Psychosocial aspects of sexual disorders

Aust Fam Physician. 2000 Jun;29(6):527-31.


Background: The sexual urge is as old as humanity itself and necessary for the propagation of all species. However, sexuality is not only influenced by the integrity of the genital tract, but also the limbic system and spinal arousal centres. Social and cultural influences on sexual behaviour are in a continuous process of change.

Objective: This article attempts to highlight the importance of a multifaceted systemic approach to a common and distressing problem.

Discussion: The aetiology of sexual dysfunction is diverse and usually results from a complex interaction of biological, psychological and social factors. Consequently, there is little to be gained from trying to determine whether a disorder is either biological or psychological, as both will be relevant to a certain extent in every case. Even in a case with a clear biological cause (e.g. diabetic neuropathy) the treatment and long term consequences of the secondary sexual disorder will be affected by psychosocial implications. Sexual functioning can be strongly influenced by one's own sense of self and social competence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Libido / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications