Have you and your partner stopped having sex? Does lack of desire, mismatched sex drives, or sexual dysfunction get in the way of intimacy? Do you worry you will never get back on the same page sexually? s?
It is not uncommon for sexual satisfaction to ebb and flow in a relationship. It takes a lot to stay on the same page sexually. If the sexual connection you and your partner once shared has waned, you might be feeling frustrated. Perhaps one of you wants more sex than the other, which leads to ongoing tension. While one of you may feel rejected, the other feels misunderstood and uncared for. This dynamic can cause you to turn away from each other, impacting both emotional and sexual intimacy. Or maybe you function more like friends or roommates than sexual partners.
Perhaps you’re dealing with other issues that impede sexual pleasure, such as an inability to achieve an erection or have an orgasm, medical issues, or increased stress. Or maybe you or your partner could be concerned that your sexual behavior is out of control and get into arguments about frequent masturbation or visiting massage parlors.
Although you may understand what has led to the problems in your sexual life, other times it’s not as clear or the reasons can be a combination of factors. Regardless, not being sexually satisfied or in synch can sometimes leave you feeling inadequate and unfulfilled.
A lack of sex could be a symptom of a problem in the relationship or there could be a number of other factors contributing to it. It is important to understand all of the factors that got you to this point in order to have a more satisfying sex life and make changes. To do this, counseling for couples can be beneficial. Working with a sex therapist, you can learn how to communicate about sex differently with each other and explore the root of the issues impacting your sex life.
Within every kind of sexual relationship, it’s common to hit bumps in the road. According to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “sexual arousal disorders, including erectile dysfunction in men and female sexual arousal disorder in women, are found in 10-20 percent of the population.” And a landmark 1999 study conducted by sociologist Edward O. Laumann revealed that “30 percent of women have low or no libido.” It’s estimated that 10 percent of men also suffer from low or no libido.
The underlying factors contributing to a drop off in sexual activity vary but can include physical injury, unaddressed sexual trauma, relationship issues, contextual issues, medical conditions, as well as the side effects of taking prescribed medication. And even when there isn’t a clear understanding of why sex has changed, become infrequent—or stopped altogether—we sometimes lose sexual interest over time. After all, it takes a conscious effort to maintain a healthy passionate sex life with our partner(s). Often, the realities of life get in the way of making sex a priority.
When we encounter challenges with sex, many of us aren’t comfortable talking about it. And in the absence of education, unrealistic sexual expectations can complicate an existing problem. Based on what we’ve seen in the media like in movies, sex is always spontaneous and intense—every encounter entails ripping each other’s clothes off in the hallway before making it to bed. And within seconds, female orgasm is reached solely with penetrative sex—no need for additional stimulation.
This movie fantasy is often how we believe sex should be and, therefore, what we compare our own experiences against. Sadly, many of us view ourselves as failures because we can’t achieve these impossible expectations. There are numerous misconceptions about sex perpetuated in our culture we may be unaware of.
Fortunately, counseling provides you with the education you need to understand the intricacies of sexuality and intimacy. Getting better educated about sex helps dispel any misconceptions you may have that contribute to the issues you’re having, can allow connection and passion to be restored.
A lack of sex is a symptom of other biological, psychological, and social factors present in the relationship. To better understand what’s going on, we need to determine what precipitated the drop off in sex initially and what factors are keeping it that way. Because every situation is different, we evaluate every relationship individually to ensure therapy is tailored to address your unique needs. Rather than focusing on your sex life exclusively, your therapist will view you as whole people, addressing your relationship first and foremost.
Therapy will be a safe place for you to talk openly about whatever challenges you may be experiencing with sex. While talking about sex can sometimes be difficult for some, the therapist can help facilitate conversations.
Throughout sessions, our goal will be to customize a treatment plan that will increase sexual desire for yourself and your partner. Depending on your circumstances, we might explore the mind-body connection and discuss the psychological issues that lie beneath the surface of sexual dysfunction. Or if mismatched desire is an ongoing challenge, we will examine your thoughts and expectations surrounding sex to determine where your attitudes diverge as well as identify areas of mutual agreement. Once we establish where common ground exists, we can build upon it.
By incorporating education throughout counseling, sex will be demystified and explained in helpful terms. Additionally, we will broaden its definition, acknowledging that intimacy can be achieved in many different ways other than penetrative sex. With this in mind, your therapist may assign homework to help you explore sensuality and physical connection.
When you allow yourself to remember the passion you had at the beginning of your relationship, you may realize that your sex life is not lost forever. With a commitment to sex therapy, it’s possible to restore intimacy in your relationship. Regardless of the obstacles you face, you can regain sexual function, passion, and desire.
The underlying causes of erectile dysfunction and female orgasmic disorder are numerous; counseling can help you pinpoint what is contributing to your issues and formulate a suitable treatment plan. Depending upon what factors may be causing your sexual dysfunction, we can use counseling as an opportunity to work towards maintaining an erection or achieving an orgasm. And if that isn’t possible, we can broaden your definition of sex to include other sensual acts that may be pleasurable for both you and your partner.
Many couples have started counseling with the mindset that their sexual relationship was effectively over and that sharing intimacy was a thing of the past. However, the therapists at Whole Health have witnessed firsthand how being willing to talk about sex honestly and openly can be transformative. With a commitment to working on things and keeping an open mind, revitalizing sexual intimacy is possible.
We understand that talking about sexuality can be awkward at first, so we aim to make you feel safe and comfortable throughout initial counseling sessions. Regardless of the challenges you may face—sex addiction, dysfunction, or lack of desire—we will meet you where you are in therapy, gradually helping you get to a place where talking about sex feels natural. After you get over any initial embarrassment, you and your partner will feel empowered to find new ways to communicate your sexual needs.
You can get back to the sexual relationship you once shared. If you would like to find out more about sex therapy with Whole Health Psychological Center, please visit our contact page or call (561) 721-6400 to schedule a phone consultation.