Having problems behind closed doors? You are not alone. There are a myriad of intimacy issues that couples deal with, often quietly and without asking for professional help. Women may experience arousal and orgasm difficulties, a waning sex drive, or pain during intercourse, while men may battle with erectile dysfunction, early ejaculation, and even low libido. All of these take their toll on a couple's sex life.
The numbers are startling: Nearly half of women and one-third of men report one or more problems with their sexual function — and when one person suffers from sexual dysfunction, both partners pay the price. Unfortunately, out of that number, only about 10 percent of men and 20 percent of women seek help. You don't have to do the math to see that many couples are suffering with sexual dysfunction in silence.
There are many potential causes behind a lackluster sex life. Stress is an often cited culprit behind low libido, as many people simply struggle to feel sexual and desirable at the end of a long and hectic day. Taking time to unwind and prioritizing what’s really important can help you and your partner to stay on track. It’s also important to make time to take care of yourself (whether that includes working out, going to the salon, giving yourself a mani-pedi) to help feel your best and stay attune with your sexual side. Weight gain and poor body image can negatively impact your desire, and it can also cause you to feel less attracted to your partner, which is why it is so important to make an effort to look your best.
There are also medical causes which can impact your libido. Decreased circulation can cause erectile woes or decrease the intensity of orgasm, Hormonal changes caused by menopause and andropause can impact your mood, sexual response, and sexual enjoyment. Certain medications such as antidepressants can also affect your desire.
If you or your partner is plagued by an ongoing sexual complaint (one that has been a problem for six months or longer), it's important for both of you to seek help. Whether you see a licensed therapist or your family practitioner, having a conversation about your concerns is the first step. Reach out for help if you're one of the many who suffer from sexual dysfunction — for your partner, for your relationship, and for yourself.