28 Jan Do You Need Sex Therapy?
Libido, otherwise known as your sexual ‘drive’ or ‘desire’, varies from woman to woman and there is no right or wrong level. It is normal for desire to fluctuate because of physical or lifestyle changes, and reduced sex drive becomes much more common in women around their late 40s and 50s. If your libido level worries you, there are a number of things you can do. Finding a solution to the problem involves determining what seems to affect your libido and trying strategies to deal with this.
FACT: Women are two to three times more likely than men to be affected by a decline in sex drive as they age.
WHAT IS SEX THERAPY & COULD IT BE USEFUL TO YOU?
Many factors can influence your libido including your relationship, medications, general health, vaginal dryness that causes painful sex, and body image.
It is important to address lifestyle, nutrition and relationship factors that may be contributing to your low libido. As well as medical conditions and the side effects of some medications, there are a number of other reasons for a decreased sex drive, including: §
- Fatigue – feeling too tired for sex is common.
- Performance anxiety – painful sex can make a person avoid sex out of fear that it could happen again.
- Lack of time and privacy – the demands of work and home life may not leave enough time for intimacy and sex.
- Familiarity – a couple’s desire for sex tends to lessen over time.
- Sexual incompatibility – sexual desire can be affected if a person constantly wants more sex than their partner or wants a type of sexual activity that their partner is not comfortable with.
- Sexual turn-offs – sexual attraction to your partner may lessen if there are changes in their physical appearance, such as excessive weight gain.
- Depression – can cause tiredness, lack of motivation, feeling sad and withdrawing from activities, including sex.
- Stress – researchers have found that stress hormones can lessen sexual desire and response.
- Exercise – either too much or too little can cause a loss of sex drive.
- Trauma- such as sexual harassment, sexual abuse or rape, can lessen sexual desire.
- Medication – antipsychotics, antidepressants, and recreational drugs may also have an effect on libido.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
First of all, don’t be concerned about when or how often others have sex. There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to the frequency of sex. What’s important is whether you and your partner are happy with your level of sexual activity.
If your libido level is very different from your partner’s this may cause you distress, but it’s important to remember that just because one person in the relationship has a lower level of libido, this doesn’t mean there is something wrong with either person. It’s just that you are different. It is when the difference in libido is causing problems between you that you may need to seek help to manage the issue.
You can also try:
- Consulting your doctor to rule out any medical conditions like endocrine disorders, and to address any chronic illness or long-term medication use which may be contributing to low libido.
- Speaking to your doctor about hormonal treatment for low libido.
- Sex therapy or counselling. When no medical cause for low libido is found, couples’ therapy is often recommended.
NEED HELP? Sex therapy might be useful for couples who are dealing with the emotional aspects of sexual and relationship difficulties.
How it works
A sex therapy consultation is similar to any other counselling session in that the sex therapist will talk and listen to you (and/or your partner). The main difference is that the sex therapist is also specifically qualified to treat and/or manage sexual concerns and will also provide you with educational material, information, tips, suggestions and some homework tasks.
Why it’s useful
Most sexual health concerns or relationship issues do not get better on their own. It requires some commitment from you, and the sex therapist or counsellor will guide you through the process, will motivate you and, most importantly, they are there for support when you need it.
Where to go
CREDIT: DEBBIE DUNCAN/AREMEDIASYNDICATION.COM.AU/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA