Sexual Disorders

Sexual disorders or sexual dysfunctions are difficulty experienced by an individual or a couple during any stage of a usual sexual activity, including physical pleasure, desire, preference, arousal or orgasm. For treatment and/or hospitalization it requires a person to feel extreme distress and interpersonal strain for a minimum of 6 months. Paraphilia (abnormal sexual activity) are disorders of deviant sexuality.



This involves a compulsion to display one’s private parts to strangers. This is often followed by masturbation to attain orgasm. Exhibitionism is exclusively seen in males and the stranger is usually a female.


This involves having sexual arousal either solely or with a non-living object, rather than onto another human being. Frequently, fetish objects are garments such as shoes, underwear, etc. Persons who rely on pornography for sexual arousal probably qualify as fetishists.


This involves a compulsion to rub oneself against strangers in a sexual manner. Like exhibitionism and other impulse control disorders, frotteurism tends to involve a cycle of tension build-up that is relieved by acting out in exciting ways.


This occurs when a sexually mature adult engaging in sexual behaviour with pre-pubescent children. Paedophiles may be exclusively child focused, or they may also be interested in adult sexuality. Paedophiles commonly rationalize their deviant behaviour (which may include fondling only or actual child-rape) as being educational and/or for the child’s benefit. They may also believe that their child victim has sexually seduced them.


This involves persons who engage in sexual encounters where the focus is on causing (sadism) or receiving (masochism) physical and emotional pain, embarrassment and humiliation.


This occurs when an otherwise ‘normal’ heterosexual male has fantasies about and/or acts out dressing up in woman’s clothing. Such cross dressing is commonly experienced as sexually stimulating.


This behaviour involves compulsive fantasizing about and/or acting out engaging in spying on someone (who does not know they are being observed) in the act of disrobing. This sort of behaviour is very common amongst the general population; it is not diagnosable as a disorder unless it becomes a compulsive part of a person’s sexual routine.


  • Women with sexual arousal disorder and male with erectile disorder have persistent or recurrent inability to attain, or to maintain arousal/erection until completion of the sexual activity. The disturbance causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
  • Men with persistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it. The disturbance causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty. The premature ejaculation is not due exclusively to the direct effects of a substance (e.g., withdrawal from opioids).
  • Men and Women with orgasmic disorder have persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase. Women exhibit wide variability in the type or intensity of stimulation that triggers orgasm. The disturbance causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
  • Men or women with Dyspareunia have recurrent or persistent episodes of genital pain associated with sexual intercourse. The disturbance causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.

The above disorders or disturbance are not better accounted for by another Axis I disorder (except another Sexual Dysfunction), and is not due exclusively to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.