Is your low libido affecting your relationship? Or could it be sexual trauma?

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Is your low libido affecting your relationship? Or could it be sexual trauma?

Are you struggling with low libido and find that you have no interest in engaging with your partner and are always rejecting his or her sexual advances? Or have you experienced a sexual trauma in your past and are now wary about intimacy? Or you might have been shamed if you weren’t accepted for your sexuality and made to feel it’s wrong. Whatever it is that is holding you back from a healthy physical relationship, help is at hand.

We may have learn about contraception and STDs as a teenager at school – a necessary part of adolescence of course. Some will pick up the act of sex through porn. Too much full-on visual content that lands on a teenager’s lap at a time when our brains are highly influenced and shaped by experiences.

We drift into adulthood fumbling around through the labyrinth of sexual stimulation, poses and how to achieve the final goal, the orgasm. Have you ever learned how to really experience an intimate, trusting and loving connection with a partner?

When did you last have sex with your partner?

Over time, intimacy often drops away in couples, regardless of sexual orientation. I’ve worked with many couples who own up to not having had sex in a year and sometimes even many years; whilst with others it’s a three times a year occasion. Even some newlyweds will say that sex dropped off during their honeymoon and didn’t recover years into their marriage.

It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of one partner always initiating intimacy and the other constantly rejecting, leading to sex being effectively “off the menu” or becoming ‘duty sex’.

Trust yourself to open up

Add into this dynamic the possibility that one person may have experienced a sexual trauma (including abuse), either in their childhood, or as an adult and it’s not difficult to understand why they might not be trusting enough to fully open to a new partner.

If any of this sounds familiar, you might have tried to be logical about why and how you’re avoiding sex. You might tell yourself that it’s in the past and you need to get over it. But despite those thoughts, every time you get close to your partner and prepare to enjoy some physical intimacy, your body tenses. As a woman, you might feel dry and have painful penetrative sex, whilst as a man you might experience erectile dysfunction.

I’ve worked with women who, despite feeling tense, anxious and finding sex uncomfortable, will give in after being badgered by their partners for weeks. They will go into a freeze state until it’s over then feel bad about themselves afterwards.

I’ve worked with men experiencing premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. Providing there are no medical conditions at play, performance anxiety will impact on sexual arousal as does trying to initiate sex several times and then finally hearing – ‘go on then, but make it quick’.

Deal with the trauma

To work out whether your past is influencing your lack of intimacy and sexual relations, you need to deal with any trauma first. At this stage it’s essential that you pause any sexual activity and seek help from a qualified therapist.  

It’s important to remember that sexual trauma is embedded in the cell memory of your body triggering a freeze state and loss of control. For you to feel in the mood again and become comfortable connecting intimately with a partner, you need to deal with the cause of the tension, anxiety or trauma. And even though you might prefer to avoid it completely, your sexual wellbeing is connected to your overall wellbeing as there is an inextricable link between emotions and sex.

Connecting in new ways

Sex toys, faking it until you make it or regular sex nights just won’t cut it. It will only continue to trigger the trauma embedded in your nervous system. It doesn’t deal with the underlying issues that drive the avoidance or diversionary tactics.

Therapy involves both partners. So many times I’ve heard one partner asking the other – ‘are you fixed yet?’ or ‘will you be fixed?’  You will need to be patient, supportive and understanding. The key here is to slowly work on building trust, connection and gradual arousal. In some cases, it may take longer than you think for things to change for the better.

During therapy, you will be advised as a couple to have plenty of hugs and enjoy some gentle touching, remembering to keep away from the crucial areas – genitals and breasts. When I work with couples, it’s about learning to connect in other ways and not being in a hurry to chase an orgasm. Imagine you’re building a campfire without fire lighters – it will take time to get the flame going. Patience and gentle approach will have your sexual fire burning.

If you need additional help and support so you address your low libido and enjoy a healthy and enjoyable sexual relationship with your partner, call Carla Devereux on 0121 745 9044 to book an appointment.

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Psychotherapy delves deep into the root causes of your symptoms.  Psychotherapy in Solihull, encompasses a multitude of approaches, each offering a wide range of tools that help different people.