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“I felt like a loser”
“I was constantly worried that my partner would sleep with someone else”
“My confidence was pathetic”
“I hated feeling so insecure and helpless”
These are the statements of men and women suffering from sexual dysfunction.
Sexual dysfunction refers to the difficulty or inability to engage in sexual activity, which can include issues such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low sexual desire, and difficulties achieving orgasm. Licensed Psychologist at Holistic Living explains several psychological factors that can contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Anxiety: Anxiety is a common psychological issue that can affect sexual performance. Anxiety can cause a person to feel nervous, stressed, and overwhelmed, which can lead to sexual dysfunction. For example, performance anxiety can cause erectile dysfunction in men, while in women, anxiety can lead to difficulties achieving orgasm.
Depression: Depression can affect sexual desire and performance. People with depression may experience a decrease in libido and may have difficulty getting aroused. They may also have difficulty achieving orgasm.
Relationship Issues: Relationship issues such as communication problems, lack of intimacy, and unresolved conflicts can contribute to sexual dysfunction. If one partner is unhappy in the relationship or feels emotionally distant, it can affect sexual desire and performance.
Past Trauma: Sexual dysfunction can also be related to past trauma, such as sexual abuse or assault. Trauma can lead to a fear of sexual intimacy or a negative association with sex, which can cause sexual dysfunction.
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Body Image: Body image can also play a role in sexual dysfunction. If a person is unhappy with their body or feels self-conscious, it can affect their sexual confidence and desire.
Cultural and Religious Factors: Cultural and religious factors can also impact sexual functioning. For example, some cultures and religions have strict beliefs and practices surrounding sex, which can lead to guilt or shame, causing sexual dysfunction.
Psychological factors can have a significant impact on sexual function and can lead to sexual dysfunction. Treatment for sexual dysfunction often involves addressing these psychological factors through therapy, medication, or a combination of both. A licensed psychologist can work with an individual or couple to identify and address the underlying mental and emotional issues and help them develop strategies to improve sexual function.
At Holistic Living, our licensed psychologists have helped many couples and individuals to address and resolve psychological issues that were causing sexual dysfunction or other sexual problems.
One such case was of Tameesh (name changed due to privacy purposes). Tameesh suffered from low-self esteem and distorted self-image due to his previous relationship. His past relationship was emotionally abusive wherein his ex-partner constantly criticized Tameesh for his physical assets and compared him with her past lovers.
Gradually, Tameesh lost all confidence in himself and started experiencing sexual dysfunction. Feeling hopeless and depressed he approached the licensed psychologist at Holistic Living to seek treatment for his issue.
The licensed psychologist conducted a thorough assessment to rule out any medical or physical reasons. After understanding Tameesh’s past history of abusive relationships, the licensed psychologist worked with him to break the negative self-beliefs and instill confidence in himself.
Of course, his problems were not solved overnight. It took 3 months for Tameesh to separate his present reality from the past and no longer allow his ex-partner’s opinions to influence his mindset. He learned how to challenge his negative thoughts and develop resilience and self-confidence.
Today, Tameesh is in a healthy and satisfying relationship. He enjoys physical intimacy with his partner and no longer suffers from sexual dysfunction.
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Tameesh’s case is a great example of how sexual concerns can be related to emotional and mental issues. By addressing and resolving them, one can overcome sexual dysfunction and experience real passion in their relationships.
In fact, there have been a number of research studies that have proven the effectiveness of therapy in resolving sexual dysfunction
For example, a meta-analysis of 63 studies on the treatment of sexual dysfunction found that psychological interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and sex therapy, were effective in improving sexual functioning in both men and women (Levine et al., 2016). The study found that these interventions led to improvements in sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction.
Another study found that couples therapy was effective in improving sexual function and relationship satisfaction for couples experiencing sexual problems (McCarthy et al., 2016). The study found that couples therapy led to improvements in sexual function, communication, and emotional intimacy, which ultimately improved relationship satisfaction.
Additionally, a study on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy for sexual dysfunction found that the therapy led to significant improvements in sexual desire, arousal, and overall sexual function (Brotto et al., 2018). The study found that mindfulness-based therapy was particularly effective for individuals experiencing low sexual desire.
Overall, research supports the effectiveness of therapy for treating sexual dysfunction. Talking to a licensed psychologist can help individuals and couples address underlying psychological factors contributing to sexual problems and develop strategies to improve overall sexual satisfaction.
Although sexual intimacy is a natural desire, talking about it openly is still viewed as taboo. Suffering from sexual dysfunction or other such concerns can seriously hamper one’s self-esteem and negatively affect relationships.
Lack of sexual life is one of the most common reasons for divorces and increasing infidelity. Sadly, there is still a lot of reluctance and shyness in asking for help to resolve these issues. Moving past these stereotypes is vital in taking the right treatment and overcoming sexual dysfunction.
As mentioned above, Therapy can be helpful in addressing psychological factors contributing to sexual dysfunction. A licensed psychologist can help you identify and explore any underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to your sexual dysfunction, such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, past trauma, or negative beliefs about sex. They can also provide you with tools and techniques to manage and reduce these issues, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, or couples therapy.
In therapy, you may also work on improving your communication skills, which can help you and your partner communicate more openly and effectively about sexual issues. This can lead to a better understanding of each other’s needs and desires, and ultimately improve sexual satisfaction.
Overall, therapy can be an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction by addressing underlying psychological issues and improving overall sexual health and satisfaction. It is important to find a licensed psychologist who is knowledgeable and experienced in working with sexual dysfunction and who you feel comfortable talking to about sensitive topics.
It is understandable to feel shy or embarrassed about discussing sexual problems with a therapist. However, it is important to remember that licensed psychologists are trained professionals who are experienced in working with individuals and couples experiencing sexual difficulties. They will likely have encountered many similar issues and are there to help you.
Here are some suggestions for initiating a conversation about sexual dysfunction with your licensed psychologist:
Write down your concerns: If you feel too nervous to bring up your concerns during the session, consider writing them down beforehand. This can help you organize your thoughts and make it easier to articulate your concerns to your therapist.
Start with a general statement: You could begin the conversation by stating that you have been experiencing some difficulties in your sex life or that you have concerns about your sexual functioning. This can help to open up the conversation and give your therapist an idea of what you are struggling with.
Be honest: It is important to be honest with your therapist about your concerns, even if it feels uncomfortable. Your therapist is there to support you, and they need to have accurate information to help you.
Ask questions: If you are unsure about something, or if your therapist says something you don’t understand, ask questions to clarify. This can help you feel more informed and in control of the situation.
Keep an open mind: It is important to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. Your therapist may suggest techniques or exercises that may feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar at first, but they are designed to help you improve your sexual functioning and overall well-being.
Remember that your licensed psychologist is there to help you, and they will likely be understanding and non-judgmental. By initiating a conversation about your sexual dysfunction, you can take the first step towards improving your sexual health and your relationships.
It is time that we as a society and community create a space where individuals can openly talk about their sexual concerns without feeling judged or embarrassed. Breaking the stereotypes and taboos attached to sexual life can help to prevent many issues and encourage people to seek the right course of action.
Hence, If you are someone who is experiencing sexual dysfunction or know a person who could be going though something similar then talk to a licensed psychologist and understand how you can overcome your issue and find deep sexual satisfaction and passion.
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