UNDERSTANDING THE COMPLEXITIES

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AROUSAL AND CONFUSION:  Chances are it you’re reading this page, you’re probably wondering about your own arousal.  What happened to it?  Why am I not interested in sex that much anymore?  Why is it so difficult for me to get aroused and to have an orgasm?  Why is sex painful?

DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PARTNER:  Perhaps you’re struggling to keep up with a partner whose arousal levels don’t feel matched to yours anymore.  Perhaps your once compatible sex life no longer feels compatible?  Quite possibly, you and your partner are struggling with the physical and emotional changes that take place as we get older.

SEX THERAPY CAN HELP YOU FIND SOLUTIONS:  If the sex has become an area of conflict or stress in the marriage or relationship; if you need help finding information and perspective; or if you feel sad or depressed about the loss of libido and the changes taking place in your body and in your relationship, you can reach out to an experienced clinician who can help.

THE COMPLEXITY OF DESIRE:  Desire is a highly complex state that requires, above all, a sense of safety or security, and also requires arousal.  We can certainly understand that if something—like intercourse or penetration—feels painful, we’re going to stop engaging in that activity.  And we’re going to feel stress and anxiety when pressured by a partner to engage in the very activity that causes pain.

But desire is a lot more complex than merely substituting in another activity for vaginal intercourse.  Desire is, at first, a subtle feeling—some women describe desire as warm, or as a sense of becoming open, receptive, vulnerable.  At the same time, desire brings with it a sense of bodily awareness, of muscular awareness, of heat and even of increased genital awareness.

Desire can grow in urgency until it becomes full-fledged arousal and can be acted upon.   Arousal seeks satisfaction, either with one’s partner, or with masturbation.

HOW TO CREATE DESIRE?  This is the challenge facing most long-time partners.  Women complain that their partners are not sensitive to the subtle requirements and the need for a building up of desire.  They complain men don’t understand the need for eroticism to take root in the mind first, before any bodily desire can come into being.  Women complain that men are much too goal-oriented in their sexuality and in their sex-play, creating—almost from the start—a sense of pressure to become aroused, get wet, and to orgasm.

HOW SEX THERAPY CAN HELP:  Sex therapy can help the couple develop their erotic repertoire.  In the therapy, the couple can safely explore the fantasies and sexual needs of each partner.  With the help of the clinician, the couple can begin to co-construct an erotic experience that fulfills fantasy, keeps each partner safe, honors the sexual needs of each person, and builds in room for being human! With the help of a clinician who is both psychoanalytically trained and has the experience and background to treat sexual dysfunction, you and your partner can reclaim your sexual relationship.

If there is a specific sexual dysfunction that requires attention, this is worked into the treatment.  Often the individual will be asked to come in for some individual therapy to complement the couple’s sex therapy.  Frequently, the couple will be asked to undertake some simple, step-by-step assignments at home, putting into practice some of the suggestions that were developed and discussed in the counseling session.
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