Inhibited sexual desire refers to a low level of sexual interest resulting in a failure to initiate or respond to sexual intimacy. Although the problem of low sex drive is usually associated with the female partner, loss of desire can be common in both men and women.
According to Barry and Emily McCarthy, authors of “Rekindling Desire”, "inhibited desire is the most common sexual dysfunction, effecting one in three couples. Desire problems drain intimacy and good feelings from the relationship. One in five married couples has a non-sexual marriage (being sexual less than ten times a year). Three in ten non-married-couples who have been together longer than two years have a non-sexual relationship."
Although Barry and Emily McCarthy specifically name desire problems as the most common sexual dysfunction affecting one in three couples, other sexual problems may impact on a couple’s relationship. Individual male problems (premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction), female problems (painful sex and vaginismus), orgasmic and intimacy problems may also having damaging consequences and lead to a non-sexual relationship.
Intimacy is one of the most illusive and one of the most commonly presenting issues for couples in my clinical practice.
Emotional Intimacy is essentially communication, it is being able to share your ‘inner world’, your deepest thoughts and feelings with a partner you love. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship.
Physical Intimacy involves physical contact, from gently placing a hand on the shoulder or back, a peck on the cheek or lips, holding hands, a cuddle, from touch to the most intimate connections between two human beings. The more frequently you touch, the more your partner feels reassured and cared for. Many, however, find it difficult to share some types of closeness and touch.
Why is it so difficult for couples to seek sex therapy?
Beginning any form of therapy is daunting, but in my experience people find it harder to start couple sex therapy than individual sex therapy. This may explain why so many couples put off getting help. Some wait so long that by the time they contact me, they are in despair of ever rekindling the love and affection they once had. In some cases a couple may have noticed that they are beginning to drift apart. The more distant they become, the longer it will take to regain lost love, affection and intimacy. That’s why I suggest that even if you’re thinking about sex therapy as a couple, or starting the journey without your partner, it’s best to start the process immediately.
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