Are you lonely and longing for a meaningful connection with your partner?
Did you enjoy sex at the beginning of your relationship but not so much anymore, or have you had problems from the beginning? Are you lonely and longing for a warm, meaningful, and physical connection? Do you sometimes hate how you feel when you ask for sex? Do you sometimes hate how you feel when you say no to sex?
Perhaps the guilt over never being interested in sex is eating you alive. Or maybe you just feel like you’re over it already. Maybe you fear there might be something wrong with you. Perhaps you are stuck in a mental loop that fears you married the wrong person. Maybe you’ve tried everything you know to try. Maybe you’ve started to give up, and maybe you’ve even decided to avoid sex to keep the tension low.
Perhaps you are both wondering if there is hope. Perhaps you are both afraid you won’t be able to get there.
Married sex is supposed to be regular and good, isn’t it?
When your sex life is stuck or boring or difficult to tolerate it can color your entire world, making it feel like you have a big secret that something is wrong with you, or your spouse, or your marriage. Perhaps you fear that every one else is having great sex and lots of it, but this is a myth. Can your sex life be improved? Most likely. Sex therapy can help couples understand what seems to be going wrong, and develop strategies for creating a better sex life. But this idea that good sex is supposed to happen naturally when two people get married has well over stayed it’s welcome.
In the early 1960’s two researchers, Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson, after a decade of intensive research on the human sexual response, declared with a great deal of hope and good intention that sex was natural. It was, of course, a nice correction to the feeling or fear of the times that sex was bad or dirty or immoral. But an unintended consequence occurred. The natural or instinctual drive of one spouse to pursue the other sexually heated up a notch. If sex was natural now, (the doctor said so!) then pursuing your spouse sexually was natural, but the partner who didn’t want to have sex as much became unnatural. Suddenly the normal push-me-pull-me between mates that occurs in all marriages to some degree or another turned into one spouse being natural or healthy, while the other became unnatural or unhealthy. Not a great set up for a satisfying sex life.
Sex therapy can help…and it’s not nearly as scary or uncomfortable as you may fear.
Perhaps another result of Masters’ and Johnson’s work is that folks still fear that sex therapy means they’ll be taking their clothes off. This is also a myth. Sex therapy is talk therapy. It is a safe and structured space for couples to talk about what they feel is going wrong with their sex life, guided by an experienced therapist. You may be asked questions about how frequently you have sex and how frequently you’d like to be having sex. You may be asked about the connection you may or may not feel at different points in your sexual experiences with each other. You may also be asked about pain during sex or any sexual dysfunctions either of you may be struggling with. An assessment as to whether you may benefit from seeing a doctor or pelvic floor physical therapist will be made.
If you’re not having sex at all you may be asked about the last times you had sex with each other and what each of your ideas are as to why sex stopped. Most importantly we will talk about what strategies you are using to try to create a better sex life. Most of the time couples who get stuck in this area are using strategies that create or worsen the very problems they are trying to solve.
Because the sexual relationship is so personal and deeply emotional, you will also be asked about your connection with each other as well. Humans are one of very few species who have sex for pleasure and not just physical pleasure. Our emotional connection and level of emotional development are key factors in enjoying sexual emotional connectivity.
You may feel ready for sex therapy but still have some concerns.
My spouse is worried that sex therapy means she’s going to be pressured even more to have sex with me.
Sex therapy is not about getting one spouse to have more sex with the other. Often times this very pressure and the reactions that follow are what bring couples into sex therapy to begin with. I also don’t assume that more sex equals good sex. When my clients stop assuming this as well, it’s an important step in the right direction. When couples can step back from the tug of war with each other they also seem to be more able to respect each other. Respect for self and other is the beginning and ending of a more satisfying and meaningful sex life, regardless of frequency. Ironically, once folks can let go of the frequency pressure, they tend to have sex more often.
I have certain things I like in the bedroom. I need to know I won’t be judged or diagnosed.
I’ve been a marriage and sex therapist for 20 years. I have studied about and listened to the full range of human sexuality, and it doesn’t phase me to hear about fetishes or kink or fantasies. You’ll find very quickly that I’m not judgmental about much. I accept people for who they are and where they are in life. Often times the bigger problem is my clients’ own judgment of themselves.
Frequency of sex isn’t our problem. We are happy with our sex life but just want to spice it up a little. Can you help with that?
Yes! Introducing something new into your married sex life takes thought and a bit of courage, but most importantly, it requires the next level of emotional development or maturity. Broadening one’s sexual repertoire means deepening one’s level of self-confidence and solidity of emotional functioning. In English, it means a calmer you. Calm is sexy. Calm is knowing oneself. It is the ability to look your spouse in the eye. From calm come desire and creativity and freedom.