Sexuality is a central aspect of being human and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical and religious and spiritual factors. (The World Health Organization)
Sexual health includes both physical aspects as well as psychological aspects such as being comfortable with who you are sexually. For example, do you feel you can be relaxed during sexual interactions or do you worry about what you look like or sound like? Are you open to new ways of being sexual? Are you too tired, too bored, too angry or too busy to have sex with your partner? Do you worry that you are not normal sexually… the list goes on. Sexual health may encompass all of the sexual beliefs, attitudes and feelings you have about yourself and others.
Most people will experience some sort of sexual difficulty sometime in their life. Sexual difficulties can feel like a small hurdle in your sexual story or it may feel like a massive problem. Sexuality is a lifelong experience and is influenced by past and current circumstances – stress, loss, worry, having babies and being parents, busyness, fatigue, overburdened carer roles, poor communication or relationship conflict, alcohol, drugs and medication, disability, separation, immigration, and other changes to life circumstances can all play a part in how you feel sexually. It can be a change in the way you feel about yourself or your partner sexually and can include:
- a lack of sexual desire for someone you like or love
- a lack of orgasm,
- feeling unaroused during sexual relations
- erectile dysfunctions and premature ejaculation
- boredom in sexual relations,
- a lack of intimacy,
- pain during sexual relations,
- negative feelings such as shame, guilt and embarrassment, and
- a range of other feelings that pull you away from wanting to have sexual relations with people you would like to be sexual with.
Another contributor to sexual difficulties can come from the way you were socialised and the sorts of messages you were exposed to during your upbringing. Many of these messages contain myths about sexuality that have been exacerbated by media reports and poor sexual education. Concerns such as:
“If I love him and am attracted
to him I should want sex”
“Happy couples are having sex twice weekly –
what’s wrong with us”
“I don’t often orgasm so he’s a lousy lover”
“I used to always have an erection
but now I’m failing my partner”
can often be fuelled by unrealistic expectations about one’s sexuality which can go on to affect all aspects of the relationship. Sexual difficulties can evoke feelings of inadequacy and insecurity about oneself, feelings of disappointment, anger and resentment at oneself or a partner, or a sense of having a lack of confidence in who one is sexually.
If you are interested in finding out more or making an appointment please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0400 142 018.