Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World

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Different sexual customs around the world have the potential to influence the incidence of sexual dysfunction. By definition, sexual dysfunction is the inability of an individual to fully participate in sexual intercourse due to disorders that interfere with the sexual reaction cycle (Herdt, 1997). Such disorders can either be physically or psychologically oriented though some sexual customs have been shown to interfere with the physical or psychological states of an individual and consequently leading to sexual dysfunction. As part of the culture of a given society, sexual customs are essentially the acceptable or customary sexual practices.

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Physical sexual dysfunction occurs when there is actual bodily alteration to the sexual organs which can either increase or decrease the incidence of sexual dysfunction. Some African cultures have traditionally practiced female genital mutilation (FGM) which involves the removal of part of the clitoris. Such mutilation reduces the sensitivity of the female sexual organs and may eventually cause hypoactive sexual disorder which leads to sexual dysfunction (Frayser & Whitby, 1995). Other cultures in Asia and Africa have been known to sew together the outer skin of the female sexual organ while she is still young in order to retain her virginity (Austria, 1999). By so doing, growth of the female organs is inhibited which leads to painful spasms during intercourse that contribute to sexual dysfunction (Herdt, 1997). In addition, some African cultures especially in Ethiopia castrate men who are working within the vicinity of the Queen in order to prevent them from having intercourse which limits their sexual ability. Western medicine has also introduced medication and gels in Europe and America which increase the sensitivity of the female organs ultimately reducing physical dysfunction (Frayser & Whitby, 1995).

Psychological sexual dysfunction on the other hand occurs when the mental state of an individual such as their confidence or emotional state is altered in a way that it affects their sexual ability. In India for instance, the application of the Kamasutra has led to the reduction of sexual dysfunction cases. In addition, most African and European cultures encourage circumcision of the males which consequently boosts their confidence leading to reduced dysfunction (Frayser & Whitby, 1995). Furthermore, in more conservative countries such as most African and Asian nations where homosexuality is considered immoral, homosexuals may develop a sexual dysfunction due to the decrease in confidence and guilt.

The case is the same with masturbation which may be discouraged in conservative nations and hence an individual is overwhelmed with a sense of guilt which reduces his or her confidence leading to sexual dysfunction (Austria, 1999). Pornography and sex guides have been found to provide instruction to individuals suffering from low self esteem and as a consequence, their confidence is improved leading to a reduction in the instances of psychological dysfunction (Herdt, 1997).


The best way to greatly reduce the number of dysfunction cases in an affected society is to truncate the sexual customs that are detrimental to the individual. Customs such as FGM and sewing of the vaginal skin should be completely abolished and made illegal by the government. Individuals should also avoid sexual customs that are likely to lower their self esteem or inflict doubt, guilt or fear (Frayser & Whitby, 1995). Individuals facing homosexual desires in a conservative nation should talk to a psychiatrist so as to get a better understanding of their body and also gain control of their desires.


Austria, T. (1999). Sexual customs and attitudes of Filipinos. New York: Library of the Philippine Consulate.

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Frayser, S. & Whitby, T. (1995). Studies in human sexuality: A selected guide. Colorado: NY: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Herdt, G., (1997). Sexual cultures and migration in the era of AIDS: anthropological and demographic perspectives. London: Oxford University Press.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, May 5). Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, May 5). Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World.

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"Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World." PsychologyWriting, 5 May 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World'. 5 May.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World." May 5, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World." May 5, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Human Sexuality and Dysfunction Around the World." May 5, 2022.