Sexual dysfunctions: the snake that bite its own tail
Sexual dysfunctions are all those situations in which your sexual satisfaction or your sexual response are being affected and this prevents you from participating in a desired sexual relations. They affect both men and women and do not have to be associated with age or sexual orientation.
Our sexuality is valued, albeit privately and intimately, as one of the most important aspects of our lives. However, it is well known that throughout history, human sexuality has been a nest of taboos, prejudice and censorship. The repression of sexuality, which is not good, the curbing of desire and the generalised ignorance on the subject not only causes us to be unable to know, express and enjoy our sexuality to the full, but on many occasions it also causes the appearance of more serious difficulties which prevent us from enjoying it and which harm our relationships, both as a couple and on a social level, as they damage self-esteem and general satisfaction with life.
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Although the statistics are confusing, due to the disagreement that usually exists in the classification of sexual dysfunctions, they indicate a fairly high prevalence. Masters and Johnson, pioneers in human sexuality research in the 60s, indicated that 50% of heterosexual couples had some sexual dysfunction. Currently, according to the Andalusian Institute of Sexology and Psychology (2002) the sexual dysfunction for which most people consult is erectile dysfunction, which covers 48% of consultations. Premature ejaculation follows with 28.8%, followed by hypoactive sexual desire (8%), female anorgasmia (7.4%), vaginismus (1.6%) and male orgasm disorders (0.4%).
How do I know if I have any sexual dysfunction?
The moment you feel discomfort or dissatisfaction in relation to your sexual behaviour. For me, the dysfunction starts when the person him or herself is not comfortable in his sexual relationships, not when the body does not respond as society dictates it should (e.g. “A real man can stand more than x minutes”, if you are satisfied with your ejaculation time and your partner is too, there is no real sexual dysfunction). In other words, it is a subjective perception.
How they interfere with the quality of life?
Our body is a means to pleasure. If it does not work as we would like it to, that pleasure will be invaded, and does it not provide pleasure and quality of life in every sense? If our sexual relations do not provide us with satisfaction we will stop maintaining them, when numerous studies say that one of the variables associated with sexual satisfaction is the frequency with which they are had, both for men and women. Moreover, as it is evident, not only the couple’s relationship in bed is deteriorating, but also the confidence in oneself, the self-esteem, and in case of having a stable partner, the communication with this one and the general satisfaction with the relationship is also detrimental.
As usual, but not the best choice, sexual problems are usually lived in silence. This only generates serious internal conflicts (and with the partner), consequently, diminishing the quality of life.
Why it is important to treat them?
Sexual dysfunctions often become a vicious circle. It starts by having an episode in which our body has not reacted as we wanted (we have lost or not achieved an erection, suddenly we do not feel like having sex, I do not manage to reach a climax or I ejaculate earlier than I would like). The next time you have sex, you leave with some anticipatory anxiety in your body fears that it will happen again; this anxiety is what makes your body not working again. So, until you stop trying (“I’m not going to enjoy it at all” or “Why should I try if I’m not going to succeed” or “I’m useless” or “I want to satisfy you and I can’t”). In short, you enter a loop from which it is very difficult to get out and for which you need, in the vast majority of cases, therapeutic help.
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Talking about problems related to sexuality produces very complex emotions such as guilt, shame or feelings of failure. This is why many people and couples find it very difficult to take the step to go to therapy. We know that it is very difficult, firstly, to accept that you have a problem that you are usually ashamed to admit to yourself and to others, and secondly, to have the courage to ask for help. Many couples spend an average of 3 years without talking about solving the problem and 5 years before they go to therapy.
The main reason why it is important to treat them is because problems in bed produce emotional pain (and physical pain in some dysfunctions) that can affect self-esteem and your quality of life in general. It is important that you do not let the emotions that we talked about before invade you and which do not let end that vicious circle, since they are precisely the ones that feed it.
By Brenda R. Bodemer