Sex. Just because some people shy away from the topic, doesn’t mean you should. Being open to discussing sex can support the development of healthy relationships and good communication. Sexual issues are defined as difficulty during any stage of sex – desire, arousal, orgasm, resolution – which prevents the individual or couple from being able to experience pleasure during sexual activity. The causes of sexual difficulties can be physical, psychological, or both. Although the topic can be difficult to open up about, it can help to do this in a non-judgemental, professional environment with practitioners who specialise in sexual concerns and difficulties.
So, what can sexual concerns involve? Everyone is unique and experiences sexuality in their own way. This means that sexual concerns can involve absolutely anything, but will often appear as something that you are not feeling comfortable or happy with in regards to your sex life – either physically or psychologically. Some examples include:
- Difficulty engaging in the sexual act – e.g. erectile dysfunction, experiencing pain during intimacy
- Decreased libido, meaning an inability to get aroused or not wanting to engage in sexual activity at all
- Not feeling pleasure or excitement during sexual activity
- Differences in expectations between yourself and your sexual partner
- Feeling fearful or guilty about sexual activity
- Experiencing the ongoing impact of past sexual trauma or abuse
- Feeling confused about your sexual identity and preferences
- Persistent delay or absence of orgasm
- Feeling unhappy with your partner and unsure on how to improve your sex life
- Continual, uncontrollable or troubling thoughts about sex
Experiencing one of these situations can be highly distressing. You may have found that it has been difficult to share it with anyone, including your GP, and therefore you feel alone in your struggles. You may have told yourself over and over that it will pass, but yet your concerns continue to have an effect on your sex life for weeks or months later. You may also be feeling completely unsure of what you enjoy and what you want out of sexual activity. On the other hand, you may be fairly satisfied with your sexual activity but are simply wanting the support to explore or improve on something.
No matter what you are experiencing, you do not have to struggle alone any longer. Seeing a practitioner can help you unpack the root of the concern and deal with it in a supported environment. They can help to you determine whether you have a physical condition that is affecting your ability to enjoy sexual activity, or whether there are certain thoughts or emotions getting in the way instead.
There are a number of practitioners at VCPS who are specialised in working with sexual concerns. Some specific ways that they can help include:
- Helping you to unpack your sexual history, medical history, lifestyle choices, emotions, and beliefs surrounding sexual activity to identify the potential causes of any difficulties or concerns
- Challenging negative perceptions or unhelpful thoughts that are contributing to sexual dissatisfaction
- Help you to clarify or resolve any confusions, fears or concerns about sex
- Providing strategies to help overcome any challenges, including relaxation strategies, and increasing the desire and enjoyment of sexual activity
- Working with you and your partner together to improve your romance, intimacy and sexual enjoyment