Posted: December 19, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The author/counselor Tish Hedger of this article is no longer with MyCounselor; however, wanting to continue to share their expertise on the subject, we would like to cite, credit and thank Tish Hedger for their contributions to our clients.
Having difficulties in the bedroom? Men and women both face challenges at times in the sex department. But you don’t have to let dysfunction get you down 🙂 Sexual disorders and struggles can be overcome so the problems, male or female, lead to better communication and a richer physical intimacy.
What does a couple do when the bedroom has lost its sizzle? They do what some of you reading this article just did…GOOGLE… “Why isn’t my sex life working?” or some similar topic. I imagine you are reading this article because you or your partner is disappointed about the sexual aspect of your marriage.
Sex is not turning out like your friends, TV, the movies, or even a previous relationship predicted.
There are three categories of sexual problems: physical, relational, and a combination of the two.
EXAMPLES OF PHYSICAL ISSUES:
EXAMPLES OF RELATIONAL ISSUES:
COMBINATION ISSUES (MORE LIKELY):
Sexuality is one of the most openly discussed topics on TV and the news and yet I find that most couples cannot even say the words penis, vagina, and orgasm as it relates to their personal sex life without it becoming a threatening, scary conversation. A sexual conversation needs to be held fully clothed when you are ready to try it!
Treatment for overcoming sexual barriers in marriage depends on the length of time the problem has existed and the severity of the after-effects on the relationship. Treatment differs between the 70 year-old loving couple who wants to resume sexual intercourse after the narrowing of the vaginal walls and the couple who blames each other for sexual issues and threatens divorce if their partner doesn’t get it together sexually.
Normally a couple struggling with sexual intimacy must put the issue “on hold” for a season, quit blaming each other, learn to communicate, care for their own heart effectively, and eventually learn to love their spouse again.
Often instead of learning to love, spouses try two less effective ways of change:
Instead of the above options, couples need to commit to working on the problem together as a team. Effective teamwork starts with clear communication. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson is a great book for learning how to have difficult conversations effectively. Another option might be The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley which contains an effective communication tool called Heart Talk.
However, just reading books will not change anything; you must take the concepts and practice them. This is where a good marriage therapist and a group of trusted friends would be a great asset.
Once the relationship is stable and there are no threats of divorce, affairs, and when the name calling stops, the relationship will truly be a safe place. After gaining relational stability, then it is time to look at each person’s individual sexual history. Perhaps there are beliefs or events from your personal past keeping you stuck in an ongoing cycle of hurts and disappointment in the bedroom.
A great resource for exploring beliefs around sexuality is The Sexual Healing Journey by Wendy Malz. If there is sexual abuse in your background (which is defined as any time someone made you feel uncomfortable in an unwanted sexual manner) you made need to get some professional help to heal.
Lastly, it is time to look at the couples’ sexual relationship. Making time for sexual conversation and activity is critical. The number one reason women do not have intercourse more often is because of fatigue. You cannot heal a broken sexual relationship without time (or any relationship issues for that matter!)
Many factors lead to married people feeling like roommates instead of passionate lovers. Among the ones, I hear the most are busyness, child-centered parenting, negative beliefs about sex, past abuse, and TV/electronics in the bedroom. Honestly, I think a ban on all cell phone, tablet and TV use after 9 PM would lead to an increase in sexual frequency.Back to top