Munson Health
Psychosexual Dysfunction

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by Safer DA

(Sexual Aversion; Sexual Apathy; Hypoactive Sexual Desire)



Psychosexual dysfunction is a sexual dysfunction that is due to psychological causes rather than physical problems, medical illnesses, or the side effects of medication.
Some of the psychological conditions include:
  • Depression
  • Feelings of nervousness, fear, or worry—anxiety
  • Traumatic sexual experience, such as abuse or rape
  • Guilty feelings
  • Stress
  • Negative body image
Isolated Brain
Brain in silhouette
In psychosexual dysfunction physical problems have been ruled out. Mental or emotional problems are at the center of the dysfunction.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Reduced sexual desire or activity is common among women and men. Before treatment can begin, it is necessary to determine whether the dysfunction may be caused by physical causes like diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, heavy smoking, side effects of medications, or hormonal problems. Only sexual dysfunction due to psychological factors is called psychosexual dysfunction.
Factors that may increase your chances of developing psychosexual dysfunction include:
  • Stress or anxiety from work or social situations
  • Recent pregnancy—This can result from the changes in hormone levels that occur after pregnancy, from postpartum depression, or from stress and fatigue that follow pregnancy because of adjusting to a new baby.
  • Depression
  • Uncertainty about your sexual orientation
  • Worry about how you are able to perform sexually
  • Fear due to previous disturbing or painful sexual experiences or encounters
  • Conflict with your spouse
  • Religious, social, or cultural restrictions
  • Guilt
  • Financial worries
  • Family problems
  • Abusive relationship with partner
  • Negative body image


American Psychological Association

Mental Health America



Canadian Psychological Association

Sex Information and Education Council of Canada



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Crenshaw TL, Goldberg JP, et al. Pharmacologic modification of psychosexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 1987;13(4):239-252.

Cutler SJ, Smith W, et al. Treatment of sexual dysfunction. US Pharmacist. 2002;23(5).

Female sexual problems. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website. Available at: Accessed May 23, 2014.

Glass CA. Addressing psychosexual dysfunction in neurological rehabilitation settings. Journal of Mental Health. 1995;4(3).

Phillips NA. Female sexual dysfunction: evaluation and treatment. American Family Physician. 2000;62(1):127-136.

Reiner WG, Gearhart JP, et al. Psychosexual dysfunction in males with genital anomalies: Late adolescence, Tanner states IV to VI, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 1999;38(7):865-872.


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