Sex is a HUGE part of marriage.
Often times, it may be difficult for a person to bring up sexual problems with a therapist or psychologist, which is why it's important to know the individual therapist's specialty and background before seeking counseling.
A sex therapist may be a marriage counselor, psychologist, or sex counselor who has certification in the field of clinical sexology. They can make the couple feel more comfortable talking about sex in the relationship or the sexual dysfunction that may be occurring.
Here's a list of the most common sexual challenges that couples face that may result in a sexless marriage.
These 5 affect both men and women:
- Orgasmic disorder (anorgasmia): Persistent or recurrent difficulty, delay in or absence of attaining orgasm following sufficient sexual stimulation and arousal, which causes personal distress (for males nocturnal emission may occur).
- Hypoactive sexual desire disorders/situational lack of desire: Persistent or recurrent deficiency and/or absence of sexual fantasies, thoughts and/or desire for, or receptivity to, sexual activity, which causes personal distress. This can also be situational where the person is no longer feeling sexual desire because of relational problems.
- Sexual aversion disorder: Aversion to and active avoidance of genital sexual contact with a sexual partner causing marked distress. The individual may experience anxiety, fear and/or disgust.
- Pelvic pain disorder: Syndrome with various symptoms which often include pain and dysfunction related to urination (including interstitial cystitis), defecation and sexual activity.
- Dyspareunia: Recurrent or consistent genital pain associated with genital intercourse and sexual activity.
These 3 affect only women:
- Vaginismus: Recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with vaginal penetration which causes personal distress.
- Vulvodynia (Vulvar Vestibulitis): A syndrome that is marked by pain at the opening of the vagina when touched often associated with pain during intercourse.
- Vulvodynia (Dysesthetic Vulvodynia): Associated with chronic pain and a sense of burning in the vulva whether the vulva is touched or not.
These 3 affect only men:
- Erectile dysfunction: Recurrent inability to attain and/or maintain a penile erection sufficient for sexual performance (impotence).
- Early ejaculation: Persistent or recurrent occurrence of ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it (premature ejaculation).
- Delayed ejaculation: Delay in reaching ejaculation during sexual activity.
If you find that you're struggling with any of these issues, seek the help of a sex therapist who can really help.
Don't wait until you're truly suffering to reach out; often a few sessions with a sex therapist can make a big difference in your life.
This article was originally published at Examiner. Reprinted with permission from the author.