Introduction to Sexual Medicine

  • Katerina A. Furman
  • Bret Becker
  • Waguih William IsHak


Sexual medicine is a field of medicine that focuses on sexual function and dysfunction. Sexual health is a fundamental aspect of physical and emotional well-being. Studies showed that approximately 43% of women and 31% of men suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction. The most commonly experienced male sexual disorder is premature ejaculation; in females it is female sexual interest/arousal disorder. Other common dysfunctions are erectile disorder and female orgasmic disorder. In 2013, the DSM-5 was released, recategorizing, condensing, and redefining sexual dysfunctions. Propensity for sexual dysfunction can be heightened by biological, psychological, social, and environmental risk factors including diabetes mellitus, excessive alcohol use, hormone imbalances, trauma such as sexual assault, depression, tobacco use, spinal cord injury, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic illnesses. Treatment needs to integrate biological and psychosocial interventions including hormonal treatments (such as testosterone, estrogen), pharmaceutical treatments (such as PDE-5 inhibitors), surgical (such as penile implants), devices (such as vacuum devices), psychotherapy, and sex therapy. Sexual medicine is evolving, expanding, and advancing with recent strides in pharmacology, psychology, and relationship counseling, while focusing on the couple as the central hub for treatment is essential to a healthy sex life. Given the multifactorial aspects of sexual relationships, the implementation of the biopsychosocial model is vital to encompass the psychological, emotional, physiological, and social components of sexual function.


Sexual medicine Sexual dysfunction DSM-5 Biopsychosocial treatment Couples 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katerina A. Furman
    • 1
  • Bret Becker
    • 2
  • Waguih William IsHak
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California BerkeleyLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryWright State University Boonshoft School of MedicineDaytonUSA
  3. 3.Cedars-Sinai Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesCedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA

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