• J R Fatz

Sex Therapy - The Hidden Factor to Many Relationship Issues

Over the last several months I have had several couples approach me for "couples" or "marriage therapy." Sometimes the issues that they present are the common ones, such as: money, discipline of the children, differences in how things should be done, differences in expectations....  In a few of the situations, the issues have been more subtle. It seemed that when one issue was resolved, a new issue cropped up. The couples and I felt like we were trying to hit a moving target.

Over the years, I have learned that when the content of an issue changes, but the interpersonal processes remain the same, the root cause of the issue has yet to be addressed. After some good work on the part of the clients, a common description was provided by these couples - "We get along OK. It seems like we can be good friends, but when it comes to actual or expected intimacy, that is when things start to get difficult." Often times, the intimacy did not appear to be the issue, but after some digging, the intimacy issues were the factor that led to the other arguments or issues. In some of the more significant situations, this led to mental abuse, infidelity, distancing in the relationship by substituting intimacy with pornography or other like substitutes. The other "issues" seemed like they were the issue - but they were not the primary thing that was making the couples feel raw, or angry, or insecure.

In more than a few of the situations, it turned out that one of the partners had a past history of sexual abuse. Upon further conversation and therapy, due to the abuse or some other factor, intimacy, as expressed via sexuality, was not a desirable or comfortable place for that person to be. In several cases, the person either had issues achieving orgasm (anorgasmia) or general relationship based arousal. This can then either lead to avoidance of sexual activity, or participating sexually, but not really enjoying one's self. In either situation, the other partner picks up on the lack of desirable participation and that sets off the cycle of "relationship issues."

Most people would agree, the difference between "really good friends" and "couples" is the sexual intimacy. For couples to feel as though they are really "couples," as opposed to friends or roommates, reciprocal, mutually satisfying sexuality is a key component.

Emotional sexual dysfunction (as opposed to physiologically based dysfunction) can be helped with counseling and psychotherapy. Therapeutic hypnosis can be a great tool to use in helping people overcome issues with sexual functioning. Sexual intimacy in the context of a "couples" relationship is a very important part to a full and fulfilling, mutually satisfying, relationship. Enjoying life and experiencing it to its fullest should be a part of our wonderful existence.

Although sexual desire, functioning and intimacy are extremely personal topics, seeking help and achieving your personal goals in your relationship is important. You may be surprised as to how different things can be. People deserve to celebrate life, themselves, and their relationships to the fullest.

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