Let's Talk About Sex

From the moment that we discover that touching that part in our diaper feels different...and it feels good, we are sexual beings.  Sex is a part of life that is so multifaceted and complex, emotionally, physically and spiritually, that is should not be unexpected that we would need some guidance and support.  There is no more blatant example of the mind-body concept.

The simple mechanics of the physical act of sex are explained to a fairly detailied level by medical science, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Our sexual functioning changes throughout our life as we age.  We have some ideas of how to evaluate those changes and interventions to help support a healthy sex life.  The intangibles of our sexuality are a bit more difficult.  Childhood experiences with emerging sexuality, healthy or unhealthy can have lifelong impact.  Were things explained to you in scary guilt-laced ways, or was the information presented in a supportive and hopeful way?  Was your "first time", or what is now referred to as your sexual debut, a beautiful experience or one that left you feeling shameful.   All these things can impact our physical ability to maintain a full, healthy sex life for the rest of our days. 

Individual variabilities such as depression, self-image and fatigue can all have physical impact and can be improved with some effort.  Relationship issues also can be profoundly impactful.  Sometimes in unexpected ways.  Sex is not the same thing as love.  (Sorry.)  Certainly, how you view your partner can be reflected in your physical responsiveness.  Our bodies sometimes respond in ways over which we have no control and may not like or understand.  I liken it to a blush.  It happens sometimes even when you really don't want it to.  And it seems like the more you try to stop it the more you blush.  This can be the case with erection dysfunction and vaginal spasm.  This can be very frustrating for everybody involved.  You don't want it to happen, but you sure can't stop it.

And then there's pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, religious views, menopause, infidelity and all the other multiplicity of variables that occur throughout our sexual lives and can impact function. Worrying about these things can be as impactful as the things about which we are worried.   You can find help from your healthcare provider or a therapist or your clergy.  Engage your partner in the discussion. (Go to www.FaterMD.com, "Articles" and look for "Conflict and Integrity")  It's a good idea to go to the doctor first to see if there is something medical that can be fixed.

Be patient.  Keep your sense of humor.  Be respectful to yourself and your partner.  Have fun.

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