Factors of Sexual Dysfunction (Sexual Aversion Disorder)

Summarize the effects of one type of sexual dysfunction that can affect both men and women. What are some factors that may cause this type of dysfunction? What treatments may help individuals who experience this type of dysfunction?

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Sexual aversion disorder is not so much a low sex drive but rather a phobia of genital contact. This phobia can be caused by irrational fears, persistent erectile problems in men, past sexual trauma, or childhood sexual abuse (Finchner-Rathus, Nevid, Rathus, 2005). Men that exhibit erectile dysfunction can become anxious in sexual situations because of a perceived lack of performance. This can eventually lead to an aversive attitude when it comes to sex. Another cause of sexual aversion disorder is past sexual trauma. Rape, incest, or childhood sexual abuse can have a big impact on current sexual relationships. Anxiety based on these past events can make sexual contact very uneasy for both sexes.

According to a study done by Jardine and Katz (1999) a tendency to worry is not directly linked to sexual aversion disorder. Nor was low sexual desire or libido linked directly to this type of disorder. The study concludes that sexual aversion is based on anxiety about past sexual trauma and sexual dysfunction. To that end, our textbook suggests that a multifaceted approach to the treatment of sexual aversion disorder might be necessary. The authors suggest that medications to control the associated anxiety might be in order; as well as psychological treatments that can help the person in question battle underlying sexual phobias. Also, they suggest that couples therapy can help with relational issued related to the disorder. Sensate focus exercises and behavioral exercises are also recommended to lessen anxiety and overcome the actual stimulus that evokes the anxiety in the first place.

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Finchner-Rathus, L., Nevid, J.S., Rathus, S.A. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity, sixth edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Jardine, D. Katz, R.C. (1999). The relationship between worry, sexual aversion, and low sexual desire. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 25(4), 293-296. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from EBSCOHost Database.

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