Psychosexual Dysfunction

Make an Appointment

If you experience problems getting sexually aroused or feeling sexual satisfaction, you may have a mental or emotional condition called psychosexual dysfunction.

Mental or emotional causes include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Traumatic sexual experience, such as abuse or rape
  • Guilty feelings
  • Stress
  • Negative body image

Psychosexual Symptoms in Men

Symptoms for men include:

  • Not able to maintain erection
  • Ejaculation occurs too soon or not at all
  • Unable able to become aroused when appropriately stimulated
  • Inhibited sexual desire
  • Inability to orgasm

Psychosexual Symptoms in Women

Symptoms for women include:

  • Unable able to become aroused when appropriately stimulated
  • Not able to achieve orgasm
  • Inhibited sexual desire
  • Vaginismus — an unconscious spasm or tightening of the muscles around the vagina that interferes with sexual intercourse
  • Experiencing pain during sex
  • Vaginal dryness

Diagnosing Sexual Dysfunction 

Your doctor may perform a psychological assessment using a depression scale or mini mental state examination (MMSE).

Men may have tests done to assess erection ability, with:

  • A snap gauge
  • A vascular assessment

Women may have additional tests done, such as:

  • A vaginal exam
  • Tests of bodily fluids, such as cultures or vaginal samples

Treatments for Psychosexual Dysfunction at UVA Health

We will work with you to find the right treatment plan for you.


Some medications can alleviate your symptoms, like anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications. 


To successfully manage your psychosexual dysfunction, your doctor may recommend therapy to treat and manage your mental and emotional issues:

  • Psychotherapy allows you to work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or licensed counselor to figure out ways to deals with stressful or painful issues.
  • Sex therapy assists you with communication, teaches you about sexual fantasies and helps you focus on sexual stimuli.
  • Behavioral therapy involves a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or licensed counselor helping you unlearn automatic behaviors.
  • Marriage or relationship counseling consists of you and your partner meeting with a mental health professional to discuss issues, including communications problems.