Orgasm disorders are a persistent delay or absence of orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase. The disorder can occur in both women and men. Again, the SSRI antidepressants are frequent culprits -- these can delay the achievement of orgasm or eliminate it entirely.
It is unclear exactly what causes vaginismus, but it is thought that past sexual trauma (such as rape or abuse) may play a role. Another female sexual pain disorder is called vulvodynia or vulvar vestibulitis. In this condition, women experience burning pain during sex which seems to be related to problems with the skin in the vulvar and vaginal areas. The cause is unknown.
Nerves must be working normally for a man to get and keep an erection. Nerve damage can result from diabetes, multiple sclerosis, prostate surgery or damage to the spinal cord.
Psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, guilt or fear can sometimes cause sexual problems. At one time, these factors were thought to be the major cause of erectile dysfunction. Doctors now know that physical factors are present in most men with erectile dysfunction. However, embarrassment or "performance anxiety" can make a physical problem worse. Erectile dysfunction caused only by psychological causes is found most commonly in young men.
Sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) drugs can cause minor side effects such as flushing and headache, but they have been shown to be safe in most men, including those with heart disease. However, these drugs can interact with other medications and cause dangerously low blood pressure. In particular, they should never be taken with nitroglycerin or other nitrate medications commonly used to treat heart disease. Men with enlarged prostates who take alpha-blocker drugs such tamsulosin (Flomax) or doxazosin (Cardura) should probably avoid PDE5 drugs.
Men who do not benefit from medical or psychological treatment often have success with mechanical or prosthetic devices. External products, known as vacuum erection devices, are safe and highly effective, but many men and their partners find them unappealing. Another option is a surgically placed penile implant. However, because implants require surgery (with the risk of surgical complications), only 10 percent of men with erectile dysfunction choose this option. Vascular (blood vessel) surgery sometimes is recommended for young, healthy men who develop impotence after trauma to the groin.