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General News, Lifestyle

Everything you always wanted to know about sex (and weren’t afraid to ask)

Where has my sexual desire gone, and how do I get it back?

Sexual desire is normal for most people. The urge itself is a complex combination of intellectual ideas and fantasies. It is usually connected to a physiological response, but one that can theoretically be separated – for instance, one’s body may become aroused in the presence of someone with whom it would be inappropriate to have sex. The mental wish for sex – either a specific enthusiasm to be erotically connected with another being, a desire to masturbate or a more general longing without a particular object – can precede, follow or be simultaneous with actual physiological arousal.

Sometimes a person who is able to become physiologically aroused in the normal way develops an inability to feel comfortable with the idea of having sex. Anxiety, stress, depression, overwork, bereavement and anger can curb one’s interest, and a traumatic event may lead to an aversion to sex. The treatment for a problem with desire is related to the cause. In simple cases, a couple can work to reduce their stress or anxiety, improve their connection – which often requires solving specific problems that may be causing underlying resentment – or find “quality time” to be intimate. More complex cases usually require professional guidance to help a person heal from a specific trauma, treat sexual aversion or tackle phobias that may not be specific to sex, but may strongly influence sexual desire, such as a fear of germs. They can also help when people have what they believe to be an excess of desire that is causing significant life problems.

Why am I having problems getting aroused? I want to have sex!

Arousal failures can occur naturally and normally and are nothing to be concerned about. However, when they become frequent – and cause distress and relationship problems – they can usually be treated. Indeed, multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical industries are dedicated to treating arousal problems. However, they have mainly helped men with erectile dysfunction – treating female arousal problems pharmacologically is still a work in progress.

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a number of medical conditions, such as vascular problems and diabetes. Psychologically, the same life and relationship events that lead to desire problems – stress, anxiety, work and money problems, emotional hurt and trauma – can also cause arousal difficulties, as can various strong fears – pregnancy, disease, punishment, being discarded. Shame, religious orthodoxy, illness and/or body image can also play a part. Finding the causes will lead to the correct treatment.

Why is it over too quickly – or does it go on too long?

Why is it over too quickly – or does it go on too long?

Orgasm can be elusive for some, while others may experience it more quickly than they, or their partners, wish. Anorgasmic people are often those who did not explore their bodies as children and teenagers and haven’t yet discovered how they work. They can usually be guided to catch up on this important process, although sometimes they are hampered by religious beliefs or early messages that sex, and touching one’s genitals, is dirty.

Some women who reach adulthood without ever experiencing orgasm may decide they are missing out on the When Harry Met Sally experience and seek help to achieve it, while others may consider it a defect and hide their difficulty through sexual avoidance or faking. Women’s orgasmic struggles are often based on their, or their partners’, lack of understanding that many – probably most – women do not achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone, but require direct clitoral stimulation.

Men who find it difficult to orgasm with a partner – or take too long – are often misunderstood, too. Since “lasting a long time” is typically prized, they can be characterized as sexual athletes instead of being recognized as people who never become sufficiently excited to climax. In many cases, they require more vigorous stimulation than can be provided during most forms of bodily penetration. Men who ejaculate “too quickly” usually seek treatment because of shame – or complaints from their partner. Professional help can teach them to recognize their point of ejaculatory inevitability and to control it.

Sex is painful. What should I do?

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