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Men’s Health Matters: How Common Are Sexual Problems in Men?

October 14, 2022

By Valeria Martinez-Kaigi, PhD

Clinical Health Psychologist

Tallwood Men’s Health Center

Nearly half of U.S. men are experiencing symptoms of sexual dysfunction, but most of them aren’t talking about it with a healthcare provider.

As a health psychologist for Hartford HealthCare’s Tallwood Men’s Health Center, I work closely on a multidisciplinary medical team to provide psychological, cognitive and behavioral treatments that aim to improve people’s health, well-being and quality of life. I have expertise in biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors of medical conditions and illness prevention.

And I’ve seen just how important it is to have uncomfortable conversations out in the open with your healthcare providers.

So in this new column, Men’s Health Matters, I’m going to address the men’s health topics that impact my patients most.

To get started, we’re going to talk about sexual health.

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If you are experiencing difficulties with sexual function, well, you are not alone.

Sexual health conditions are much more common than you think.

In the United States,

  • 45% of couples experience relationship distress because of sexual dysfunction.
  • 43% of men and 31% of women are dealing with some form of sexual dysfunction.

Most people are shocked to learn that these numbers are so high. In fact, studies show that people usually think they’re the only ones experiencing sexual issues. Clearly, that’s not the case at all.

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Here are the most common sexual issues for men.

Sexual issues affect both men and women. But because this column is devoted to men’s health, I’ll focus solely on men.

Here are some of the most common types of sexual dysfunction in men:

  • Erectile dysfunction: Inability to achieve and maintain erection.
  • Premature ejaculation: Ejaculate in less than 60 seconds.
  • Genital pain: Interferes with intercourse.
  • Delayed orgasm/anorgasmia: Delay or absence in attaining orgasm.
  • Low libido: Lack of sexual interest and desire for sexual activity.

In future columns, I’ll share more information about the above conditions.

> Related: Shockwave or ‘P-Shot’ for Erectile Dysfunction? Don’t Do It

Our brains, bodies and relationships can all cause sexual dysfunction.

Our sexual response is influenced by the biology of our bodies and brains, our mental health, our social connections, and more.

Here are some of the factors that play a role in sexual function:

Sexual health is complex, and multiple biological, psychological and social factors play a role.

That’s where help from an expert comes in!

Depending on the underlying cause or causes, sexual issues can be impossible to solve on your own. But with the right care, they can be solved.

For example, if hypertension or diabetes is interfering with your sexual stimulation, you’ll need proper medical treatment. If depression, anxiety, chronic stress or trauma is part of the issue, a mental health professional can help. Peyronie’s disease, which causes painful erections and erectile dysfunction, can be treated by a urologist.

If you’re not sure where to start, try your primary care medical provider. They can connect you with the care you need.

Valeria Martinez-Kaigi, PhD, MS is a clinical health psychologist at Hartford HealthCare’s Institute of Living and Tallwood Men’s Health Center in Fairfield, CT. As a captain and military psychologist in the Connecticut Army National Guard, Dr. Martinez-Kaigi brings a unique perspective on men’s health and mental health. She also has a background in journalism, and has served as editor and editor-in-chief for multiple American Psychological Association publications. The “Men’s Health Matters” column spotlights the health issues she’s seen impact men most.

To make an appointment at the Tallwood Men’s Health Center please call 860-678-5700.