Sexual dysfunction prevents a male or female from enjoying or wanting to have sex and is often associated with a lack of sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, or pain during intercourse. 

There are a large number of people who are known to have sexual dysfunction. It is commonly seen in people of all age groups which is around 35 per cent of men and women. 

Furthermore, it is a common occurrence in couples battling infertility, as treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can bring on psychological and physical stress that in turn causes the dysfunction. 

“The factors that tend to induce sexual dysfunction are stress, sexual trauma, diabetes, hormonal factors, certain medications, and issues affecting blood vessels (vascular factors)”, says  Dr Nisha Pansare, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Pune.

The causes of sexual dysfunction can be attributed to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, cancer and cancer treatment, and hormonal imbalances. 

Additionally, some medications can have side effects that tend to affect one’s sexual function. Moreover, stress, anxiety, depression, feelings of sexual inadequacy, marital or relationship problems, and body image issues also invite sexual dysfunction. 

“For couples undergoing infertility treatment might prevent them from having sex and can lead to a loss of affection, leaving couples feeling tense or disconnected. Timed intercourse can affect the erection and ejaculation in the male patient,” states Pansare. 

Symptoms of sexual dysfunction in men and women can be different. In men symptoms like the inability to get or maintain an erection for intercourse, or premature ejaculation are common. These issues can lead to challenges in getting ejaculation during intercourse, which is essential for sperm to reach the egg and achieve pregnancy. 

Women can experience vaginal dryness or an absence of lubrication during sex, lack of orgasm, painful intercourse, and difficulty in arousal. 

Conditions like low libido or pain during intercourse can make conception more difficult. This is because the inability to engage in regular sexual activity reduces the chances of fertilisation occurring during ovulation. 

If you are experiencing such symptoms, you must reach out to a health expert. 
Seeking professional help from therapists or fertility consultants can provide advice and support for couples navigating these problems. Taking up a holistic approach that includes both the physical and emotional aspects of sexual health is key to overcoming barriers to intimacy and will help with meaningful relationships.

Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.