The representation of sexual dysfunction in popular media

The representation of sexual dysfunction in popular media

Sexual dysfunction is an umbrella term that refers to a range of psychological and physical issues that can hinder someone from engaging in a desired sexual activity. These issues can cause distress or affect a person’s self-esteem. Popular media have often been used to tell the stories of those struggling with sexual dysfunction and the challenges they face.


Movies have been one of the most popular narrative mediums to tell stories of sexual dysfunction. Some of the most powerful movies include:

  • The Graduate (1967): This classic movie details the story of Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who struggles with impotence as a result of struggling with his feelings for an older woman.
  • 9 ½ Weeks (1986): This movie tells the story of John Gray, who develops an unhealthy obsession with a woman he is dating, leading to psychological issues that manifest as erectile dysfunction.
  • Last Tango in Paris (1972): This movie challenges the stigma of male impotence through a story about a middle-aged man who is unable to perform sexually.


Television is also a powerful medium for exploring stories related to sexual dysfunction. Here are some popular examples:

  • Sex and the City (1998-2004): This show explored a variety of sexual issues, including a plotline surrounding the character Samantha dealing with male impotence.
  • BoJack Horseman (2014-2020): This show featured an episode exploring the topic of premature ejaculation.
  • Orange Is the New Black (2013-2019): This show discussed the problem of anorgasmia, or difficulty achieving orgasm, through its plot focused on the character Piper.


Popular media portrayals of sexual dysfunction can help to spread awareness and reduce the stigma associated with these issues. Movies and television are great vehicles for challenging traditional conceptions of sexuality and for exploring the diversity of human experience.

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