That sexual symptoms can signal serious underlying disease confirms the importance of sexual enquiry as an integral component of medical assessment. Data on sexual function are sparse in some medical specialties. However, increased scientific understanding of the central and peripheral physiology of sexual response could help to identify the pathophysiology of sexual dysfunction from disease and medical interventions, and also to ameliorate or prevent some dysfunctions. Many common general medical disorders have negative effects on desire, arousal, orgasm, ejaculation, and freedom from pain during sex. Chronic disease also interferes indirectly with sexual function, by altering relationships and self-image and causing fatigue, pain, disfigurement, and dependency. Current approaches to assessment of sexual dysfunction are based on models that combine psychological and biological aspects.