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#1 LACK OF EMOTIONAL INTIMACY
Women are more likely to experience this than men, says Dariusz P. Skowronski, adjunct professor of Psychological Studies at Temple University, Japan, and founder of Bright Life Counselling. Dissatisfaction with her marriage, a loss of trust in her husband, and other relationship concerns can all affect the emotional intimacy between two partners.
When these concerns are not communicated, they can make a woman feel distant from her partner, and this can, in turn, decrease her desire to be sexually intimate with them.
How to solve it "Communication is very important," says Dariusz. "When couples don't communicate their concerns to each other, when they don't get to the root of what's driving an emotional wedge between them and don't deal with whatever is bugging them about their partner or relationship, the dissatisfaction can build over time and make them feel less inclined to have sex."
Building intimacy should be a daily effort. "I always say that great evening sex starts with an amazing morning kiss," says Dariusz. "A sexy, intimate kiss before you head off to work is like foreplay. It enhances your connection with your partner and puts you in a playful, loving mood." (See these 8 small but impactful gestures that show you care.)
#2 SEXUAL BOREDOM
If you've been with your partner for a while, it's not uncommon to find yourselves in a sexual rut. Going through the same moves, over and over again, can leave one or both partners feeling indifferent about being with each other sexually.
"Stale sexual techniques and insufficient foreplay are big contributors to sexual boredom," says Dariusz. "How can you look forward to having sex when it feels like you're both just going through the motions and you know that the experience isn't going to be a positive one?"
How to solve it If your sex life feels less than satisfying, don't expect it to get better on its own. You have to make the effort to change it. "You must work with your partner to resolve this, for he sake of your sex life and relationship in the long run," says Dariusz.
"But, it's not just a matter of booking a hotel room and wearing sexy lingerie for your man. You should ask yourselves what exactly you're bored with and why. From here, you can talk about how to resolve the problem, either together or with a counsellor."
#3 DECREASED SEXUAL DESIRE
A low libido can be due to a number of things: emotional detachment from your spouse, hormonal changes, emotional health issues like anxiety and depression, stress, illness, and fatigue, for example. These factors can affect a person emotionally, mentally and/or physically, making it difficult to get in the mood for sex or to enjoy the act.
How to solve it Addressing this depends on the reasons for your lowered libido, Dariusz points out. If the problem is due to hormonal changes, for instance, your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy. Anxiety and depression can be managed with counselling and/or medication. If your low sex drive is the result of stress or fatigue, you may wish to make some lifestyle changes or try stress management techniques.
#4 PAINFUL SEX
Unfortunately, sexual intercourse can be painful for some women. "The pain may be due to an uncomfortable sex position (try these 5 positions that may help!), an infection, a condition like vaginismus, which is the involuntary tightening of the vaginal entryway upon penetration, or quite simply, a lack of lubrication," says Dariusz.
How to solve it Sex should never be uncomfortable or painful. "The human body was not made to experience pain during sex," he explains. "If you do feel pain, consult a doctor or sex counsellor to figure out the reason and solve it as quickly as possible. If the pain is due to vaginal dryness, a good-quality lubricant can help."
Increasing foreplay (and hence, arousal) can also create more natural lubriation to alleviate dryness.
#5 ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Many men find it difficult to have and maintain an erection at various points in their life. Dariusz says that erectile dysfunction may stem from psychological issues, such as a past trauma; anxiety about their performance and worrying that they won't please their partner; and low testosterone.
High blood pressure, diabetes, alcohol consumption and smoking can also cause erectile problems since these factors can affect blood flow to the penis. About 78 per cent of erectile dysfunction sufferers are smokers.
How to overcome it Treatment depends on the cause. Psychological issues can be helped with psychotherapy, for instance. If you have a medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your doctor for advice.
"Couples can also spend more time on foreplay," Dariusz advises. "Place less emphasis on penetration, and instead, try kissing more. Prolonged teasing can also help your man achieve and maintain an erection."
See also: 15 FOODS TO AVOID BEFORE SEX
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#6 EJACULATION PROBLEMS
Premature ejaculation is another common problem in men. This occurs when a man has no control over his ejaculation. The exact cause of premature ejaculation is not known, but it is thought to be a combination of psychological and physical or external factors, like anxiety, relationship problems and erectile dysfunction.
How to overcome it He suggests the firm-squeeze technique to help delay your man's orgasm - this involves pressing your thumb against your man's frenulum (the ridge on the underside of the penis) and holding it there for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat several times. "This technique rebuilds the neurological connections in your partner's brain," says Dariusz. "It must be done often, though."
You can also get in the woman-on-top position, but don't move right away - hold the position for 10 minutes. "This gets him used to intercourse with no movement while he's erect," says Dariusz. "Distract him but if he loses his erection, don't worry about it. The aim should be for him to get used to the sensation of his penis inside your vagina. After 10 minutes, you can start moving slowly. He needs to train himself to be disciplined enough to not ejaculate too quickly."
This article was originally published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.
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