After all, shouldn't good sex just come naturally? Should we really have to work at it?
These are valid, commonly asked questions. In a perfect world our sex lives would be simple, naturally obtained and deeply satisfying. But in this less than perfect world, sexuality is a very complex aspect of being human, which is easily disrupted by a multiplicity of factors, such as physical, emotional, relational, developmental, educational, societal, religious, economic...and the list goes on. The pitfalls to healthy sexual functioning are many.
Sex is supposed to be highly pleasurable; an experience that helps to meaning and purpose. Sharing the pleasure of sex strengthens the bond between romantic partners. So when it is not pleasurable, sex therapy can be an effective way to address the obstacles to sexual and relational pleasure.
Sexual problems are unfortunately common. They interfere with sexual pleasure. People who have experienced them (several studies estimate that figure at 40% of adults) know only all too well how painful and difficult a sexual problem can be (see article entitled List of Common Sexual Problems). When sex is a problem, its impact is not limited to the individual, but frustrated partners, too, are at risk also for developing sexually-related problems. Unresolved, these difficulties imperil relationships by increasing the likelihood of increased conflicts, affairs, breakups and divorces.
Many sexual problems arise out of a simple lack of information. Despite the abundance of information in this day and age, many people still get little information or the wrong information about sex. Sometimes just providing the right information about healthy sexual functioning can solve what has grown to be a difficult problem.
Unfortunately, people suffer in silence because they are too embarrassed to get help. This reality increases the necessity for sex therapy. Without the proper information, unrealistic expectations tend to develop regarding sex. In certain social environments, where particular religious or moral constraints predominate, the availability sexual information is blocked by attitudes of shame.
It is not unusual for couples not to talk about sex. Yet partners, if they share pleasure, must act in cooperation. There is the expectation that sex should happen without planning and all will go well. Yet when partners work together on any household task, they have little problem recognizing the importance of communicating so as to coordinate their actions and successfully complete the task. Sexual partners who do not talk about sex have a greater chance of developing a sexual dysfunction than parters who do.
Andrew Aaron, LICSW 508-997-6091 X106