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Sexual Dysfunction And Male Infertility: Causes, Differences, And Treatments

UPGUYS > Blog > Sex > Sexual Dysfunction and Male Infertility: Causes, Differences, and Treatments
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on March 10, 2022

Did you know that roughly 50% of men struggle with some form of sexual dysfunction? That includes infertility, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and a whole slew of other issues. 

As you can see from these numbers, sexual dysfunction and male infertility are far from uncommon, despite what many people think. In fact, sexual dysfunction and infertility are issues that plague tons of men around the world.

If you want to learn more about erectile dysfunction and male infertility, this guide is for you. Let's take a look at everything you need to know about these aspects of men's reproductive health. 

Table of Contents

Before you dive into this article, let's get an idea of what you can expect from reading it. Here's a table of contents to help you navigate to the right section.

  1. What Is Sexual Dysfunction?
  2. What Causes Sexual Dysfunction?
  3. What Is Male Infertility?
  4. What Causes Male Infertility?
  5. The Difference Between Sexual Dysfunction and Male Infertility
  6. How to Treat Sexual Dysfunction
  7. How to Treat Infertility
  8. Key Takeaways

What Is Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a type of issue that can arise during any part of the sexual response cycle. When you have sexual dysfunction, you're unable to experience satisfaction from participating in sexual activity. 

In a normal sexual response cycle, people experience excitement, plateau, orgasm, and results as part of the process. Arousal and desire make up the excitement portion of the process. 

When people do not experience these parts of the cycle, they may be experiencing sexual dysfunction. They are unable to experience any one piece of the process or have difficulty reaching those points. 

Research suggests that sexual dysfunction is a common issue that affects many people. However, it tends to be taboo, causing many people not to talk about it and to avoid expressing their concerns with their healthcare provider. 

What Causes Sexual Dysfunction?

Now that you know what sexual dysfunction is let's talk about what causes it. After all, it's essential to understand the causes of this issue in order to properly treat it. 

Numerous things can cause sexual dysfunction, and those can either be physical or psychological. Some common physical causes or medical conditions that affect sexual function include: 

  1. Diabetes
  2. Heart and vascular disease
  3. Neurological disorders
  4. Hormonal imbalances
  5. Chronic diseases
  6. Alcoholism
  7. Drug abuse
  8. Certain medications

Aside from these physical causes of sexual dysfunction, there are a few psychological causes to be aware of. Psychological causes of sexual dysfunction include: 

  1. Relationship or marital problems
  2. Concerns about sexual performance
  3. Stress
  4. Anxiety
  5. Depression
  6. Feelings of guilt
  7. Concerns about body image
  8. Past sexual trauma

In some cases, a combination of both physical and psychological factors affects an individual's sexual cycle and leads to sexual dysfunction.

What Is Male Infertility?

Male infertility simply refers to the inability of a man to start a pregnancy with his partner. There are many different causes of male infertility, and they can affect men of all ages. 

What Causes Male Infertility?

There are tons of different reasons why a man might be considered infertile. Some of these causes are medical, some are environmental, and some are thanks to lifestyle choices. 

In terms of medical conditions, a few common medical issues that cause male infertility include: 

  1. Varicocele
  2. Infection
  3. Premature ejaculation or other ejaculation issues
  4. Anti-sperm antibodies
  5. Tumours
  6. Undescended testicles
  7. Hormone imbalances
  8. Defects of sperm-transporting tubules
  9. Blockages in the testicles, tubes, vas deferens, urethra, ejaculatory ducts, or epididymis
  10. Chromosome defects
  11. Problems with sexual intercourse
  12. Celiac disease
  13. Certain medications
  14. Prior surgeries

Apart from these causes of male infertility, environmental factors can also lead to problems with your reproductive health. A few common environmental causes of fertility issues include: 

  1. Industrial chemicals
  2. Heavy metal exposure
  3. Radiation or X-rays
  4. Overheating of the testicles 

Finally, several lifestyle factors may lead to male infertility. A few lifestyle factors that can lead to infertility include: 

  1. Drug use
  2. Alcohol use
  3. Tobacco smoking
  4. Obesity
  5. Being underweight

In many cases, a combination of all these factors is what ultimately leads to male infertility. Doctors address these various factors to help you get your sexual and reproductive health back on track. 

The Difference Between Sexual Dysfunction and Male Infertility

Now that you understand what sexual dysfunction and male infertility are, it's time to talk about their differences. After all, they're not the same. 

When it comes to sexual dysfunction vs infertility, the main difference is that sexual dysfunction refers to an issue in your sexual cycle, whereas infertility refers to the inability to get pregnant. 

Impotence vs infertility can be confusing because one often causes the other. For instance, men who struggle with sexual dysfunction are often unable to get their partner pregnant because their bodies are not properly completing the sexual cycle.

That's especially true if men have trouble getting or maintaining an erection. They're unable to ejaculate and, therefore, unable to produce healthy sperm that can lead to a baby.

How to Treat Sexual Dysfunction

The good news, regardless of whether you're suffering from sexual dysfunction or male infertility, is that you can overcome your problems. With the proper treatment, you can put these issues behind you.

When it comes to sexual dysfunction, treatment starts with taking good care of your heart and veins. Typically, when you go to a doctor's office, they will point out risk factors that you can eliminate. 

Your doctor may ask you to stop smoking, exercise more, stop using alcohol or drugs, or change different foods in your diet. They may also offer you alternative medications for prescription medications that you're taking to help boost your sexual health. 

In addition to these suggestions, doctors often suggest treating emotional issues. They could offer support for life stressors, anxiety, depression, performance anxiety struggles, or relationship conflicts. 

After trying these non-invasive recommendations and treatments, many doctors will turn to several medications and therapies to help you treat your sexual dysfunction. A few common treatments include: 

  1. Oral prescribed medications
  2. Testosterone therapy
  3. Penile injections
  4. Intraurethral medication
  5. Vacuum erection devices
  6. Penile implants
  7. Penile vascular surgery

Each treatment comes with different side effects and implications. Your doctor will help you choose a treatment that makes sense for your specific situation and that provides you with safe and effective treatment.

How to Treat Infertility

Men who struggle with infertility also have treatment options available to them. Even though the exact cause of male infertility is usually tough to find, most doctors can still recommend procedures or treatments to help men and their partners conceive.

Remember that regardless of which method you use to treat infertility, it's crucial for both partners to get tested. Sometimes infertility isn't the fault of one individual but is actually a combination of health concerns among both people in the relationship.

Oral Treatment

One treatment for male infertility that many doctors turn to is surgery. This method is great for correcting varicoceles or for removing obstructions in the penis. They're also helpful for reversing prior vasectomies that could be causing infertility. 


Sometimes, infertility is caused by infections. In these cases, doctors treat the infection by providing antibiotic treatment. These antibiotics eliminate the bacteria from the penis and help restore male health. 

Counselling and Medication

Sometimes, the issue with infertility lies in problems with sexual intercourse. In these cases, doctors may prescribe medication or offer counselling to help improve infertility. This is mostly used for men who struggle with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Sometimes doctors will recommend medications or hormone replacement therapy. This usually happens when a man's infertility is due to high or low levels of specific hormones or issues in the way that the body uses and processes hormones. 


Finally, some doctors will prescribe something called assisted reproductive technology, more commonly known as ART. ART treatment examines sperm produced in normal ejaculation, either from donors or the man himself. Then, doctors insert the sperm into a female's genital tract or use in vitro fertilization to create a baby. 

Key Takeaways

There's quite a big difference between sexual dysfunction and infertility, but both are important issues to be aware of. No matter what issue regarding sexual dysfunction and male infertility you're struggling with, it's helpful to be aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatments. 

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.