The Psychology of Sexual Health

The issues that can present themselves in relationships are numerous.  Sometimes the issues are of opinion or desire, sometimes the issues are more intimate. In many relationships sexual issues are preventing true connection and closeness; sometimes it’s one partners lack of knowledge and experience around sexuality, one partner has performance issues so often caused by anxiety, and sometimes there is an issue of significantly different level of desire between partners.

When issues of sex and intimacy are causing distance and frustration in a relationship, either individual or couples therapy can be extremely effective in resolving these issues restoring connection and creating a more positive emotional climate in the relationship.

What is the sex therapists job?

Sex therapists are an equal mix of counselor and educator. Sometimes people simply need to have the sexual response cycle explained in a way that makes both partners understand their part in creating a positive experience for both of them. In other relationships issues of past sexual history maybe living in the subconscious of one of the partners, when this happens it is often more effective to work with that individual.

When one or both partners have histories of sexual abuse, rape, or other trauma these things need to be worked through in therapy. Significant sexual trauma in someone’s history  has far-reaching negative effects on their ability to have healthy relationships both emotionally and physically. Healthy relationships rely on trust intimacy and the ability to be emotionally close and available to your partner; for someone who has suffered a violation at these levels it is almost impossible to be completely trusting of any other person. A therapist to his well-versed in working not only with relationships but with sexual intimacy can help resolve the distance this creates a relationship while also helping the individual address and recover from their trauma.

Sex therapists also address attachment wounds that existing relationships, as well as differences in upbringing and worldview I can create difficulty in relationships. Viewing and use of pornography is often a dividing issue in relationships, while one partner may have no issue with the viewing of sexual images the other partner may view this as being disrespectful or a lack of fidelity. A therapist can help this couple better understand their individual attitudes towards sexuality and their comfort levels so they can find common ground an established acceptable boundaries.

Issues of desire!

Sillhouette of man and wife at sunsetOne of the most common issues brought to a couples therapist our reports of a lack or an excess of sexual desire in their relationship. In some rare cases there are organic causes for a hyperactive or hypoactive level of sexual arousal, however most often this change in desire or the perception of desire is caused by anxiety, stress, poor work life balance or health issues. Scarcity of desire is one of the top causes of Major issues and relationships, it can affect the self-esteem of a partner and can create a fear of unfaithfulness or predicate the act of infidelity. The therapist can help couple address issues of mood, work through issues of work and life balance, and find ways to communicate need openly and to discuss sex within the relationship comfortably.

Erectile dysfunction.

A man feeling shameIt is almost impossible to watch television or read any magazine that can remotely relate to men’s interests without seeing an advertisement for a pill, a supplement, or a magic potion, that will help a man produce a stronger or on demand Erection. While there are cases where prescription may be the answer to this problem, such cases are far less common then advertising media would have you believe. More often issues of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation our symptoms of anxiety, thanks to media men have become increasingly anxious about performance this preoccupation causes distraction creating a problem that’s simply need not be.  A relationship therapist can help the couple learn provide one another with positive feedback, messages that affirm desire and attraction, and creating reductions in distraction within the environment.  Additionally they can help you explore the emotional concerns that underlie the sexual problem.  Sex therapists will often educate and prescribe a practice of non-sexual touching techniques called sensate focus, these exercises enhance the couples excitement and pleasure, can help minimize pain during intercourse, and can assist a male partner in handling sensation for longer periods of time.

Sexual pleasure or a lack there of.

While on the subject of medication it is important for couples to realize that sometimes medication has side effects that can negatively impact one partners sexual desire or ability to experience sexual pleasure. For female partners this can also occur due to emotional discomfort and similar issues of performance anxiety to those that create erectile dysfunction. Sex therapists are trained to identify issues that may have medication or medical causes and can assist individuals and couples in finding comfortable ways to raise these issues with their medical professionals. They are also well-equipped to help find alternatives should a medical condition impact your relationships intimacy, there are many other ways to have a healthy relationship and sex life that may not have occurred to you.

Learn more…

The majority of issues related to sex and intimacy can be worked with at of the individual level or in couples therapy work. Sex therapists will coordinate with medical care to rule out medication side effects and health concerns, and even in the presence of physical problems talk therapy may be part of the solution. If any of these issues living your relationship or you would like to find out more give us a call or schedule an appointment today using the link above.