Article: Obscure Sexual Dysfunctions People Should Know About

I was browsing my phone the other day when I encountered one of the most click-baitey headlines in the history of click bait.

Apparently, a plastic surgery addict (who I won’t be naming, because I don’t want the SEO coverage to help fuel their addiction) discovered that after his most recent surgery he was left with a prolonged, agonising erection.

Probing a little deeper (because, yes, I am a click bait whore), the reports disclosed that the surgery had somehow causes, Priapism – a persistent and painful orgasm that can last for several hours or more.

A Firm Concern

Priapism may sound like a plot-point in a comedy flick but it’s actually considered to be a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. If not treated within a 24 hour period, priapism can lead to permanent damage to the penis, resulting in further erectile problems (such as erectile dysfunction).

The condition is caused when the blood that fills the tissue of the penis during the natural erection problem is unable to flow out of it for some reason (which is a factor in why people should be careful when using metal, stone, or wooden cock rings, as an aside).

It can be caused by issues such as anaemia, a high white blood cell count, or damage to the genitals, among other things and there is an increased risk for men with sickle cell anaemia or those taking medication for erectile dysfunction.

Treatment is, shall we say…unpleasant, and usually involved a needle and a draining effort.

In the process of looking in to priapism it occurred to me that uncommon sexual dysfunctions are rarely discussed unless they have some type of headline-grabbing association. This is usually at the sufferer’s expense, usually with a slant towards amusement (‘Hahahaha, this person is struggling with something deeply personal and often identity-influencing. That’s SO funny!’).

This, to me, doesn’t seem quite right. And, although I did totally take the chance to indulge in a pun for the priapism heading, I think sometimes it pays to give certain topics the professional slant they deserve.

As such, I thought I’d provide a little article where I compile some of the less well-known sexual dysfunctions that exist and provide a little bit of information for each. Some of these will be more ‘common’ than others (in that they’re often suffered but rarely spoken of), but all of them are valid and worth learning about.

If you read this and feel like the symptoms or struggles of them relate to you in some way then I urge you to go and see a medical professional but, as a bit of a starting point, I’ll also be including some links to more in depth examinations of each.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder / Sexual Aversion Disorder

I’ve put these two together because they share many symptoms and are often considered (and researched) together.

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is currently sex-specific condition in which a woman experiences a chronic lack of interest in sex.

Before slapping the ‘asexual’ label on this, it’s important to note that HSDD becomes a disorder not just because the woman is completely uninterested in sex but because this lack of interest causes her personal distress.

It’s essentially a chronic loss of libido and the impact of that loss on the individual.

This condition sounds obscure, but many women will encounter a lack of desire in their lifetime that causes them frustration with its duration. 1 in 10 women, to be precise, are considered to suffer from HSDD at some point in their lives (or up to 40% by some accounts).

Sexual Aversion Disorder (SAD), on the other hand, takes things a step further. It is characterised by disinterest in sex due to a psychological disgust, aversion, revulsion, or general stress and distress associated with sex. In such instances, not only does the individual’s attitude towards sex cause them distress but so, too, does their inability to ‘work past it’ in some way.

It’s easy to see how either of these conditions could impact a relationship (with either others or one’s own body). Because of the diverse reasons that HSDD and SAD might occur, a professional intervention is needed to work towards meaningful recovery.

Further Info

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder

This one’s been in a few tabloids over the years.

Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) is another condition that largely impacts females (with only a few exceptions), in which a woman experiences spontaneous genital arousal which is unrelenting, unwanted, and distressing.

This arousal is not satisfied by orgasms and is not linked to sexual desire, existing outside of the person’s normal arousal responses. Orgasms don’t satisfy the arousal experienced and can cause physical pain, distress, and other psychological difficulties.

At its worst, the arousal felt from PGAD can be so intense that it stops the person from being able to carry out simple everyday tasks, making it a very disruptive condition.

Unfortunately, the cause of PGAD is not yet clear, though stress has been thought to be a trigger for those who are already susceptible. Tarlov cysts are a common trigger, though, with 66.7% of women presenting PGAD symptoms suffering from the cysts.

At the moment, treatment for PGAD is more a case of management, and being able to psychologically withstand, and physically alleviate, the symptoms of the condition.  PGAD is not currently curable.

Further Info

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is classified as a chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva which cannot be attributed to any other medical condition.

As many as 16% of women in the US suffer from vulvodynia or, at least, this is how many have come forward with concerns, but it is thought that many more individuals suffer in silence due to shame, lack or self-care, or a sense that the pain is somehow  typical (‘ladies problems’).

In most instances, the vulva of a sufferer with vulvodynia will look entirely healthy, yet the sufferer will experience many painful and distressing symptoms. These can include a burning, stinging or sore sensation, a dulled ache when sitting, or even a pain that spreads further to the posterior and inner thighs.

This chronic pain can be touch or mood triggered by some and, as you’d imagine, it can often make sex and sexual desire very difficult.

It’s not uncommon for sufferers of vulvodynia to also experience vaginismus as a result of the pain they’re experiencing, but that’s a condition I’ve covered in depth here.

Painkillers don’t usually alleviate the symptoms of vulvodynia, but some severe cases may involve treatment on antidepressants or anti-epilepsy medications.

In most cases vulvodynia does eventually fade on its own, and sufferers are encouraged to practice precautionary self-care techniques to help prevent and alleviate symptoms.

Due to the chronic condition of vulvodynia, many sufferers find that having a support network in place is often one of the most valuable resources available to them…well, that and a cold compress.

Further Info

And That’s All For Now!

Sexual dysfunction is never pleasant, but when you’re suffering from something that is so obscure that you haven’t even heard of it beyond a headline shared on social media the shame or pressure of your situation may be considered even more distressing.

Rest assured that just because something seems amusing to others, doesn’t mean that you should feel invalidated, nor that your issue is best avoided for fear of ridicule.

We overcome social shaming by raising awareness and I hope that this article has done its part in giving visibility to those who might be struggling.