Popular imagination paints an abstract picture concerning the sexual appetites of the opposite sex: Whereas men have an insatiable thirst for erotic play, females are supposedly, at the least, better at controlling such urges. While such generalizations are not entirely wrong, it can be argued that what may partially contribute to the perpetuation of such stereotypes is that they have become adopted as a truism. In other words, because we individually see it to be true, it becomes a role we adopt through social conventions. Sometimes though, there are anomalies in the routine. Psychosexual disorders are the result when these conventions are not in sync with the mind of the “actor.” Naturally, it becomes immediate to react negatively towards the sufferers of psychosexual disorders. Yet, psychosexual disorders are quite common and need to be accepted to be more than purely an anomaly, but a common reality.
At the most basic level, psychosexual disorders are disturbances in sexual function due to psychological problems. Anxiety and conflict over sex may be deep-rooted, and these deep-seated anxieties result in natural sexual desires and feelings being unconsciously suppressed and avoided. Sigmund Freud was the first to introduce this term, and he went so far to equate the psychosexual development with the development of our personality through adulthood. According to Freud, depending how well we resolved the sexual tensions that existed in all of our childhood psychosexual stages (he even went so far as to list these stages: oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, and genital stage), that would be determine our mental health as a sexual creature and human being.
Contemporary psychology has taken it a step farther and subcategorized psychosexual disorders into three parts: sexual dysfunctions, sexual perversions, and gender identity disorders. Sexual dysfunctions are characterized as a disturbance in sexual desires or arousal. The difficulty in assigning psychological merit to this particular category is that it may be actually be a legitimate medical condition. In men, for example, impotence, lack of sexual desire, or premature ejaculation may reveal more about the overall physical health, such as stress and fitness, than it does about deep-rooted insecurities.
The next classification of psychosexual disorders are sexual perversions, which involve projecting strong sexual desires towards an unusual situations or objects. Important to note is that “usual” is defined as being an attraction to the opposite-sexed. This is not because of any prejudice towards those who do not share this characteristic, but because it is the most common preference of any species in history. Sexual perversions include sexual desire for observing others, animals, children, and many other possibilities that any simple ‘Google’ search will reveal a niche for.
The third classication of psychosexual disorder are gender identity disorders. These are characterized by individuals who want to be members of the opposite sex. Freud emphasized that such sexual disorders began at a very early age, and, to him, revealed an unsuccessful completion of psychosexual development. His concept, for example, of ‘penis envy’ – which asserts that females spite their mothers for depriving them of the male appendage – suddenly are provided real meaning in gender identity conflicts. Because the individual is more comfortable in the skin of the opposite sex, this leads to profound inadequacies and anxieties concerning sex with the opposite gender.
[ad#downcont]Depression, inadequate sexual stimulation, and overall anxieties towards healthy sexual behavior are all symptoms of psychosexual disorders. Popular medicine has created solutions through the form of pills (such as hormonal medication or anti-depressants). Yet, psychosexual disorders are the result of something more long-term and deeper than that. In order to rectify these disorders requires a more holistic and greater appreciation of the power and independence of mind over body.