Psychosexual disorders and dermatologists

Indian Dermatol Online J. May-Jun 2016;7(3):149-58. doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.182349.


Sexual problems that are psychological in origin, rather than physiological, are called psychosexual disorders. Multiple factors, such as general health of the patient, chronic illnesses, psychiatric/psychological disorders, and socio-cultural factors, alone or in combination can be attributed to the development of psychosexual dysfunctions. The symptoms of these disorders vary for each individual and differ with gender. These disorders may be categorized as sexual dysfunction, paraphilias, and gender identity disorders. Dermatologists are sometimes consulted for sexual dysfunctions in their routine practice by the patients visiting sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinics because a majority of the patients believe that these problems are caused by dysfunctions in the sex organs, and because people are hesitant to go to sexuality clinics and psychiatrists for such problems. Sometimes these patients are referred from other specialties such as urology or gynecology; most often, we attempt to search for STIs or other dermatoses on the genitalia and refer them back. We often underestimate the prevalence of sexual concerns of the patients or feel uncomfortable discussing matters of sexuality with them. Dermatologists should understand basic sexual medicine and ask patients for sexual problems. They should be trained to manage such patients accordingly. In this review, we will be focusing on sexual dysfunctions, their etiopathogenesis, and management from a dermatologist's perspective.

Keywords: Erectile dysfunction; hypoactive sexual desire disorder; premature ejaculation; psychosexual disorders; sexual dysfunction; vaginismus; vulvodynia.

Publication types

  • Review