There are weeks like you feel like you’re meeting every deadline with ease and impressing your boss with your stellar work ethic and brilliance and then there are weeks that can be described as a professional faceplant. Or, there are the days when you and your bestie are vibing and then nights when you get into a tipsy fight over something silly, like who is going to call the Uber. Ebbs and flows are a natural, normal part of life, but when you happen to have what feels like a downward spiral in your sex life, you might raise a question of worry.
Especially for those couples who have been having sex for several years, figuring out how to maintain your level of intimacy, your desire for one another and a hot sex life is a big responsibility. And while it definitely takes two to tango, sometimes you might need a third. Nope, not a threesome (unless that’s what you want) but rather, a professional who specializes in sexual advice and therapy and can guide you through improving your relationship. These experts have likely heard and seen it all, so what you think is abnormal, is probably just another day in the office for them.
Here, they share what most couples struggle with in the bedroom:
1. Not Being Able To Communicate What They Need
“In my sex therapy practice some of the most common struggles I see are individuals lacking the ability to communicate openly about sex with their partners. This sounds really simple, but it's actually really complex. There is so much guilt, shame, historical trauma, fear, and socialization around avoiding conversations about sex. Yet when we are having sex we are suddenly supposed to be mind readers with magic hands and genitals, perfectly able to give pleasure and connection. Nope. Sex is something to talk about, collaborate in, explore, understand and transform through practice and feedback,” -Angie Gunn LCSW, Sexuality Expert at Talkspace
2. Not Understanding Basic Anatomy
“Basic anatomy and sexual health information is severely limited amongst many clients, which dramatically impacts intimacy. How long does it take the female genitals to become erect/engorged and aroused? Can a non-erect penis reach climax? Where is the g-spot and what is squirting? How long and where should I touch before going right for the genitals? These and many more important questions speak to a lack of basic sexuality education and information that can dramatically improve sex,” -Angie Gunn LCSW, Sexuality Expert at Talkspace
3. Struggles With Shame And Desire
“I’ve worked with a lot of women who have come in stating ‘there is something wrong with me, I just don’t feel any sexual desire’ or ‘sex feel like a chore, I could go without it.’ While there are some women who can have either age-related or medically-caused low desire, frequently the heart of the issue is twofold: first, women expect to feel spontaneous arousal that turns on like a switch, and secondly, women feel like if they don’t want sex that indicates they have no desire. The reality is, for a lot of women desire is something that happens in-response-to, not spontaneously. Switching the focus from the pressure of spontaneous arousal to willingness/receptiveness, and responsive arousal can make a huge difference for women who feel low desire. Also, frequently what women desire and find arousing is not just sex, it is intimacy and closeness with their partner. Shifting the focus to creating a more sexy and intimate environment in the relationship can help tap into and reawaken libido,” -Marina Voron, MA, LMFY, co-founder and clinical director at Nassau Wellness
5. Not Being Able To Stay Erect
“Men frequently come in with anxiety due to premature ejaculation or feeling like they are not lasting long enough. For the majority of these men there is a great deal of anxiety and shame surrounding this issue. There is a lot of pressure these men put on themselves and a lot of negative meaning they attribute to not lasting as long as they feel they should,” -Marina Voron, MA, LMFY, co-founder and clinical director at Nassau Wellness
6. How To Handle Mismatched Sex Drives
“Frequently one partner will initiate intimate activity not realizing the other partner isn't in the mood at the moment. Later when the partner that wasn't in the mood is, they don't clearly express it and their cues aren't picked up. This often causes the partner giving the ‘cues’ to become frustrated and then even less responsive later,” - Dr. Steve McGough, director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, and Associate Professor of Clinical Sexology at IASHS
7. Not Having Enough Time To Make Sex Intimate
“Daily schedules can make things difficult to set aside time to be with each other, especially after having children. With less time many partners don't feel they get the emotional intimacy, as well often women end up not achieving orgasm as often,” - Dr. Steve McGough, director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, and Associate Professor of Clinical Sexology at IASHS
8. Not Being Able To Orgasm Through Sex
“Only a small percentage of women achieve orgasm through penetration alone, and often their partners aren't proficient helping them achieve orgasm manually or orally,” -Dr. Steve McGough, director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, and Associate Professor of Clinical Sexology at IASHS
9. Struggling With a Negative Body Image
“Many women — and men — are embarrassed of their bodies. Stress from being unclothed around their partner often causes them to both avoid intimacy and have reduced physical responsiveness during intimacy,” -Dr. Steve McGough, director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, and Associate Professor of Clinical Sexology at IASHS
10. Not Being Able To Express Sexual Health Concerns
“Many issues can happen, including vaginismus (pain during intercourse) or vulvodynia (more generalized pain ranging from the vulva onward). As well endometriosis and other gynecological issues can cause terrible pain during and after women's monthly cycle. Often women are embarrassed to talk with their partner and doctor about these issues, which makes dealing with it even more challenging,” -Dr. Steve McGough, director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, and Associate Professor of Clinical Sexology at IASHS
11. Struggling To Be Vulnerable
“When couples deal with emotional issues, I introduce more tantric based practices. This can start with learning how to unwind and connect with one another through different senses, like simply gazing into one another’s eyes. This often brings up our vulnerability. You'll be surprised how many of us are uncomfortable with people seeing us raw and open even if we are intimate with them. Soul gazing brings up a lot of emotions from tears, sadness, laughter, adoration and more. I also teach them how to shut out the outside noise and learn how to breathe with one another. This practice allows the couples to be more aware what their bodies are doing and resetting the stress levels that we take with us through the days. This is best to do before sexual sessions take place, so that each person is coming in the bedroom more calm, relaxed, and yearning which is great so that we aren't missing out on orgasms,” -Davia Frost, sexpert and certified sex and intimacy coach
So the next time you worry if your issue is strange? Remember it's not —and asking for help is always a smart idea. After all, you deserve the pleasure!