About sexual problems and sexual dysfunction
At some point in their lives most people will experience sexual issues such as lack of desire, erectile dysfunction, difficulty becoming aroused or reaching orgasm, rapid ejaculation, performance anxiety or even sexual addiction. Partners may also experience conflict concerning how or how often to have sex. Such issues are considered sexual dysfunctions only when they become frequent and problematic for an individual or couple.
Sexuality is integrally connected to our sense of self and self-worth. We often see it as a measure of our desirability and our ability to please a partner. Unfortunately, our society and the media can create unrealistic expectations about sexuality and sexual functioning. As a result, when difficulties arise, many experience feelings of insecurity, shame, or failure. With couples, a problem in one partner may arouse strong feelings in the other who may feel rejected, inadequate, or somehow at fault. When sex becomes an increasingly negative experience, a couple may start avoiding any show of affection that could lead to sex. This inevitably creates emotional distance and perpetuates the problem. In some cases, one partner may want to seek treatment while the other resists. Years may go by with a problem untreated causing negative cycles of distress and resentment.
Individual sex therapy and couple sex therapy
Sex therapy benefits people of all ages and in varying stages of life including singles, young couples or newlyweds, and older couples. For example, a young single male suffering from sexual dysfunction may experience intense anxiety and begin avoiding situations that might lead to sexual contact. He may turn to therapy out of fear that the problem will limit the likelihood of establishing or maintaining a relationship. A young couple may start therapy because they are having trouble getting pregnant due to vaginismus or erectile dysfunction. Yet another couple may feel that their new relationship has great potential but lack of desire is causing distress, conflict and doubts about their future together.
When one partner experiences sexual dysfunction, he or she may turn to therapy on his own initiative or at the behest of a partner, thinking that the problem is theirs alone. However, sexual problems in one partner are often a reflection of problems between both partners, and resolving them usually requires a collaborative effort.
Assessing and treating sexual dysfunction and sexual problems
Sex therapy begins with an assessment of the problem and its context. First, the onset needs to be determined: has the problem always existed, or has it appeared recently? Next, the source must be identified, be it medical, emotional, relational or any combination thereof. Furthermore, the emotional impact on the individual or couple will be explored.
In certain situations brief, goal-oriented sex therapy is most effective in treating distressing sexual problems. In other cases, the roots may go deeper. For instance, the presenting problem may be a symptom of a larger issue such as low desire stemming from emotional enmeshment, or premature ejaculation as a reflection of anxiety or couple conflict. Such circumstances call for comprehensive sex therapy that not only treats the symptom but addresses the underlying emotional source of the problem.
By the time people come to sex therapy they are often feeling anxious, depressed, or even angry about their situation. Therapy provides a confidential, non-judgmental environment where one can share freely, learn to contain anxiety, gain insight and understanding, change problematic couple dynamics, and improve communication.
Choosing a certified sex therapist in North Israel, Haifa area
Sexual problems can seem beyond our understanding and control, and usually require more than the well-meaning, but often misguided advice of friends. That is why many people seek the confidential help of a trained professional.
Finding a sex therapist can be difficult without a personal recommendation. As with any type of psychotherapy, you want your therapist to be caring, professional and well-trained. If the causes of one’s problem are emotional or relational in nature, it is important that the therapist also be certified in individual and couple psychotherapy. In Israel sex therapists are certified by The Israel Society for Sex Therapy. The ITAM website provides a list of all certified sex therapists in your area.
My clinics are located in Nofit and Carmiel, serving residents of the north, Haifa, the Krayot, Jezreel Valley and the lower Galilee. Also serving residents of Ramat Yishai, Tivon, Tsfat, Nazareth, Acco, Afula, Migdal Ha Emek, Yokneam, and Naharia.
I treat a variety of individuals and couples from various communities including secular, religious, Jewish, Muslim, Druze, Christian and LGBT.