Women’s sexual problems
Women may suffer from a range of sexual problems or sexual difficulties.
The most common of these is poor libido, followed by difficulty in getting or staying aroused, difficulty or inability to achieve orgasm, and pain during intercourse. Sexual response for a woman depends on a complex interaction of factors, including her health, physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and relationships. If one area is affected, sexual drive, arousal, and satisfaction can suffer. Emotional difficulties can encompass anxiety, stress, or depression and these often lead to sexual problems. Similarly, if a woman has negative feelings about her body, these can also cause difficulties. Unless there is a specific health factor at the root of the problem, a woman usually needs to address the psychological and relationship issues in order to improve her sex life.
Treatment If you are troubled by any form of sexual problem, first of all you need to make sure you are not suffering from any underlying condition or are not taking any medication that could affect your libido or your ability to get aroused and lubricated (see pages 20-25). Next, you need to address relationship issues that could be causing a problem (see below). Finally, assess whether any part of your lifestyle (such as lack of sleep or excessive stress – see Step 5) could be damaging your sex life.
Venus and Mars
Women need: more stimulation, slow foreplay, cuddling and kissing, romance, emotional sharing. Men need:
spontaneity, physical passion, playful sex, visual stimulation (sight of the naked female body).
Remember that physical contact does not have to automatically lead to sex. Get into the habit of touching your partner, whether by kissing, cuddling, or stroking and explain to him or her why you are doing this and why it is important that this sort of touching should not always lead to sex.
Optimize your bodies’ ability to respond to sex by looking at the way you live your lives: what you eat, how you sleep, whether or not you smoke, and the amount of alcohol you drink can all play a part.
Don’t put pressure on one another to have sex to make a baby and remember that all sex problems involve both the mind and the body.
I Learn to open up to one another about what you want and like sexually and be prepared to change your sexual style if need be.
Keep the lines of communication open at all times, both during sex and during everyday life with your partner. Emotions play a vital part in your relationship and, if he or she is not aware of what you are thinking and feeling, your sex life will suffer. If necessary, seek counselling or sex therapy to get to the root of problems. There are many good books that can show you how to talk to your partner about sex in a constructive, rather than destructive, way. Your GP may also be able to help, so it is worth discussing the situation with him or her.
Don’t lose sight of why you are with your partner in the first place and make time for physical contact that doesn’t lead to sex.
stepfour ; sex and passion
Do you regularly avoid sex out of frustration, resentment, or anger pregnancy? yes no
Try to communicate your feelings more with your partner, rather than miss out on opportunities to have sex. The long-term health of your relationship depends on good communication.
Do you find it difficult to talk to your partner about your feelings regarding sex now you are planning a family pregnancy? yes no
It is important to keep all channels of communication open to prevent negative emotions setting in (see pages 68-69).
(women only) Do you provide your man with lots of details about your menstrual cycle pregnancy? yes no
Many men find these details a turn-off. Don’t tell him everything (66)!
(men only) Are you now an expert on her fertility but wish that you weren’t so knowledgeable pregnancy? yes no
If checks and treatment are involved, be supportive. But you can ask for these conversations to take place outside the bedroom (66).
(women only) Do you expect your man to perform at the drop of a hat pregnancy? yes no
Don’t be surprised if he can’t always perform on demand (66).
(men only) Do you feel like a sperm machine, rather than a man who is loved for who he is pregnancy? yes no
Find the right time to talk to your partner (preferably in a non-confrontational way). Humour helps.
0-3 You generally have a healthy sex life. Although you are trying for a baby, you are still getting a lot of enjoyment out of sex. But you need to ensure that the one or two areas where things aren’t ideal don’t start to cause problems at a future date.
4-7 You have some problems with your sex life. Some of these – such as frequency of sex – may be quite easy to fix. Others – such as arousal, and the expectation to perform on demand – may require more effort on the part of each of you before they can be resolved.
8-13 You need to address a significant number of issues in your relationship before your sex life deteriorates any further. The risk is that both could suffer permanent damage. Re-read this step and focus on the problem areas that ring true and then try some of the suggested strategies. Communicate your thoughts and emotions with your partner and consider going for some counselling sessions. You need to invest time and effort in improving your sex life if you want your relationship to survive.
Inevitably, the way you live your life will have an impact on your fertility: alcohol, cigarettes, excessive stress, exercise (or lack of it), and work can all affect your chances of conceiving. This step helps you to assess whether any areas of your life need changing. A good way of doing this is to focus on each key area a week at a time