Sex Differences in the Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction

  • Veronica Harsh
  • Anita H. Clayton
Sex and Gender Issues in Behavioral Health (CN Epperson, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sex and Gender Issues in Behavioral Health


Purpose of Review

Sex differences in the treatment of sexual dysfunction are partly due to neurobiological differences, as well as, the central and peripheral physiological effects of hormones and neurotransmitter actions on reproductive systems in men and women. Differences in epidemiology of complaints and diagnostic considerations, variance in medical comorbidities, and interference from related medications also contribute to the need for different strategies for treatments of sexual dysfunction according to gender.

Recent Findings

Flibanserin and ospemifene are new medication treatment options that may help some women with symptoms of sexual dysfunction.


Various therapies are available to address sexual dysfunction and sex differences are relevant to consider, in terms of diagnosis, effectiveness of treatments, and side effect profiles that may help determine indication, safety, and outcomes for specific treatments.


Sexual dysfunction Sex differences Treatment options Pharmacotherapy Neurobiology 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Veronica Harsh declares no conflict of interest. Anita H. Clayton reports grants from Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Genomind, Inc., Trimel Biopharma, grants and personal fees from Forest (now Actavis), Palatin Technologies, Pfizer, Inc., and Takeda, and personal fees from Arbor Scientia, Lundbeck, Naurex, Ostuka, Roche, S1 Biopharmaceuticals, Sprout, a division of Valeant. Dr. Clayton also owns shares in S1 Biopharmaceuticals and Euthmyics. Dr. Clayton has a patent Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionniare with royalties paid, a patent Guilford Publications with royalties paid, and a patent Ballantine Books/Random House with royalties paid and International Consultation for Sexual Medicine—Vice Chair: travel/accommodations/meeting expenses World Health Organization ICD-11 Advisory Meeting on Sexual Dysfunctions and Sexual Pain Disorders—Board Member/Presenter: travel/accommodations/meeting expenses.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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