developed.

It obeys physical and psychological factors, as well as a mixture of both. Also, it’s a sexual problem which doesn’t tend to worsen if not treated. It only worsens if the woman keeps trying to get penetrated despite the pain caused. In these cases, the woman “learns” to increase the involuntary contraction in order to prevent penetration and, with it, the pain.

a worried woman with her hands on her head


This means the inability to reach an orgasm. People with this problem never manage to reach climax in a sexual act.

This is one of the most common problems for both genders, although it mainly happens to women. It’s more common in females due to their morphology, given the greater amount of nervous and muscular structures they possess. It’s harder to detect in men because we tend to assume that, if the man ejaculates, he has reached an orgasm.

Thus, some people, especially preteens, manifest having orgasms without ejaculation. On the other hand, some types of paralysis cause some people to reach an orgasm without ejaculating. Other men experience the sensation of an orgasm a few seconds after ejaculating. And others perceive multiple orgasms right before the definitive ejaculation. Lastly, some men have anhedonic or anesthetic ejaculations, without experiencing an orgasm.

Anorgasmia tends to be a result of psychological factors, such as some type of sexual trauma, depression, anxiety, fears, or false beliefs about sex and sexuality. It can be treated and only 5% of cases don’t find a solution.


This is a painful or uncomfortable act of coitus before, during, or after sexual union. It’s produced in women as well as in men, but is more common in women. This condition is characterized by the existence of genital discomfort associated with penetration. In males, this pain tends to take place during ejaculation. A very likely cause of these symptoms is a urinary tract infection.

In females, dyspareunia is usually associated with vaginismus and entails burning, contractions, and sharp pains. If it doesn’t occur at the beginning of the sexual act, but after the plateau phase, it could be a result of poor lubrication. Its causes are more organic than psychological.

A woman laying in bed thinking.

Loss of sexual desire or reduced libido

This dysfunction affects both genders equally. For women, it’s caused by hormonal factors, such as low levels of estrogen, which might be a result of menopause. In this sense, sexual desires can also be reduced during pregnancy or lactation. For men, 70% of the cases of loss of desire is due to testosterone deficit. The other 30% is due to causes associated with stress or relationship issues.

On the other hand, reduced libido can be classified into two groups:

  • Primary- Secondary: The primary kind alludes to a lack of sexual desire experienced by people who have never experienced it before or only have to a very low degree. The second kind affects people who have had sexual desire in the past and have felt it reducing until it negatively affected their sexual lives.
  • Generalized- Situational: On one hand, a generalized loss of desire refers to when someone has lost their sexual drive in all situations and for all possible partners. On the other hand, we’d be referring to a situational or circumstantial loss of sexual drive when this desire has only been reduced in a certain situation or with certain partners.

To summarize, we could say that the sexual act is a behavior affected by mechanisms that are much more complex than people think. Arousal is susceptible to being altered by a multitude of factors. The aspects surrounding sexuality are fundamental. These include communication, sense of security, and intimacy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.