Sanctuary for the Abused
Sunday, August 13, 2006
COMMON MALE SEXUAL PROBLEMS
What About Low Sexual Desire?
Sometimes referred to as "hypoactive" sexual desire, this problem occurs in men who experience a diminished libido or sex drive. In these cases, the problem is not in becoming physiologically aroused. Rather, it is a lack of desire for sexual relations. Men with low sexual desire miss out on the enjoyment of sexual relations. Their partners also suffer from not feeling intimately connected with them. As with erectile dysfunction, the causes of low sexual desire can be mostly psychological, mostly medical, or both. Depression, anxiety, marital conflict, stress, a recent loss, unresolved bereavement, trauma, a history of sexual abuse, and certain personality traits are common psychological causes of low sexual desire. Medical factors can include aging, hormonal imbalances, medications, neurological disease, chronic pain syndromes, and many serious illnesses. Low sexual desire is best treated by an experienced psychologist and a physician.
What About Sexual Addiction?
Compulsive sexual behavior describes men who cannot control their sexual behavior. Sexual addiction may involve having an excessive need to have sex with one partner; or, it may involve excessive sex with multiple partners for which there is no emotional connection and no real satisfaction. Sexual "acting out" can cause the addict, his victim, and his partners serious psychological and physical harm. Engaging in high risk sexual behavior dramatically increases the chances of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. Sexual addiction almost always involves severe marital strain and can also result in serious legal, financial, occupational, and social problems.
The causes of sexual addiction are often rooted in emotional problems coexisting with a personality disorder (narcissism/ psychopathy) and are best treated through a variety of psychological therapies: cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and psychoeducational strategies. Marital and family therapy are often indicated, as well as long-term involvement in a 12-Step support group. Medications can also help control inappropriate sexual impulses, especially when the impulses are related to problems of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, and attention-deficit disorders.
What About Sexual Anxiety?
Many people are plagued by fears of sexual intimacy and deprive themselves of enormous physical and emotional pleasure. Adult sexual anxiety may result from childhood sexual abuse, lack of sexual education, religious teachings, parental attitudes towards sex, a history of dissatisfying sexual relationships, emotional conflicts regarding "normal" sexual behavior, shyness, or an "anxious personality." Sexual anxiety is best treated with various psychological and behavioral therapies.
What About Paraphilias?
These are a variety of disorders involving sexual arousal to "unusual" stimuli or from a nonconsenting person. Paraphilias include: pedophilia (attraction to children), exhibitionism (arousal by exposing oneself in public), voyeurism (arousal by watching others engage in sexual activitiy), froteurism (a desire and compulsion to "touch" others while in a public place", fetishism (arousal only to certain objects or to selected body parts), sadism (arousal by inflicting real or imagined pain inflicted on another person), or masochism (arousal by having real or imagined pain inflicted on oneself). Normal men and women may be aroused by a wide range of stimuli. They consent freely and respectfully to engage in these experiences. However, people with paraphilias are often aroused only by one stimulus; or, by violating the rights of another person(e.g., children or nonconsenting adults).
What About Sexual Abuse?
Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse (especially during childhood or adolescence) often results in adult sexual disorders: sexual anxiety, problems with intimacy, low sexual desire, sexual arousal problems, orgasmic dysfunction, depression, and low self-esteem. These problems are best treated with psychological, psychiatric, and medical interventions.