Sexual intimacy can be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences a couple can share, yet sexual problems are not uncommon. It is estimated that between 30% and 45% of Americans today suffer with some form of sexual problem. Some of the most common concerns include anxiety about sex, impotence, lack of sexual desire, uncertainty about sexual orientation, recovery from sexual abuse, loneliness, body image issues, and promiscuity.
Sexual issues are usually a result of negative feelings or traumatic experiences which prevent individuals from being able to fully express their sexual selves during sexual intimacy. We all have a unique model of sexuality, formed by family messages, childhood experiences, media, and religious influences. These messages can sometimes prevent the development of healthy intimacy.
Sexual problems can also surface due to mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, or they can stem from physical conditions resulting from certain conditions or medications. Additionally, many women experience sexual issues from the change in hormone levels after childbirth or menopause.
Sexuality involves many different aspects of our lives that go beyond the act of sexual intercourse. Sexuality can be described in terms of sexual behavior, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. These are all important internal factors, as they are responsible for influencing our unconscious expressions of sexuality. While these internal factors are, in part, genetically determined, they aren’t always static and can change over time as we age and experience new people, places, and situations.
Some of the external factors related to sexuality include gender socialization, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, etc. However, the two most influential factors on sexuality throughout history have been culture and religion. Culture is an essential way for human beings to define and express themselves. Cross-culturally sexuality can mean different things, with different restrictions on the way it is expressed. Religion can influence sexuality by either forbidding it or by giving it purpose and celebration.
Sexual energy is very powerful and can have a profound impact on a person’s mood, thoughts, and general state of being. It can be very difficult to discuss one’s sexuality due to the level of shame our culture has placed around the subject. Therefore, it is important to find the right therapist in order to feel safe talking about any difficulties, fears, memories, fantasies, or desires regarding sexuality. If you or your partner is suffering from sexual issues that are affecting your relationship, contact me today to schedule an appointment in my Longmont or Boulder, CO, office.