Sexual dysfunctions are characterized by interruptions in characteristic processes of the sexual response cycle or by pain accompanying sexual intercourse (APA, 2000). The sexual response cycle consists of four phases – desire, excitement, orgasm, and resolution (APA, 2000). When one or more of these are recurrently compromised, dysfunction ensues (APA, 2000; McCabe, 2009).
Female orgasmic disorder is commonly recognized by a persistent or recurrent delay or the complete absence of (Anorgasmia) orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase (APA, 2000; McCabe, 2009). A woman’s orgasmic potential is directly related to her distinct situation; her age, sexual experiences, frequency and duration of sexual experiences, and sexual stimulation received (APA, 2000; McCabe, 2009). The female orgasmic disorder must cause distress and difficulty for the woman in order to be classified as such and is based upon the norm for each unique woman, rendering it to be very subjective (APA, 2000; McCabe, 2009). This disorder is usually lifelong and not acquired unless poor communication, relationship conflict, medical issues, or trauma such as rape has occurred (APA, 2000; McCabe, 2009).
Dyspareunia is characterized by pain associated with intercourse that can range from discomfort to excruciating (APA, 2000; Meana, 2009). Vaginismus is characterized by recurring involuntary perineal muscle spasms around and in the vagina during vaginal penetration (APA, 2000; Meana, 2009). Dyspareunia can be a result of insufficient lubrication within the vagina (APA, 2000; Meana, 2009). Both dyspareunia and vaginismus can be the result of medications, a medical condition, or a psychological condition such as fear, anxiety, depression, or interpersonal conflict (APA, 2000; Meana, 2009).
A hypothetical case study of dyspareunia is as follows: Jill is a middle-aged woman who presents with pain during intercourse. Jane is very distressed by this as she has just begun a new relationship with Jack. Jill has started avoiding sexual contact will Jack for fear that it will lead to intercourse and becomes very anxious anytime that Jack shows her any affection (APA, 2000; Meana, 2009). She is very attracted to Jack but fears experiencing painful intercourse. This has put a strain on their new relationship. Treatment for Jill would first be to rule out any medical conditions or medication side effects. One this is done, one on one