Sex, though not everything in life, is a profoundly important aspect of human existence. It has evolved to serve more than reproductive functions; relational and recreational functions having taken precedence over procreational. Sex has come to play a much wider socio-psychological function.
Human sexuality is complex and multidimensional. It is subject to influence by multitude of factors often grouped as biological (e.g. genes, hormones), psychological (e.g. fear, anxiety, mood) and socio-cultural (e.g. sex roles, values- religious/moral/ethical, customs). It is the interaction and interrelationship of these factors from the time of conception, through intrauterine life, infancy, childhood and adolescence, till adulthood (even later in life) that determine the sexual development expressed as sexual attitudes and behaviour of the people. Learning, both social and cognitive, plays a significantly important role in such development.
Sexual dysfunctions in men and women, result from factors often categorised as physical or organic and psychological; more often a combination may be involved. Experience has shown that in majority of men and women in India having sexual problems, ignorance misconceptions and prevailing myths are invariably responsible in the causation of Ihese problems. Sexual problems in individual man (e.g. erectile failure) and woman (e.g. vaginismus) cause anxiety, feelings of frustration, lowered self esteem and symptoms of depression. The condition may also affect the spouse; he/she, as a reaction to the problem in the partner, may develop sexual and psychosocial problems including distressed marital relationship. This may also have influence on general couple relationship, effecting adversely the quality of family life.
Modern therapeutic endevours have made it possible now to offer effective therapy to most people who seek help for their sexual problems, thus preventing the consequences on couple relationship. However, there is also scope for prevention of sexual dysfunctions. As the process of sexual development starts from the time of conception and proceeds through infancy, childhood and adolescence till adulthood with learning, both social and cognitive playing a significantly important role after birth,the seed for many sexual problems is often sown enroute to sexual development i.e. from cradle to adulthood.