Questions to ask yourself when considering seeking help for sexual concerns:
Do I keep feelings of hurt or resentment inside and how does this interfere with my sexual relationship?
Do I avoid facing issues from my past that might be contributing to problems with sexual intimacy?
Do I want to take steps in order to bring more passion to my relationship?
Sexual problems in adulthood may be related to feelings of personal inadequacy, conflicting feelings regarding the opposite sex, severe family or religious training regarding sexuality, or experiences of sexual abuse in childhood.
The effects of childhood sexual abuse are particularly damaging. Such experiences are often kept secret by the victim, leaving scars of shame, confusion, guilt and an inability to trust a sexual partner. Equally, it is important to recognise that adult sexual problems are not always due to childhood sexual abuse.
The most common sexual problems in men include premature ejaculation, problems in achieving or maintaining an erection, and diminished or excessive sexual desire. The most common problems in women include diminished sexual desire and problems in achieving a climax. Couples often have problems because their levels of sexual interest are different. The stereotype that it is the man who wants more sexual activity than the woman is not always correct.
Other symptoms may involve forms of sexual behaviour which are problematic, including an obsessive preoccupation with sexuality. This may take the form of compulsive seeking of multiple sexual partners or prostitutes, compulsive masturbation, a compulsive preoccupation with pornography, or compulsive involvement with sexual liaisons through online chat rooms.
It is vital that any treatment of sexual problems always starts with taking an in-depth psychosocial history including, but not restricted to, the nature and history of the problem. The psychotherapist is interested in other aspects of a person's history and present life, because problems in sexual functioning can only be understood in the context of a person's whole life situation. Pressure or conflict in other areas of your life may play a role in causing the symptoms of sexual dysfunction.
Sexual problems are generally symptoms of other issues within a relationship. When the lines of communication are closed and you and your partner feel resentment toward one other, it can be difficult to be open sexually. Also, healthy sexual expression requires that you feel good about yourself. If you were abused, neglected, or have a poor self image, it can be difficult to trust even those closest to you.