Sexual Medicine Terminology

Evolution of Sexual Medicine Terminology

There has been much conversation about the proper nomenclature to be used in the new field of sexual medicine. In the beginning there was only impotence. That word gave way to erectile dysfunction, or ED. Advertisements used the terms erectile dysfunction and ED, making them part of our everyday language. Although erectile dysfunction comprises a large component of sexual dysfunction in men, there are other issues as well such as rapid ejacualtion, otherwise known as premature ejaculation, and delayed ejaculation. To use the term male erectile dysfunction or MED is redundant, as only the male of the species has erections.

Following the advent of Viagra, women clamoured for a medical treatment. The term female sexual dysfunction or FSD was coined to differentiate it from erectile dysfunction or ED. WIthin the category of female sexual dysfunction are subcategories, such as female sexual arousal disorder known as FSAD.

To complement the term female sexual dysfunction and include ejaculation disorders, the terminology for men changed from male erectile dysfunction or just ED to male sexual dysfunction or MSD.

It was pointed out that male or female are terms used for animals as well as people, while men and women refer only to humans, therefore the preferred term. For this reason you will find this website using terms like sexual dysfunction in men and women, or men’s and women’s sexual health. The leading journal in the field, formerly known as the International Journal of Impotence Research (IJIR) has been renamed to reflect the current terminology: International Journal of Impotence Research: The Journal of Sexual Medicine (IJIRjsm).

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