Sexual dysfunction can create a lot of stress for both partners in a relationship. You both want a fulfilling intimate life, but one partner may feel that they are letting down the other one if sex is not satisfying for both of you.
In a close, intimate relationship, sex can be a beautiful part of your partnership, but if either of you is experiencing a sexual dysfunction it can interrupt an otherwise excellent romance.
The good news is that sexual dysfunction is often mental, which means it can be changed with cognitive therapy. In the case of a physical sexual dysfunction, seeking out the help of a physician can also make your sex life good again. Let’s look at some common signs of a sexual dysfunction in your relationship.
9 Signs of Sexual Dysfunction in Your Relationship
1. Intimacy is not your idea of a good time.
Your partner may love to rub, touch and kiss, but you are not interested. A lack of sexual desire is common, particularly for women. Women may also have physical problems that lead to discomfort or pain during sex. These physical problems are treatable by your physician.
Lack of sexual desire or lack of interest in sex is often psychological, and happens more often for women than for men. Researchers presented women with sexually arousing photos and had them rate their level of desire. The women rated themselves as not aroused, but they had all of the normal physical signs of arousal. Researchers suggest that a lack of sexual desire is related to depression.
2. You think of sex as something naughty.
Sex is a natural part of being a human, and although we should look at it as part of our health like diet and exercise, many people have feelings of shame associated with sex and have a sexual dysfunction as a result.
3. You feel repulsed at the thought of certain types of intimate acts.
Some people are turned off by certain types of touching, oral or genital play, and they are certainly entitled to their preferences. If your partner is pressuring you to perform an act that you are uncomfortable with, it can create sexual dysfunction in your relationship.
4. You lack confidence in your ability to please your partner.
Lack of confidence in your sexual performance can result in the inability to achieve erection, orgasm or sustain intercourse with your partner. Lack of confidence can affect both men and women and can manifest as sexual dysfunction.
5. You are uncomfortable around those who you see as potential sexual partners.
Whether it’s the opposite sex or someone you find attractive, you may be shy, awkward, or act immature around them. Even if you are in a healthy relationship, you may have difficulty interacting with other potential sexual partners in a non-sexual way. This can create jealousy for your partner when they see your behavior toward these other prospective romantic partners.
6. When your sexual needs are not met, you react with anger, withdrawal or other childish behavior.
Turning away and rejecting your partner after they have rejected your sexual advances is childish, and it means that you took it personally and got hurt feelings. The sexual dysfunction here comes from not expressing your disappointment at the rejection. The healthier response would be to accept and respect your partner’s choice and seek self-gratification if needed.
7. You are concerned about your thoughts about sex.
Your fantasies disturb you to the point that you feel afraid of what you find sexually arousing. There are some unique fetishes in the world that may raise eyebrows, but as long as your fantasies don’t cause harm to unconsenting others, underage minors, or animals you might have fairly normal sexual fantasies.
It is possible that your fantasies are abnormal, but unless you have an intense desire to act upon them, it may not be a concern. Fantasy is not reality but if your thoughts are causing you anxiety, seeking a counselor to discuss them is a wonderful option.
Other concerning thoughts about sex might be that it is wrong, unspiritual, or that only immoral people have sex outside of marriage. These are beliefs that are based on the moral judgments of others and should not affect your feelings about yourself and what you and your partner do when you are being intimate.
8. You use sex as an escape.
Just like alcohol or drugs, some people use sex as a way to escape other uncomfortable feelings. Using sex to repress, hide, or run away from other feelings is unhealthy and could be a sign of a sexual dysfunction in your relationship.
9. You haven’t been sexually satisfied with your partner, but you can’t bear to tell them.
More commonly, failure to reach climax during sex happens for women. This is somewhat normal because many women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.
If you are capable of reaching orgasm on your own, but not with your partner, this is only a communication problem in your relationship and not a sign of sexual dysfunction. Just have an honest talk about what you need without revealing your previous white lies.
You can find a licensed therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) though their website. Talking about your concerns about sexual dysfunction and learning how you can have a healthy sexual relationship with your partner again may be the best thing you ever did for yourselves and for each other.