Let's revisit the DSM
for today's free practice question. Flipping randomly into the
purple book, just as an exam item writer might, we land on the
Sexual Dysfunctions chapter. Here are the disorders contained
Delayed Ejaculation (what it sounds like)
Erectile Disorder (ditto--difficulty in obtaining or maintaining
an erection during sexual activity)
Female Orgasmic Disorder (delay, infrequency, absence or reduced
intensity of orgasm)
Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (what it sounds
Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (persistent or recurrent
difficulties with vaginal penetration)
Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (More than six months of
deficient or absent sexual/erotic thoughts and desire)
Premature (Early) Ejaculation (within 1 minute of penetration
and before individual wishes it)
Substance/Medication-Induced Sexual Dysfunction (what it sounds
Here's a sample question:
A client reports difficulty maintaining an erection when
having sex with his wife ever since their honeymoon ended, a year
ago. The problem occurs during what he describes as "vanilla" sex.
As he reports details, the client seems fairly irritated, but not
especially haunted by the issue. What set of specifiers is MOST
appropriate to add to the diagnosis of erectile
A. Lifelong, situational, mild
B. Acquired, situational, mild
C. Lifelong, generalized, mild
D. Acquired, generalized, mild
What do you say?
This is one of those questions where you just need to know some
definitions--or be able to suss them out with a little common
sense. Here are the specifiers for erectile disorder:
Lifelong (present since the individual became sexually
Acquired (present after a period of relatively normal sexual
While we don't have details about the client's honeymoon or
pre-marital sex life, we have to go with the contents of the
question. Acquired is the better fit here. Hey, look, two answers
Generalized (not limited to certain types of stimulation,
situations, or partners)
Situational (only occurs with certain types of stimulation,
The client's problems occur only during "vanilla" sex. We're
quickly narrowed down to the answer. But we'll keep going. Mild,
moderate, and severe are measures of the client's distress. Those
specifiers don't describe symptoms, but the client's reaction to
the symptoms. This client is irritated--a low level of distress.
"Obsessed" or "unable to function" would be indicators of a more
moderate or severe level of distress.
Also note, the problem has to have persisted for at least six
months for a diagnosis of erectile disorder to be made.
TL;DR: Our answer is B, acquired, situational, mild.
For more reading about sexual dysfunctions in this chapter and
beyond, take a look at:
And, of course, your DSM-5 is a friend as you prep DSM-5
questions--especially the desk
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questions that can show up on the social work licensing exam (not
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