Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Inability to feel aroused
- Inability to reach orgasm
- Pain with intercourse
- Lack of interest in sex
- Inability to ejaculate or control timing of ejaculation
- Unable to get or keep an erection
- Burning pain in, on, or around the genitals with contact
- Inability to relax vaginal muscles to allow for intercourse
- Lack of lubrication before or during sex
At least 40 percent of women and over 50 percent of men experience some form of sexual dysfunction during their lifetime. This may occur early on in one’s life or later as a person begins and continues to age. The issue may develop gradually or appear to come on suddenly depending on whether the dysfunction is psychological, physical, or both. The issue may also happen during all acts of the sexual experience or just during specific activities (desire, arousal, orgasm, or resolution). Sexual dysfunction can not only effect how one feels about his or herself, it can also significantly effect and possibly destroy relationships. In addition, these symptoms may indicate a larger mental, emotional, or physical problem.
Sexual dysfunction often causes embarrassment and people feel uneasy approaching the subject. However, the longer you go without addressing the issue, the worse your symptoms may become and progress. You should first see your physician to make sure your issue is not being cause by a physical issue. You could be experiencing the result of an injury or illness, hormonal deficiency, nerve damage, substance abuse issue, or other various disturbances to your health. The more open and honest you can be with your doctor, the better she or he can address and evaluate your concerns.
After you have been thoroughly evaluated by your physician, it may be time to see a therapist. Your therapist will work with you to understand your concerns, how and when they developed, and how they are effecting you currently. At Noyau, our therapists are expertly trained and have significant experience in working with sexual dysfunction. Your therapist will provide a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment where you can express yourself openly and freely without shame or embarrassment. We know that over half of the population experience sexual dysfunction at one time or another, and there is no reason for embarrassment.
Your therapist will work with you to develop a plan to begin to recover and heal your specific issue. He or she will likely identify the key issues, explore your current relationship (if currently involved) and how it could be positively or negatively effecting your recovery, and may explore your past, if relevant, to understand your ideas and thinking about sex. Many have developed their ideas about the sexual experience from their upbringings, religious experience, friendships, and relationships. We will help you look at these ideas, challenge those that are not working for you or are a hinderance to what you want, and reform new, more positive ideas about sex. Many times these ideas have a direct impact on our sexual desire or ability to perform, so they may need to be reevaluated and deconstructed.
Your therapist may encourage you to invite your partner to your therapy sessions at some point during your process. You both may need to work on healthier and more open communication, trust issues, or other relationship problems that may be effecting your sex life. Your partner may also be able to help you work through your sexual issue with various alterations in behavior and reactions and/or by participating in specific homework assignments selected and designed for your specific issue. This process has the ability to bring you closer to your partner than you ever experienced or believed was possible. Sex is an essential component of a healthy romantic relationship, and recovering this will help you grow in confidence and in your relationship.