My Approach to Treating Sexual Concerns
We live in a country that extols the values of achievement and success. The entire advertising industry is devoted to one goal and one goal only, that of convincing consumers that they have not really achieved success unless they already own or will soon purchase the best, newest, or most technologically advanced product on the market. This culture of success as it relates to material goods has so thoroughly seeped into our thinking that nowadays even sex is defined in terms of “successful” sexual performance rather than as sexual comfort, intimacy, or satisfaction.
Along with our preoccupation with achieving success, comes our obsession with avoiding failure. In fact we resist the idea of simply being “average.” Like all of the children in Lake Wobegon, we insist that all of us—every single one of us—succeed and perform “above average.” When we translate that into the sexual arena, we are made to feel below average—in some sense a failure—if our sex life does not resemble the sexual relationships portrayed in the current best selling novels or Hollywood movies.
Our country’s preoccupation with professional sports with its emphasis on “winning at any price” has likewise seeped into the realm of sexual intimacy. For a significant number of men and woman, sex has become yet another competitive event, one in which the goal is simply to “perform better.” I have discussed this issue in more detail in my essay entitled “The Sexual Performance Perfection Industry.”
Because of this focus upon winning and losing and upon achievement and success, we find increasingly more couples who report being unsatisfied with their own or their partner’s sexual performance. That’s where I come in.
I treat people who are unhappy with some aspect of their sex life. These individuals worry about all manner of things sexual. They worry that they are not having sex often enough or that they are having sex too often. They worry that they are addicted to sex or porn or wonder if they are missing out on something because they find pornography unappealing. My essay on sexual addiction entitled “When Too Frequent Sex Creates Problems” addresses this issue.
They worry that their orgasms are not frequent enough or not intense enough. They worry that they have the wrong type of orgasm; woman want vaginal rather than clitoral orgasms. Women worry that they take too long to orgasm and men that they orgasm too quickly. And they also worry about their physical appearance. According to the women I see in my office, breasts come in only two sizes, either too small or too large. And according to the men I see, penises come in only one size—too small. I see and treat individuals describing all of these and many other sexual concerns.
And finally there is the complaint I hear more frequently than any other—that they have less desire or have completely lost the desire to be sexual with their partner or spouse. I discuss that concern in my essay on “Low Sexual Desire.”
What can potential patients hope to gain by making an appointment to see me? For one, they will learn how sexual intimacy fits into a long term loving relationship. As an AASECT certified sex therapist I help couples to see that sexual satisfaction is not an optional but is rather an essential component of a satisfying marriage or long term romantic relationship. And because of the importance of sexual compatibility to relationship satisfaction, helping couples to rekindle their sexual relationship is often the critical first step necessary for the re-establishment of a loving relationship or marriage.
Couples are often surprised to learn that passionate sexual intimacy is not necessarily the result of, but rather, is more often the source of marital or relationship happiness. After successful therapy, couples gain a new found appreciation for the fact that their mutual sexual satisfaction is ultimately their best insurance against relationship failure.
“Passionate sexual intimacy is not necessarily the result of, but rather, is often the source of marital and relationship satisfaction.”