Sexual Difficulties are a very common and a treatable issue, with research showing that 31% of men and 43% of women having experienced them at some point and to some degree. This figure may; however be a vast underestimate due to the fact that this is not a subject people wish to discuss or admit to. In general terms sexual difficulties are usually due to an issue with one or more phases of the sexual response cycle. These phases are:
- Excitement - Physical and psychological changes in preparation for sexual intercourse.
- Plateau - Increase in intensity of sexual excitement
- Orgasm - peak or climax of sexual excitement
- Resolution - reduction in sexual excitement, body returns to its normal state, usually accompanied by feeling of wellbeing and intimacy.
Emotional and anatomical differences between men and woman mean that they may experience specific issues in this area.
Common problems include;
- Reduced or lack sexual desires
- Reduced Arousal
- Absence of orgasm (anorgasmia)
- Painful sexual intercourse
Common problems include;
- Reduced sexual desire
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculation issues (premature, inhibited, retrograde)
The causes of sexual difficulty are split into two main and often interlinked categories;
Physical Causes include;
- Hormonal imbalance
- Penile damage
- Medical conditions - Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease
- Alcohol use
- Drug use
- Prescribed Medication (side effects)
- Stress - work, family, financial
- Relationship problems
- Historical sexual abuse
- Concern over sexual performance/physical problem
Often issues of a sexual nature are temporary and resolve themselves over a short period of time. This is particularly the case when the underlying issue is resolved an example of this would be relating to work based stress. If this issue persists then it may be necessary to seek advice and support.
Impact on Relationships
Sexual Difficulties can have far reaching implications for maintaining and enjoying a healthy relationship. Sexual and emotional intimacy between couples is extremely important and interlinked, the loss of one impacting negatively on the other. Many people who suffer from these difficulties feel embarrassed, have reduced self-esteem and may not wish to discuss these issues, choosing to avoid the situation. Avoidance of these issues and sudden changes to sexual behaviour can lead to a partner feeling there are other underlying relationship issue.
A partner may feel that the other is no longer finds them sexually attractive, is having an affair and no longer wishes to be in that relationship. This can lead to reduced self-esteem, feelings of anger, mistrust, anxiety and uncertainty over the future. A partner who feels unable to satisfy their partner sexual may also feel guilty and have great concern that they may seek satisfaction elsewhere.
How can we help?
The Practice MK offers an extensive range of Counselling and Psychotherapy, to help individuals and their partner. Therapy sessions are delivered by practitioners trained in sexual difficulties and will provide the opportunity to discuss issues in a safe, understanding and supportive environment.
Individuals and their therapist may wish to discuss current or past issue affecting them, feelings they have around these issues and how these issues affect them and those around them. During sessions, individuals and therapists will look at methods to resolve these issues.
All our counsellors and therapists are accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
If you or someone you know may be suffering from anxiety, drop us an email or telephone call and we can talk to you more about the services we provide.