Low libido is the most common, challenging, and complex problem a sex therapist encounters. An early obstacle is that individuals with low libido often aren't eager to be treated -- because they don't miss sex, because they don't feel hopeful about finding a solution, or both. Most of the time they consent to therapy when they feel the problem is threatening their relationship. Therapists may address this issue in a variety of ways. Usually, the problem is recast as a couples issue; therapy isn't a means to "cure" the person with the low sex drive. Also, the therapist aims to reassure the low-desire partner that he or she won't be forced or even pressured to have sex, while suggesting that the individual may be missing out on a valuable part of life. Finally, the therapist works to dispel any pent-up resentment on the part of the higher-drive partner by reiterating that he or she is making a choice to stay committed to the relationship by engaging in the search for a joint solution. The goal of treatment is to help create an atmosphere in the relationship that is less pressured, thereby allowing the low-desire partner to become more receptive to sex.
One important step is to have the partner with the lower libido recognize and come to terms with any hidden feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, fear, or disgust that surround sex. If these feelings are present, the couple and the therapist explore the origins and effect of these emotions. They may also consider the couple's assumptions about how sex "should be." The therapist will also encourage the couple to examine the dynamics of the relationship that reinforce the discrepancy in desire. For example, the bedroom may be a venue for acting out power struggles, with the person who otherwise feels ineffectual in the relationship unconsciously avoiding sex as a means of control.
Once most of the emotional and attitudinal roadblocks have been addressed, the couple moves on to behavioral exercises designed to increase trust and sensual awareness, such as sensate focus techniques. This can help the couple begin to re-establish physical intimacy.
In addition to classic sex therapy, a couple’s counselor may help a couple’s sex life by improving their communication and addressing conflicts unrelated to sex. Encouraging “date nights” and time away from the stresses of home and family also may be very effective.
Low libido is the most common, challenging, and complex problem a
sex therapist encounters. An early obstacle is that individuals
with low libido often aren't eager to be treated -- because they
don't miss sex, because they don't feel... More