Issues in Sex Therapy
People often have questions about sex therapy and their questions bring to light myths about sexuality and therapy to deal with sexual problems. I’m going to discuss some of the myths that have been brought into my office recently.
Please fix her…
This issue shows up in my office regularly. It’s very common that a husband is disappointed in how frequently he and his wife are having sex. (And vice versa a wife may be wanting much more frequent sex with her husband. He is hoping the therapist (me) can greatly increase her sexual desire for him. The myth is that she is the one that needs to be “fixed” with very little to no input or participation from him. Actually, when there are desire problems both partners are involved. It’s a couple issue. There is no uninvolved partner when dealing with sexual issues.
The second myth
The second myth is related to the first one. Once sex is going great all our relationship problems will be solved. (Meaning the way she’d like it). Sometimes a couple will specifically request to focus on just one issue such as orgasmic capacity or premature ejaculation. And let’s forget about the fact that they just filed bankruptcy and their son is failing several high school classes! There are some important couple and family issues to be addressed before this couple can deal with their sexual problems.
The fact is sexual problems come about within the context of a relationship and can’t be dealt with without considering the health of the relationship.
This leads us to the third myth which shows up like this, “I can just take Viagra, it’s quicker and easier ” Our instant society fosters quick and easy solutions even for an issue like erectile dysfunction. This feeds into the idea that partners don’t have to slog through the scary or embarrassing work of actually talking about sex and what turns them on, they can just take a blue pill instead. If the male had talked with his partner he might have found she was more comfortable not having intercourse. It had been years since they’d been together.
Then there are those who might be hoping against hope. My problems are so horrendous they cannot be solved . These people may actually be wanting to totally push sexuality out of their lives so they describe themselves as beyond help, a basket case. Sexuality is a non-existent, unimportant, part of their lives. When people come into my office with these sentiments they may be surprised to find they are not alone. There are many other people who have the same problem. And they may be even more surprised to find they can successfully deal with their sexual issues.
Instead of a quick fix it usually works better in sex therapy to talk about what each partner desires in a sexual relationship. Sex therapy provides the opportunity for couples to bring out into the open their concerns about their sexual relationship. If the problem is one of erectile dysfunction, for example, they would each describe the impact on them as individuals. Once they can begin to connect they will be able to take physical steps to solve the problem.
If you recognize yourself in any of these myths, come on in and talk about it!