Knowing your unique needs and the needs of your sexual partner can be very enlightening. See if you can find a little bit or a lot of yourself in each of these characters – and I am sure you will recognize an ex or a present partner in one or many of these characters. This is not about accusations and excuses but rather the realities necessary to understand the developing self and current struggles. The important thing when looking at these sexual styles is not to try to figure out which sexual type you or someone is but rather to use this knowledge to improve your sexual relationships. Pay attention to how your own sexual style and behaviour makes your partner feel about themselves and the relationship because your sexual style may be hurting your relationships..
1. The Sexual Traffic Cop
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Traffic Cop is what we would call a typical control freak. They often feel that they were put on this earth to “put others in their place” and feel obligated to tell others what is ‘right’ and what is “wrong”. They tend to think their views, their families, relationships or career are what everyone should emulate and do not hesitate flaunting them in public for everyone to copy. They are often critical and demanding, always giving orders and making up rules. They can be very picky, impatient and judgmental; constantly giving advice, correcting or “mothering” others.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Traffic Cop, you will get so many directions and instructions on what he/she likes and doesn’t like. They will tell you how you should feel and respond and they may demonstrate to you how they want you to do it to them and ask you to do exactly the way they do it. You make one “wrong” move and he/she just stops and refuses to continue. The worst part is that there are so many instructions that you never seem to remember what they like or don’t like. You feel pressured, controlled and inadequate every time.
2. The Sexual Beast
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Beast usually talks loudly – and dirty. They are the sort of people who are all over the place and are either disillusioned that others really like them or do not care if they are liked or not. They have a strong need to dominate others and to be in charge of things. They may appear very controlled but are cynical and temperamental, and easily explode into anger when their authority or intelligence is challenged. They can be very vindictive and manipulative. They aren’t necessarily angry at the opposite sex it’s just that they confuse aggression and chaos with passion and spontaneity.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Beast, you are not sure whether you are being loved or devoured. His/her panting, grabbing, slapping, scratching, biting, pushing, pulling and bestial noises or “dirty talk” reduces the sex act to its very basic crude level. You are left frightened, distrustful, unsatisfied and angry but not sure why.
3. The Sexual Martyr
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Martyr lives with a victim mentality. They are always telling “poor me” stories, blaming others for everything that has happened to them. They don’t believe they are lovable or worthwhile and find it difficult to express their needs or ask for what they want. They’ve never had satisfying experiences and feel used and taken advantage of all the time.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Martyr you sense that “something” in not right but however much you ask, he/she will never tell. The only way they try to let you know what is happening is when you try to be intimate their first reaction is to move away a little or just lie there motionless. You sort of start getting resentful because you can’t read his/her mind and you feel guilty for not being able to figure out what is really going on.
4. The Sexual Procrastinator
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Procrastinator avoids doing things he/she needs to do or deal with and hates being told what to do. They ask for advice, make goals and promises but never actually get to carry them out. They are usually very rational and reasonable and take themselves seriously. They can be very talkative, impressionable, sensitive and warm but feel uncomfortable about getting close to other people and often avoid these situations.
Inside the bedroom: If you ever get to have sex with a Sexual Procrastinator consider yourself one of the most patient people on earth because by the time you get to actually have sex with this character, you’ll have heard all kinds of logical explanations as to how the mood, timing and the place is just not right. But even during sex, they will find little problems to interrupt or force you to stop. You are left feeling controlled, neglected, desperate and angry.
5. The Sexual Glutton
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Glutton is a professional at enjoying him/herself. Sexual Gluttons have low tolerance to pain or suffering and are often prone to addictive behaviours. They usually seek out adult toys to play with and when they find something that gives them pleasure; food, alcohol, drugs etc. they get completely lost in sensation oblivious of the people and everything around them.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Glutton you get the feeling you are just a toy for their pleasure. If you try to change what you are doing to give them pleasure, they motion for you to keep going, paying no attention whatsoever to your feelings. While you feel “high and dry” he/she is in his/her pleasure world. You are left feeling left out, unimportant, unloved and angry at being used.
6. The Sexual Performer
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Performer is wildly enthusiastic about everything. Everything and everyone is always fantastic, wonderful, amazing, fabulous, great, brilliant etc. When you meet this character you are almost sure he/she is the most passionate person you’ve ever met, yet you get a feeling that there is something not quite right about his/her passion – you’re probably right. Sexual Performers are people who want to get close to others, but tend to be so anxious about intimacy that they often scare others away.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Performer you get the feeling they are putting on a show; they make a lot of noise and they will do this and do that, frequently changing positions and telling you over and over how fabulous it is. They’ll even insist sex is better in front of a mirror because they want to watch themselves perform. Their “pleasure” seems so exaggerated that you are not sure whether it is sex or their performance that they like so much. You are left feeling used, mistrustful and even resentful.
7. The Sexual Idealist
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Idealist is sensitive, powerful and very intelligent. They are usually spiritual and philosophical, and are passionate about the protection of the environment, cruelty against animals and world poverty. They desperately want fairness and goodness for everyone and in everything because their past experiences have been the opposite. They may be children of divorced or emotionally isolated and dissociated parents, were adopted or lived with parents who were kept busy working. Because they have been abandoned again and again they may be deluded that their work, relationships and life are perfect and are afraid to look at life honestly because they fear that their positive outlook may collapse.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Idealist be prepared to enjoy it not once but twice: first when you hear the great and wonderful benefits of sex and again after when you hear a recounting of the just concluded magical experience. He/she will tell you how sex with you is much better than all the ones he/she’s had all his/her life and what a wonderful lover you are. You find yourself pressured to perform to similar or higher standards, just to keep up. But their “ideal” world leaves you feeling inadequate, not loved for yourself and mistrustful of their claims.
8. The Sexual Pleaser
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Pleaser is usually sweet, cheerful, enthusiastic and nice to everyone. They have a tendency to confuse love with pity, and a tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue. They are overly dependent on the approval of members of their family, spouse, friends, colleagues and even strangers. They will go to any lengths and overboard to please and when they do they will stand there silently with a “so?” look on their face. They can easily be manipulated because Sexual Pleasers have a hard time saying “no’ to requests outside and inside of the bedroom.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Pleaser, you will feel wonderful – at first – because they come across as the super lover. They ask “Do you like this or Am I pleasing you?” They even go to the lengths of apologizing if you say you did not like that. After a while you start feeling selfish and guilty. You sense their desperation and need to please and feel obligated to him/her but at the same time feel controlled by their neediness.
9. The Sexual Corpse
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Corpse is an expert at repressing his/her feelings. They appear cool, calm and collected on the outside but deep inside they are anxious, worried, and fearful. Many have suffered a lot of hurt, pain, frustration and have been abused as children or by their sexual partners. They often find it difficult to trust others and to self-disclose. They don’t easily forgive and never forget. Even if they openly don’t say it you get the feeling talking to them that they are so angry at the opposite sex.
Inside the bedroom: When you have sex with a Sexual Corpse, their idea of sex is you playing “sex psychic”. They never show emotion or say a word before, during or after sex. Its up to you to guess how they are feeling or if they like sex with you. Its up to you to figure out what they want – or if they even like you. If you ask them if they like something the best they can come up with is ‘Its fine”. You are left inadequate, frustrated and even angry at them.
10. The Sexual Tease
Outside the bedroom: The Sexual Tease is the kind of man or woman who looks at your partner and makes them wish they were single. They just love to advertise how “super-sexy” they – they dress and walk the part. Their whole idea of life is superficiality – clothes, status etc., and have a habit of name-dropping or mentioning their connections to famous, rich and powerful people. They are very competitive with members of the same sex and are usually very jealous and possessive people. The Sexual Tease also has problems opening up and making commitments to another person.
Inside the bedroom: Forget the bedroom – a Sexual Tease comes on very strong and aggressive, turning you on and driving you crazy with his/her act. But as soon as there is a possibility that sex might actually take place, the sexy, hot and wild image disappears. They start giving excuses or find something else to do – so that they can tease you some more. And if you actually manage to have sex with this character – you will be very disappointed. A Sexual Tease is turned on by the idea of being wild and sexy but not by the actual act of sex itself. You find yourself feeling humiliated, used, manipulated and angry.
Conclusion: I believe that there is no “right” or “wrong” way of making love. Sex is “good” when it makes both of your feel good about yourselves and about the relationship and it is ‘bad” when it leaves you unhappy and adds to your negative feelings about yourself, your partner or about relationships. The good news is that there is something you can always do to become the lover you are capable of being (listed on my website are some of the things you can immediately do). The Super Lover is in everyone of us. What you need first and foremost is deep insights into the unique, creative and ultimately mysterious being you are. Second you need an intuitive understanding of the intricate dynamics of man-woman energies. Learning specific techniques is NOT enough, you need to know the interplay between the sexes that is sufficient to evoke a deep connection and smoldering passion.
Sexuality is a broad term used to describe a complex array of feelings, beliefs, and behaviors related to how we express ourselves as erotic beings. In general, the expression of healthy sexuality has to do with the ability to exquisitely and respectfully pursue pleasure by being playful, spontaneous, and engaged. It also involves an awareness of and an ability to cultivate the sexual relationships we have with ourselves and with others. By contrast, unhealthy sexuality typically involves a fearful approach that manifests as guilt, shame, control, avoidance, pain, or displeasure. Unhealthy sexuality often comes from the perspective that our bodies are somehow shameful and should be hidden and controlled.
Like our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, our sexuality is a normal and necessary part of the characteristics that make us unique. As with other parts of our personality, our sexuality must mature throughout our lifespan and be nurtured in ways that are appropriate to our age and context. We must learn what it means to be sexually vibrant and expressive in ways that are congruent with our individual sexual orientation, gender identification, and innate rhythms of sensual and erotic exploration.
Problems with sexuality can result from a multitude of sources. These sources can range from everyday circumstances, such as stress at work or conflicts in relationships, to more extreme problems stemming from traumatic events. For many individuals and couples, problems with sexuality can be a normal and even expected result of living in a complex world. For instance, though most couples experience an initial period of heightened sexual exploration and pleasure at the beginning of their relationship, it is not uncommon to see this pattern diminish or even deteriorate over time. Often this is not a function of trauma or illness, but rather a reflection of inattention to the maintenance of the couple’s sexual health. For other couples, the areas of sex and money become metaphors for unresolved power and control dynamics within their relationship. Addressing these underlying dynamics may provide resolution to the issues of power and control that are disguised as sexual problems.
Sexual problems can also arise from deeper issues. For example, early or current insults to our sexual identity formation, such as incest, rape, or sexual assault can instill a sense of fear or powerlessness around sexuality that can result in two major sexual disturbances. One of these disturbances is a withdrawal from sexuality as an authentic expression of the self, and the other is an over-identification with sexuality as a source of interpersonal power and control, rather than as a source of pleasure and intimacy. In either case, sexuality becomes a reaction to trauma rather than an unencumbered, delightful, and integrated expression of a well-developed sexual identity.
Another major obstacle to healthy sexuality is the impact of cultural bias and oppression, such as racism, sexism, ageism, sexist language, and homophobia. For example, many religious and cultural belief systems teach that the only purpose of sexuality is that of procreation. This eliminates the possibility of our sexuality being a source of pleasure in its own right. As a result, when sexual feelings do arise, we may feel a sense of guilt or shame. Religious and cultural belief systems can also be limiting in terms of definitions of “normal” sexuality and sexual orientations. When we fall outside of the culture’s definition of “normal” we may experience alienation, identity crises, depression or other emotional symptoms, and a sense of shame for being different.
Finally, problems with sexual functioning can be the result of physical illness or disease. Sexual problems can be related to the side effects of medications, the complications of medical treatments, or the impact of drug or alcohol abuse. In these situations it is important to consult with a qualified medical provider who will be able to identify whether the problem is physical or related to other issues.
In conclusion, if our sexual health and development are affected by environmental stressors, negative interpersonal patterns, trauma, or limiting cultural beliefs and biases, then we run the risk of developing unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about sexuality. These attitudes and behaviors are not set in stone. Everyone has the ability to make changes so that they may access the power and pleasure of healthy sexuality. The purpose of consulting with a therapist who specializes in human sexuality is to find support while you discover, clarify and expand your unique style of sexual expression.
Whether by accident, illness, aging or the cards life deals you any time from birth onwards, at some point in life many of us face obstacles to sexuality. As our culture creates “reality” tv shows like “the Swan,” in which fundamentally healthy and able-bodied people go to great lengths to be made over as culturally defined sex symbols, the very real challenges to sexuality many people face remain invisible and unspoken. These include:
facing illness in youth and/or adulthood o becoming temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of illness or an accident o enduring loss or tragedy, be it with a job, a significant relationship or ones own capacities
living through trauma and the consequent obstacles one must face to heal
experiencing changes in hormone levels, bodies and libidos that come with the natural aging process
by nature, chance or inclination straying far from the socially acceptable definition of beauty and attractiveness.
A 47 year old woman who suffered from childhood sexual abuse and debilitating chronic illness in adulthood commented, “If you live long enough, you will be sick or something will be wrong with you. You’ll lose a job. You’ll have a serious accident. You’ll get sick. You’ll gain weight. How do we deal with this in a culture that worships perfection and youth?”
While I have always viewed sexuality as sacred and loving: soul energy exchange, the language commonly used to describe sexuality is far from spiritual. Terms like “sexual performance,” ” sexual function” and “sexual dysfunction” mechanize and clinicize a deep and intimate human capacity. We are taught to expect erections on demand from men, losing touch with other factors like emotional and physical well-being, a sexual-spiritual connection with self or a partner, self-esteem, stress and changes in the body due to the natural process of aging. Women are expected to look like teenagers throughout the life cycle sporting Playboy physiques in order to be attractive. As a culture, we have lost touch with feminine energy, feminine power, and the wide range of body shapes that occur in nature.
In the absence of conscious, holistic, experiential sex education, too many people learn about sex primarily from images transmitted through pornography on the internet and in magazines, or from the “thou shalt not” teachings of religious institutions. With all due respect for the new class of sexual dysfunction “miracle drugs” and the people they help, that we present sexuality as a commodity you can buy or a magic button you can press on demand dehumanizes the deeper and multi-dimensional aspects of sexual experience: love, intimacy, connection, spirituality and soul-based energy exchange.
In this backdrop, what happens to people who face real and serious obstacles to sexual relating? From the people I have spoken with who have faced and/or continue to face obstacles to sexuality, which in some cases also include obstacles to physical and emotional well-being, the answer is not very heartening. Isolation, lack of community, and a scarcity of resources and understanding often accompany the already challenging experiences of illness, disability, loss, trauma, aging and the like.
“We’ve become a throw-away culture, and sadly enough, that includes people,” reflects Brenda, a 55 year old woman who has suffered from polycystic ovary disease since she hit puberty. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic disorder that affects the female reproductive system in 6 – 10% of women. “If you have a disabiity, an illness, are suffering a loss, are very young or very old, you can easily become invisible or be thrown away as the `mainstream’ dominant culture charges on to quicker, easier and more perfect pursuits.”
Because of the importance of the topic, this past fall the Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network, a volunteer-run group dedicated to providing resources and education about the many dimensions of what it means to integrate sexuality and spirituality, hosted a program on “Overcoming Obstacles to Sexuality in the Real World. ” At the meeting a panel of five individuals shared their stories of illness in childhood and adulthood, trauma, loss and aging, and how these experiences impacted their sexuality. Through sharing their stories and through group discussion, we pondered the question: how do people that suffer or have suffered illness, challenges or disability navigate the cultural and social challenges to intimacy and relating as a sexual being?
We explored issues of childhood illness and its ramifications on emotional-sexual-social development, permanent disability and the challenges to finding intimate partnership, aging and its impact on libido and sexual capacities, job loss and obesity and their impact on self-esteem, cancer and how both the illness and the treatment effect sexuality, and sexual abuse and its correlation with physical illness and chronic pain. With their permission, here are the stories of three of the panelists.
Sebouh is a 28 year old man who suffered a brainstem tumor as a child. “I was only seven years old when they discovered a benign tumor (astrocytoma) attached to my brainstem. It could not be completely removed due to its location since the brainstem is responsible for many vital functions as such as breathing, heart beat, and other functions that if disturbed could lead to major paralysis or even death. The doctors wanted to preserve my quality of life.” Surgery was done in 1984 and some residual tumor was left behind.
Unfortunately, in 1986 there were signs of tumor regrowth and Sebouh underwent a heavy dosage of radiation to stop the regrowth. For the next ten years things were smooth. Sebouh succeeded at high school and went to college as a biology major, with the long-term vision of being an eye doctor.
Sadly, both the residual tumor and a hematoma (a side effect of earlier radiation) caused a string of further complications and surgeries. The most impactful complication was a cerebellar hemorragic brainstem stroke in 1999. The surgery required to stop the bleeding, as well as damage from the stroke led to permanent impairment to many basic capacities including coordination, gross and fine motor skills, paralysis, balance, vision and speech. Sebouh not only had to give up his dream of being an eye doctor, but also found himself faced with great physical challenges to overcome, and huge barriers to leading a normal sexual-social life.
“How does a person who is young handle the trauma of serious illness and its lasting repercussions: disability and physical limitations? And how do I live having once been able bodied and now being disabled?” asked Sebouh.
“I think the greatest challenge a disabled person faces in developing a sexual self is finding a special person who is open to what people with disabilities might be facing. In today’s society it is not an easy task to find that special person who care about what you had to face, who understands your physical limitations whether in sex or any other areas. Many people are afraid to build a relationship with someone who is disabled. Hopefully, there will be someone out there who will be able to see my inner beauty. ”
“We need more places where people with disabilities can dialogue about sexuality and relationships,” acknowledged Sebouh. “Most of the support groups I have found are medical-based. For example, a support group for people who have had strokes. I think we need more groups that specifically address sexuality, relationships and barriers to intimacy when you live with a disability. All human beings are sexual. We all need love and affection. Many people lose their confidence after going through such a traumatic event as I did. But you have to remember not to give up.”
Jeremy is a 47 year old man, who like Sebouh, experienced a benign tumor as a child. While his illness did cause lifelong ramifications, they are not nearly as disabling as Sebouh’s. “When I was in the 5th grade, around age 10, I started to have headaches, but I didn’t let anyone know about them. They went away towards the end of the year. However, my growth slowed. By age 12, others had sprouted, but I had not. I went from being one of the bigger boys to one of the smaller ones. When I was 14 doctors realized this wasn’t a delayed puberty, and they ran some tests, including a pneumoencephalograph, a painful precursor to today’s MRI’s and CAT scans, where they inject air into your skull so they can photograph it. It turned out I had a benign pituitary tumor. I did a summer of x-ray therapy to be sure it was killed off. After that I was treated with hormones.”
“It was believed at the time that if you were on testosterone directly, the gonads would shut down and you couldn’t have children. So my parents chose injections two to three times each week. A doctor discovered growth hormone, and I was on it.” While Jeremy did eventually grow to 5’8″, that was far from the 6′ height he had imagined he would attain prior to the tumor. Being tall was a significant part of Jeremy’s masculine identity, so having his growth curtailed damaged his self-esteem.
Going through both the personal and medical ordeal, Jeremy bore the pain alone. “I had learned to become hypervigilant to hide what I felt about it. I didn’t like going to hang out in social situations where people explored dating and sexuality. I hadn’t been initiated into puberty. I felt a lot of rage and bewilderment.”
“As a young man I continued my withdrawal for survival even after the tumor was removed and puberty was initiated via the hormones. I felt way behind my peers, lacked confidence, was terrified of women and sexual encounters. In time I came to realize this was quite common, including my fear about penis size. But more importantly, I feared the girls would laugh at me for my lack of knowledge of sex. I fantasized about just being one of them–being kind, gentle, patient and understanding. But I was too afraid of being mocked to even risk dating.”
Through courage and determination, Jeremy has done a lot of personal growth work to overcome his fears and pain, and develop a sense of himself as a complete man. Through a wide variety of personal growth workshops, some with just men and others with both men and women, Jeremey has healed his sense of manhood and his relationship with women at many levels. ” I discovered I wasn’t such a lost man as I thought. There were other men I could relate to. I learned I could let myself feel and still be accepted. I have been able to share my fears and shames with women and discovered they respected and honored me for it. I found that there were women who found me attractive and responded to my emerging masculinity. I’ve found heart-connectedness from women and love for me that I never dreamed could have existed.”
“Therapy was also helpful and prepared me for the transformation workshops. And in a gender-balanced therapy group, I was first able to share with a woman how hard it was for me to be in the presence of an attractive woman, that I didn’t know where to put my desire and lust. All I knew how to do was bury it and wear a frozen mask. Acknowledging that opened me up to other experiences.”
In reflecting back on his experiences, Jeremy comments, “I think our community is lacking in safe places and opportunities to grieve. I think most people wait until they are alone to grieve when it should be a community experience. At the same time, grieving can lead to the abyss of self-pity in which case the loss is an excuse for not moving forward.”
Looking at Jeremy’s experience, when illness sets back emotional-sexual-social development, regardless of one’s chronological age, one still needs to have necessary experiences to finish “growing up.” “For my own struggle to grow up after the fact, the best support came from the hardest people who didn’t accept excuses and told me to get the job done and quit feeling sorry for myself.
Beth is 47 year old woman who now realizes that the sexual abuse she suffered as a child is at the heart of a mind-body trauma illness story. “I didn’t know until I was 35 that I had been sexually abused by my mother. It impacted me in many ways. My mother drank and had dissociative illness. To the best of my knowledge the abuse began when I was an infant. She was an episodic offender. When she was under a lot of stress, she’d molest me.”
Beth experienced a litany of physical problems that all tied back to childhood sexual abuse. She developed scoliosis. She started menstruating but stopped at 14. Her growth stopped as well, but was restored by taking thyroid hormone until she entered college. ” In retrospect, I didn’t want to be a woman. In my house it was unsafe. I had a growth spurt in college at 19, grew to 5’4.” My breasts grew three sizes.”
The most severe and disabling illness originated with recurrent bladder infections and back problems. ” I gave up for twenty years. All the doctors gave contradictory advice. I gave up on them, except for yoga, which helped. I felt good, was in a relationship that was hopeful, and I developed another bladder infection. I could hardly walk. I had interstitial cystitis. I had never heard of it. All I wanted was for my bladder to stop hurting. I was in chronic pain.”
In addition to the interstitial cystitis, Beth had vulvadinia, an inflammation of the nerves of the bladder, chronic fatigue, which is nerve-related, and then chemical sensitivities. “All these ailments were hooked up with each other. I felt like my body was rotting. The worst thing was that nobody was worried about it. Other than suicide, it’s not fatal! The medical system doesn’t get it about pain.”
“What saved me was the internet and hooking up with other people suffering from interstitial cystitis and the other ailments I was suffering from. I found out from other patients that pelvic floor physical therapy helped some people. I started this treatment and saw the relationship between my knotted up pelvis from sexual abuse and my pain. The incest had tightened me up so much it started this pain and disease process. Eventually the whole middle of my body turning into concrete. The bladder nerve endings were crushed and squeezed.”
The illness took its toll on Beth’s primary relationship. “The man I was involved with stuck with me through the hard part. However, the better things got, the worse the relationship got. He didn’t know how to get the support he needed. It was traumatizing for him.”
Beth has worked diligently to heal, creating her own treatment plan, integrating treatment methods that have made sense to her. She has recovered significantly and has had no bladder pain for three to four years. “Sometimes I have to pee a lot. Sometimes I have fatigue and sore muscles from my back rearranging itself. I still go to physical therapy a few times a week. It’s really hard to change what’s been going on since you were very young. I still feel permanently traumatized by the physical pain I went through. If I’d had adequate pain management, things would have been different.”
While Beth doesn’t yet know if she’ll recover fully, she keeps getting better and better. She was able to finish college, which was interrupted by the trauma pattern in her body during her college years. She has started dating again. She is much more able to consider what she really wants for her life, rather than spending all of her energy fighting pain or trying to heal from pain.
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO SEXUALITY: FINDING RESOURCES
The kinds of serious challenges discussed in this article provide an opportunity to crack through to the soul. “What is keeping people from the sacred act of sex is distrust and old hurts,” acknowledged Brenda. I think people need to learn how to touch each other in precious ways. I think we need to move society away from commercial and soul-less influences on our sexuality. Though sex-positive dialogues and community support, we can overcome the sex-spirit split, sex-negative and anti-aging messages that bombard the airwaves.
Psychologist and sex-spirit researcher Gina Ogden points out, “We are all facing obstacles to sexual-spiritual identity whether we are challenged or not. When you get sick, disabled, old or grieving, does your desire for sex decrease? Possibly? Does that matter? Maybe. How does society treat you? As if you’re asexual.” This is unfair and often untrue.
In her nationwide survey on sexuality and spirituality, Gina found “both men and women report more sex-spirit connection as they grow older. What they mean by this is 1. they’ve moved beyond religious and cultural sex-negative messages, and 2. they’ve gained the maturity to value the relational richness in long-term partnerships and the courage to value their new and perhaps occasional partnership without fear or worrying about” turning them into a conventional “form.”
Brenda recalls, “One of the greatest examples of sexual-spiritual exchange is found in the film, `Cocoon,’ when the lead male is `loved’ by the spirit of an alien who only could have relations at the core of our being. This was merger fully and totally that surpassed orgasm. I think this kind of exchange is truly possible when people truly love each other.”
Nonetheless, when working to overcome obstacles to sexuality, the following resources are often valuable:
1. Community. It makes a huge difference when someone facing an illness, disability or other challenge to sexuality, is surrounded by supportive community. Isolation is its own disease, making already challenging circumstances even harder to overcome.
2. “Out of the box” solutions. Jeremy notes, “People who have faced challenges both to their overall health and their sexuality need to be able to go to a space that is freed of the constraints of `mainstream’ society morals, i.e., intimacy only in marriage or monogamous relationships. We hunger for intimacy in a way most people can’t imagine, not necessarily because we get less of it, but because we think we do.”
3. Education and sensitivity training for medical professionals working with people facing sexual challenges. All the BASSN panelists suffered at the hands of sometimes even well-intentioned medical professionals, who simply lacked information and understanding of the person’s situation, treatment or condition, and/or displayed insensitivity to the physical, emotional and spiritual pain they were suffering.
4. The internet. Many of the BASSN panelists found both information and others going through similar experience through searching the internet.
5. Learning to touch each other deep inside. In our touch illiterate culture, we starve for safe, nurturing, and intimate touch, both emotional and physical. Through creating an emotionally safe climate, learning to speak and listen from the heart, and learning the language of physical touch, we can feed each other’s hearts and touch each other’s souls.
Sexual dysfunction is quite a common health issue in men nowadays. It refers to the problem that prevents an individual from enjoying or experiencing satisfaction or pleasure from sexual activity.
Now, let us find out that what triggers these sexual dysfunctions.
Major Causes of Sexual Dysfunction
The causes that trigger sexual dysfunctions in men can be broadly categorized under two divisions: Physical and Psychological.
Physical causes: Most of us are not aware of the facts that a number of health or medical conditions can lead to sexual dysfunctions and often wonder that why they are having problems with sexual functions. You will amazed to learn that a number of medical conditions like diabetes, neurological disorders, heart and vascular disease, some chronic diseases like liver or kidney failure and most importantly hormonal imbalances can lead to serious sexual problems in men.
Besides these factors, alcoholism, drug abuse and side-effects of certain types of medications, including few antidepressants drugs also affect sexual drive and functions.
Psychological causes: This factor is quite common nowadays, since most men suffer from work-related stress and anxiety and this affect their sexual performance greatly. Moreover, it has been studied that depression, marital issues or relationship problems or past sexual trauma can also adversely affect the sexual desire in men.
Here, we have discussed on some of the most common health problems in men related to sexual dysfunction.
1. Premature Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation is one of the most common sexual compliant in men. Estimations found that one out of three men are affected by this health issue. This occurs when a person ejaculates before or sooner after the intercourse. Both biological and psychological factors are responsible for this health problem. Though most men do not feel comfortable in discussing about the issue, it is treatable in most cases.
The primary symptom of premature ejaculation is ejaculation that occurs just before the beginning of the intercourse or shortly afterwards before the wish of either of the partner and causes stress. However, this problem may take place in all sexual situations, even while masturbating. This ailment is generally classified by doctors’ under tow categories: lifelong (primary) and acquired (secondary).
The International Society for Sexual Medicine has pointed out some essential features of lifelong premature ejaculation:
Ejaculation that most of the time happens within couple of seconds of intercourse.
The inability to hold back ejaculation just after the vaginal penetration.
Loss of interest in physical intimacy.
The symptoms of secondary premature ejaculation are found to be similar to the symptoms of lifelong premature ejaculation. However, there is a single key difference.
Secondary premature ejaculation commonly develops in men who have not suffered ejaculatory issues previously and have experienced satisfying physical relationships and acquired the health issue due to some reason.
Beforehand only psychological causes were held responsible for this ejaculatory problem. However, doctors are also now considering biological factors that may also contribute in developing this problem.
Problems of hormonal secretion in the body
Problems in the level of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters
Dysfunction of the reflex activity of the ejaculatory system
Infection or inflammation of the urethra or prostate
Damage of nervous system due to any trauma or surgery is also a rare cause of premature ejaculation
Some major psychological factors are:
Anxiety: Many men during the sexual intercourse are highly concerned in obtaining and maintaining their erection for longer period of time and they concentrate a lot on their sexual performance. This often leads to anxiety and the person rushes to ejaculate before time.
Stress: Any mental trauma or emotional strain often leads to stress. Stress affects human health adversely and it has been found that men suffering from stress often develop sexual problems like premature ejaculation.
Incompatible relationship: It has been commonly noticed that interpersonal issues are often responsible for this typical sexual dysfunction.
There are some rare drugs that affect the action of chemical messengers in the brain. This often contributes to premature ejaculation.
Treatments and drugs
Sexual therapy is quite effective in treating the symptoms of premature ejaculation and often prescribed by doctors. One of the common types of sexual therapy is masturbating few hours before the intercourse, so that ejaculation gets delayed during the sexual act. Some doctors also recommend avoiding vaginal penetration for a specific period of time and to focus on some other kind of sexual play to reduce stress or anxiety that many men experience during the intercourse.
Many doctors suggest certain antidepressants to treat this sexual health issue. Some urologists prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac) to delay ejaculation. However, it may take around 10 days to get effect from these drugs.
If the doctor finds no improvement in the timing of ejaculation, sometimes tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine (Anafranil) is also prescribed, which has proved to benefit individuals suffering from this specific disorder.
Topical anaesthetic creams
Topical anaesthetic medication is also prescribed by doctors to prevent fast ejaculation. They are applied on the penis shortly before the intercourse. This reduces the sensation during the intercourse and controls ejaculation. A number of reputed compounding pharmacies supply a range of topical anaesthetic creams. However, it is best to consult an experienced doctor who will prescribe you the suitable one, based on your medical history and reports.
Counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy
This is generally recommended by doctors in combination with medication. This is a kind of talk therapy where you need to converse with a mental healthcare expert. It has been found to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
2. Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, commonly termed as ED is the inability in men to sustain or maintain erection during the sexual intercourse. If erectile difficulty persists for a brief period, you can avoid visiting doctors. However, if it is a persisting problem, it is essential to visit an urologist to treat the health problem.
Difficulty in attaining an erection
Inability to sustain an erection
Only being able to attain erection while masturbating, but not at the time of sexual intercourse
Ageing is not the primary cause of erectile dysfunction as many young men also experience the problem. ED generally develops due to specific health condition.
The physical causes can be categorized in four sections:
Hormonal: inadequate hormonal secretion or abnormal level of hormone in body
Anatomical: some sort of defect with the physical structure of the penis
Vasculogenic: Insufficient flow of blood to the penis
Neurogenic: the nervous system gets affected (nerves, brain and spinal cord)
Keep reading to find out the common physical conditions that can lead to this disorder.
Treatment of enlarged prostate
Hypogonadism (low level of testosterone hormone)
Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism (overactive and underactive thyroid)
In some cases both physical and psychological causes trigger the disorder. For instance, a person suffering from diabetes may develop some sexual problem and may become stressed and anxious about it. Then the combination of both stress and diabetes may develop erectile dysfunction.
Test and diagnosis
You doctor may examine the penis to find out whether there is any structural issue with the organ. You may also need to do some blood tests to check the level of some essential hormones in your body.
Intracavernous injection test: A synthetic hormone is sometimes injected into the penis to boost the flow of blood. If no erection is found, it implies that the person is having issues with supply of blood or blood vessels and the doctor may prescribe an ultrasound scan.
Duplex ultrasound scan is also sometime prescribed to measure the flow of blood inside the penis.
To treat erectile dysfunction it is essential to do proper treatment of the underlying health conditions first. In many cases, it has been found that just by diagnosing the underlying health conditions, the issues of ED have been resolved.
In many cases oral pharmacological treatment is recommended by doctors to boost the ability to attain and maintain the erection. Some common types of medications are phosphodiesterase (PDE-5) inhibitors and apomorphine.
This is another effective pharmacological solution that is applied in the urethra to improve erection. It can be maintained with the help of an elastic band applied at the base of the penis.
As discussed earlier, this is one of the most effective treatments to improve the condition. Solutions for the injections are prepared with different components like alprostadil, papaverine and drug combinations. They are also convenient for patients who are not compatible with oral therapies.
However, ED treatment is recommended by doctors depending on several factors, including the age of the patient, medication tolerance, severity of the disease, underlying health conditions and more.
3. Low Libido
Low sexual desire is another health problem found in men. Though the figure of men having low libido is not alarming, according to Irwin Goldstein, the chief editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine and the director of sexual medicine at the Alvarado Hospital at San Diego, about one in five men have low sexual drive. And this is often termed as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
However, low libido in men should not be confused with erectile dysfunction, since it has been found that most men with low sexual drive have no issues in achieving erection.
Though ageing is a major factor for low sexual drive, there are also other reasons responsible for this disorder.
Causes of lack of libido in men:
Major disease such as diabetes
Underactive thyroid gland
Prescribed drugs: Many drugs particularly Proscar (finasteride) are often recommended by doctors to treat prostate problems. Such drugs affect the sexual drive of men.
Stress and depression
Each cause of reduced sexual drive has its own treatment. However some common changes in lifestyle like regular exercise to reduce bodyweight, limiting alcohol consumption, smoking cessation, a healthy diet can help in addressing the issue.
Whatever may be the problem, it is best to visit an experienced urologist to diagnose the issue effectively.
Hello Everyone, I am Agnes Parker. I am a professional digital marketing writer, also associated with reputed digital marketing companies. In this article I have focused on the three most common sexual dysfunctions suffered by men. I have collected these information from experienced pharmacists offering medication management service in Huntington Beach.