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Sexual Dysfunction: Lifespan Perspectives

Sexual response, a complex process involving physiological, psychological, and interpersonal factors, is often divided into three interrelated phases: (1) desire, (2) arousal, and (3) orgasm, together referred to as the sexual response cycle. Although generally not part of the conscious experience of sex, these phases are useful in understanding and classifying sexual problems—problems within each phase may have a different etiology and call for a different treatment. Thus, the major sexual dysfunctions include problems with (a) low or absent sexual desire, (b) physiological or psychological sexual arousal, (c) the orgasmic phase, and (d) painful intercourse and/or sexual aversion, which may cause an individual to avoid sexual intimacy. Although individuals may be dissatisfied with their sexual performance, they need to meet the criteria of the ...

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