The Link Between Mental Health and Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual health is a vital aspect of overall well-being, contributing to one’s quality of life and intimate relationships.


However, sexual dysfunction can significantly impact individuals and their partners, leading to frustration, emotional distress, relationship strain, and even divorce. While various factors contribute to sexual dysfunction, there is a strong connection between mental health and sexual well-being. 


In this article, we explore the intricate link between mental health and sexual dysfunction, shedding light on the psychological factors that can affect sexual functioning.


Understanding Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction encompasses a range of problems that interfere with the ability to engage in sexual activity and experience satisfaction. 


Common types of sexual dysfunction include erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, low sexual desire, and orgasmic disorders. 


These conditions can arise from physical causes such as hormonal imbalances, chronic illnesses, or medication side effects. However, psychological factors play a significant role in sexual functioning and can contribute to or exacerbate sexual dysfunction, this is because there is a close colouration between our emotions and the chemical balances in our brains and bodies.


How Mental Health Problems Cause Sexual Dysfunction

Conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic stress can disrupt the delicate chemical balance in the brain and consequently the body. All this, inevitably, affects one’s libido or sexual desire, arousal, and overall sexual satisfaction. 


These mental health issues often lead to difficulties together with the chemical/hormonal imbalances that they create, impacting profoundly on one’s ability to feel sexually aroused or interested in sexual activities. Additionally, feelings of anxiety, guilt, or shame associated with mental health problems can interfere with sexual performance and lead to problems such as erectile dysfunction or difficulty achieving orgasm. 


The physiological and psychological aspects of sexual function are closely intertwined, and when mental health is compromised, it can create a cascade of effects that disrupt the delicate mechanisms involved in sexual response. For example, stress or anxiety can create cortisol, the stress hormone in the boy which is the opposite of the type of chemicals produced by the brain when we are in the mood for sexual activity.


Seeking professional help, addressing mental health concerns, and adopting holistic approaches to treatment can help individuals regain their sexual well-being alongside their mental well-being.


Diagnosing Sexual Dysfunction

It is a good idea to seek medical help to investigate if there are any biological issues, alongside mental health concerns.  

Your primary care provider may do some of the tests listed below: 


For men, tests can be conducted to evaluate erectile function, including:

  • The use of a snap gauge
  • Vascular assessments


In the case of women, additional tests may be performed, such as:

  • Vaginal examinations
  • Tests involving bodily fluids, such as cultures or vaginal samples.


For psychological assessments, it is best to be seen by a mental health provider such as a psychosexual therapist.


Treatments of Sexual Dysfunctions

There are both physical and psychological treatments for addressing sexual dysfunctions. For men, this can mean the usage of PDE-5 inhibitors, such as Viagra. For women, it can be some type of hormonal treatment such as HRT. 


Psychological treatment simply means the ‘talking cure’ where a professional can assess what your unique situation, and what solutions she can provide. She will be able to advise on a variety of methods, these may include personal home-based exercises, for the individual or for partners together, she may advise of books to read, etc. She will also be able to do an in-depth analysis of what may be the root cause of the problem.

Lena Fenton Counselling

Lena Fenton Counselling provides an online service that specifically addresses concerns related to sexual dysfunction. This comprehensive service encompasses issues such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, vaginismus, lack of sexual desire, and dyspareunia.


To find out more regarding this service, fill out the contact form here. Alternatively, call us on 07721 633 521 or email