Home Anorgasmia Common Complaints Physical Problems Self Help Guide

Home

Common Complaints

You do not have to have a dysfunction to have sexual complaints. In fact often complaints are more general and are centered on more everyday types of problems with sex.

Frequent complaints are:

  1. Frequency of sexual activity
  2. Types of sexual activity
  3. Initiating or refusing sex
  4. Arguments over sex
  5. Attraction to others and sexual affairs

These complaints can just be a reflection of the normal challenges of developing and maintaining a relationship and a sexual identity. Often working within the relationship is a good place to start focusing.

It seems only natural that two people living together in a committed relationship will have differing opinions on what is enough sex and what is not enough. So the focus often will not be on the different patterns of desire, but on how this problem has previously been handled. Some solutions may leave one or the other partner angry, deprived, misunderstood, or rejected. Ideally a compromise can be reached that leaves both partners feeling satisfied and content. However when this does not happen, negative emotions can lead to nagging, coercion, routine and habitual involvement, or withholding of sex and affection.

Partners may also have different preferences on the types, conditions, or quality of sexual activity. Think about all of the different variables that can be associated with love making. There is the music, lighting, mood, touching, talking, method of contraception, and levels of desired intimacy. These are just a few factors that might preclude or encourage love making. With so many variables it seems very easy to understand how two people might have very different expectations and desires. It is important to communicate and resolve these differences or negative emotions might reduce sexual arousal and intimacy.

One of the least talked about problems in a relationship is initiating and refusing sex. This seems to be such a tense topic that often couples do not discuss it and instead painful emotions are denied and may begin to turn into accusations. These complaints are often patterned in such a way that one partner feels the other never initiates sex while the other partner may feel that s/he is never "allowed" to initiate. Other patterns are also common including one of not refusing sex because of negative emotional consequences.

 One pattern that couples can easily get caught up in is arguing over sex. Arguing can prevent couples from engaging in sex or sometimes they may routinely take place after sex. Eventually the hostilities can intensify and spill over into other aspects of the relationship. At its worst this pattern can bring about tension so severe that it can only be broken by having sex (which leads to more arguing) or by starting a whole new argument. When this happens that pattern is like a vicious circle that seems impossible to break.

Finally, while discovering an extra-marital affair within the marriage usually creates a crisis, for some even secret sexual attractions that are not acted upon create a troubling feeling of unease. The feelings tied up with this secret attraction will inevitably begin to effect your current sexual relationship.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES

Bradshaw, B. R., Wolfe, W. M., Wood, T. J., & Tyler, L. S. (1977). Counseling on Family Planning and Human Sexuality. New York: Family Service Associations of America.

Goldberg, D. D. (Ed.). (1985). Contemporary Marriage: Special Issues in
Couples Therapy. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.

Hawton, K. (1985). Sex Therapy: A Practical Guide. New York: Oxford.

Kennedy, E. (1989). Sexual Counseling. New York: Continuum.

Nadelson, C. C., & Marcotte, D. B. (Eds.). (1983). Treatment Interventions in Human Sexuality. New York: Plenum.

Renshaw, D. (1995). Seven Weeks to Better Sex. New York: Dell.

Wincze, J. P., & Carey, M. P. (1991). Sexual Dysfunction: A Guide for Assessment and Treatment. New York: Guilford Press.

Woody, J. D. (1992). Treating Sexual Distress. London: Sage.

The original article was written by Amy Letterman.  The above is an exerpt.