The big discovery fifty years ago about men and women’s sexuality was how similar they were in terms of their biology. The big advance recently has been a clearer understanding of how different women are from men in their sexual psychology and their experience of sexuality.
The quality of a woman’s sexual experience depends on many factors. These include how secure she feels about herself and her partner; how accepted and desired she feels in the relationship; and the overall level of balance and satisfaction in her life. Attempts at “quick fixes” that do not address these issues are not likely to succeed.
For better or worse, when a relationship has become sexually or emotionally unrewarding, a woman’s body will eventually send her a clear signal that this is so. Often that signal will be a loss of sexual desire.
Sexual desire is complex. Loss of sexual desire is often the final result of a process that may begin with unsatisfying sex; difficulty sustaining sexual arousal; difficulty reaching orgasm; feeling undesired by a partner; sexual pain or vaginismus; cultural or religious concerns or conflicts; negative body image; or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Biological factors are important to consider as well.
Magazines and self-help books are full of advice for jump-starting desire in women and couples. But such tactics will only get you so far. Very often a woman’s loss of sexual desire is simply her body’s way of telling her that something in her life needs more attention.
Because there’s no such thing as “just sex”
Often your best strategy is to take an honest look at the sexual and emotional experiences you’ve been having. In what ways have your experiences been making you feel good about yourself, and in what ways not? Realistically, what can you change, and what not?
Over more than 20 years as a sex therapist in Manhattan, I’ve helped many women consider these kinds of questions. If you’re like most of these women, you want practical advice. But you also want a place to think and reflect. You don’t want to feel judged, but you do want clear, honest feedback.
I offer therapy and counseling for concerns such as lack of sexual desire; problems with sexual arousal (such as a tendency to “lose” sexual arousal during lovemaking); difficulty focusing during sex; inability to climax with a partner; inability ever to climax; lack of meaning or enjoyment from sex; disparity in level of sexual desire; sexual boredom; feeling undesired by one’s partner; problems with intimate communication; unproductive fighting; infidelity; unconsummated marriage; religious concerns and conflicts regarding sexuality; compulsive sexuality; sex addiction; love addiction; pelvic pain problems; pain on intercourse; vaginismus (involuntary pelvic muscle contraction that interferes with intercourse); sexual aversion; sexual avoidance; negative body image; loss of desire in long-term relationships; sexual, emotional, and relationship problems stemming from sexual, emotional, or physical abuse; and sexual effects of emotional or medical illness and/or medications.
I also see many individuals and couples who’ve not had success with previous treatment for sexual and relationship problems.
If you think sex and relationships might have more to offer you than you’re currently getting — I invite you to search through this website, and to consider making an appointment.