Sexual Health Issues that Couples Face
By Great Sex Coach Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.
There are a variety of sexual health issues that impact a couples relationship. Finding effective ways to address these issues is important for keeping the relationship strong and maintaining satisfying sexual relations.
Most couples who are engaged in a long term committed relationship will face some sort of sexual health issue at one point or another. It is an inevitable and natural course of events as they go through the many phases and challenges of building a life together.
A variety of factors such as age, stress, children, unexpected life events, careers, illness, fatigue, relocating, menopause, prescriptions, family, alcohol or drugs, mid life crises etc., all impact the sexual health of a couple. Different issues will present themselves at different times of their life and fluctuations and changes in their sexual health can be expected.
It's difficult to define what is considered to be a "healthy" or "normal" level of sexual health. It is dependent upon many complex factors like cultural attitudes, religious belief, illness or disability, attitudes, behavior and biology.
What's normal and healthy for one couple may not be the case for another couple. For example:
Joe and Nancy are both young, energetic, in good health, have no children and both have a high sex drive. They have sex several times a day almost every day.
Bill and Patty have 3 children, Bill has a disability that makes intercourse difficult to achieve. Patty has a medium sex drive. Their main sexual activity consists of oral sex once a week with lot's of non-sexual intimacy in between.
Tom and Jackie both have a very low sex drive and would much rather share a hike in the woods together than a hot and steamy sex session. They engage in intercourse only now and then.
All of these scenarios are normal and the couples are quite content with their situations. Each couple has to find what is comfortable and effective for them, however here are some general guidelines.
Sexual Health Questions for Couples to Ask?
- Is each partner satisfied and comfortable with the sexual relationship?
- Is either one of the partners experiencing emotional or physical discomfort?
- Are the partners experiencing conflict?
- Is one or both of the partners experiencing guilt, anger, anxiety, resentment or shame?
- Is sex pleasurable and desirable for both partners?
If you answer no to all the questions above then there is probably not a problem with the sexual health of your relationship. If you answer yes to any of these questions, then this is an area that needs work. If a resolution is not found, it can cause a great deal of problems for not only your sex life, but the whole relationship.
One of the most common sexual health questions that both men and women have is about sex drive. There's a lot of confusion about what is normal. It is also one of the issues that causes some of the most frequent distress and conflict between couples.
Women's Sexual Health Issues that Impact the Relationship
Probably the most common sexual health issue that women and couples face is the loss of sexual desire. You know the scenario, "he wants it - but she doesn't." Men sometimes struggle with loss of desire as well, but not as frequent.
The problem this presents for the couple is that the partner with the lower level of desire feels angry and/or resentful when they are pressured to engage in sexual activity and the partner with the higher level of desire feels unloved, undesirable and deprived when forced to go without.
Another very common sexual health issue for women is the inability orgasm. Men and women alike often don't have a good understanding of what a woman needs to reach orgasm.
This results in the woman engaging in sexual activity that is not very pleasurable for her and thus she may feel angry and resentful or she may no longer want to have sex at all.
The following tips may help you out with these issues.
Men's Sexual Health Issues that Impact the Relationship
Two of the most common male sexual health issues are erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. The impact of these problems is much more profound for the male than it is the couple. With education and intervention, there are many ways to work around the problems that these issues create for the couple's sex life.
For example: the male can pleasure his woman with oral sex or the use of toys and the woman will be quite content with this.However, the male usually continues to struggle with feelings of inadequacy, lower self-esteem and lack of self-confidence in the bedroom, when he can't perform as he desires.
Another very common sexual health issue for the man is in regard to penis size. Men are unnecessarily overly concerned with the size of their penis. They are misinformed about the importance of this to the woman. This is only a problem in the man's head. Women are not really concerned with the size of the penis. They want a lover who cares for them and is attentive to their needs. That old saying "it's not the size that counts, it's all in how you use it" is very true. If you struggle with this issue, please read my article Does Penis Size Matter.
Discover the three most common sex mistakes that men make and your woman will be a more enthusiastic and eager lover.
It's important to keep in mind that although we've broken these issues down into categories between men and women, that any individual sexual health issues will impact the relationship. If one partner experiences a problem, then both partners are affected.
Rekindle Your Sex Life
One sexual health issue that affects both men and women in a long-term and monogamous relationship, is a loss of passion and excitement. The most important point to keep in mind is that it is possible to keep your committed relationship hot and passionate for the long-haul with just a little extra effort and time. Take a look at the following pages for a some guidance in this area.
Some other common sexual health issues that couples face may include vaginal pain, lack of lubrication, masturbation, sexual fantasies, disability, chronic illness, infidelity, birth control, yeast infections, prostate problems, menopause, performance anxiety, sexual addiction and STDS to name a few.
Resolving Couple's Sexual Health Issues
Regardless of what sexual health issue a couple is facing there are a variety of very basic techniques that can be used to find a resolution.
Each partner must be completely open and honest about their sexual needs and feelings. The key words here are "honesty" and "openness." The couple must be willing to be completely honest with themselves and one another about what they need and how the problem is impacting them.
The #1 Tip for Great Sex - Sexual Communication may help you out with that.
Remembering to express your appreciation on a regular basis is also a crucial part of effective communication and you can find lots of creative ways at Ways to Say I Love You
Learning how to talk dirty, is another form of communication that brings a variety of benefits to the relationship, for both men and women.
Going hand in hand with communication is "listening." You can't have one without the other. The key word here is "really" listening. Each partner needs to feel that they have been truly "heard" by the other partner. Each partner needs to allow the other to express themselves without blame or ridicule.
Try to understand one another and then compromise and negotiate terms to find a solution that is acceptable to both partners. For example:
Tom has a very high sex drive and Sara has been going through a period when she hasn't been in the mood very often. Tom is angry and hurt. He feels deprived and unloved. Sara is resentful that Tom is pressuring her to have sex and thus even more reluctant to give it to him.
A negotiation they agree upon is that when Sara isn't in the mood Tom won't pressure her to engage and in return Sara will meet Tom's sexual needs by giving him a nice hand job or oral pleasure. Tom now feels important and knows Sara cares about his needs and Sara feels that Toms is being respectful of her needs, so both partners are happy and content.
- Understanding Needs
The sexual needs of men and women are quite different and poorly understood by both sexes. Understanding these differences in needs is crucial to building a satisfying sexual relationship that can withstand the test of time.
If the couple has trouble with communication, listening or reaching a compromise then talking it out with a qualified sex professional is often very helpful. Sometimes a couple needs help in developing sexual and communication skills, or could use a good dose of basic sex education to dispel some dysfunctional beliefs interfering in sexual satisfaction or interaction. A qualified sex professional can help with this as well.
Couple's also need to become aware of common sexual myths that may have a negative impact on their relationship and interfere in achieving the pleasure they desire, be aware of the risks of infidelity and how to protect their relationship from them, identify their sexual needs and understand why good sex is good for their relationship such as those found in:
Another component for building healthy sexual relationships is to understand the spirituality of sex, which can be learned by reading:
It's also important to note that some sexual health issues are more serious than others, such as in the case of sexual addiction, sexually transmitted diseases and sometimes menopause that may require seeking medical or psychological treatment. Basic communication and negotiation skills alone are not likely to resolve these adequately.
Sex Does the Body Good
On the flip side of sexual health, there are many benefits that a healthy sex life can provide physically, emotionally and spiritually to both partners. Sex boosts the immune system, mood, energy and self-esteem, increases coping skills, is good for circulation and the heart, increases inner peace and feelings of well-being, relieves pain, improves sleep, reduces stress and anxiety, decreases the risk of prostate cancer, increases intimacy and strengthens emotional bonds, reduces risk of infidelity, lengthens life-span, and improves the overall quality of life to name a few.
Sex During Pregnancy
Many couples have a wide variety of questions about sex during pregnancy, but it is hard to find legitimate information on this topic. Maintaining sexual intimacy throughout pregnancy is important for your relationship and generally poses no risks for the baby under normal circumstances. For more information on this subject, buy books from reputable sources and talk openly and honestly with your physician.