Sex is supposed to be one of life’s great pleasures. But when couples experience problems in the bedroom, the very idea of sex can create stress, relationship woes and self-esteem issues. Rachel Needle (pictured below), a West Palm Beach-based psychologist and certified sex therapist (1515 N. Flagler Drive, Suite 540, 561/822-5454), explores common issues—and possible solutions—with Boca Raton.
1) Low Sexual Desire
Needle says: “There are a number of possible contributors to [any] sexual problems—from biological or hormonal factors to contextual and interpersonal factors to lack of appropriate stimuli. The first thing is to rule out a medical problem.”
Possible solutions: Think about things that used to turn you on or give you desire. Communicate with your partner about what you want and what you need. Give direction. (If these don’t work, give any of the solutions in the next section a try.)
2) Inability to Reach an Orgasm
Needle says: “A lot of things can contribute to females having difficulty reaching orgasm, such as anger and resentment toward their partner, having an inexperienced partner and feeling out of touch or not comfortable with [their] own body.”
Possible solutions: Get to know yourself and your body. Figure out, on your own (when you’re comfortable), what turns you on. Think sexy thoughts; fantasize. Don’t evaluate and observe your performance during sex. Also, stay focused.
“A lot of women find themselves distracted during sex,” Needle adds. “You’re much less likely to be able to have a wonderful orgasm and enjoy sexual activity when your mind is in 100 different places.”
Don’t focus on the results. Instead, focus on the buildup of sensations, how you feel in the moment and what feels good.
3) Erectile Problems
Needle says: “Medications can still be helpful in these situations, but I want to make sure we’re addressing other contributing factors, as well.”
Potential solutions: Before men pop a pill to increase blood flow, they should answer the following questions: Can they achieve an erection when masturbating or do they have morning erections? If so, chances are the blood is flowing—and a pill may not be necessary. In that case, try communicating.
Have an open dialogue with your partner about your needs, concerns and what you want. Are you anxious about your sexual performance? Addressing that can help. Finally, think about what turns you on, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
For more information about sexual education, as well as how to locate a certified professional, visit The American Association of Sexuality Ed-ucators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) at aasect.org.