A satisfying sexual relationship is an important component of a healthy adult relationship and often leads to feeling more emotionally closer to your partner; it is common for clients to say they no longer feel the passion they once did.
There could be a variety of reasons why you are experiencing sexual difficulties in your relationship. Perhaps one of you grew up in an environment where sex was something to be celebrated and enjoyed whereas the other may have been bought up to believe sex is dirty or bad? It could be that one of both or you are feeding into sexual myths that could affect the quality of your sexual relationship? Sometimes other sexual problems may contribute to unhappiness in your relationship. Problems like vaginismus, low libido, mismatched libido, difficulties having orgasms or erectile dysfunction, can seriously affect a sense of wellbeing within a relationship.
New Leaf Psychology recognises how private and sometimes embarrassing sexual difficulties and concerns can be. We therefore offer a supportive, sensitive and empathic service to our clients, aiming to help individuals and couples overcome their sexual difficulties by utilising well researched treatments and practices.
Vaginismus occurs when the muscles that surround the opening of the vagina make involuntary contractions. These muscles are called pubococcygenes or PC muscles. When these muscles contract they make sex or the insertion of tampons or fingers very difficult and can often be painful. The contractions can range from mild causing, some discomfort, to severe where no penetration is possible. Some women might find they were once able to enjoy a satisfying sex life and now experience vaginismus but others may have experienced muscle spasms as far back as they remember.
It is important to remember that there is not anything wrong with your vagina and that you do not have some kind of physical abnormality. When your PC muscles contract it will make the entrance of the vagina very tight sometimes making the appearance of the vagina seem closed. This is normal for women experiencing vaginismus.
There are many reasons why some women develop vaginismus, many women want to make love to their partners and are frustrated and often confused as to why their body won’t let them. Each woman is an individual and each has their own reason(s) why they developed vaginismus. Some common reasons are:
- growing up in a strong religious background where sex was something to be ashamed of
- you may come from a family where sex was never spoken about
- was considered dirty; or having sex would make you a ‘bad girl’
- you may be fearful of commitment
- you have had an abusive partner in the past
- you were abused as a child
- you have had a medical procedure that has led to fear regarding your vaginal area
Whatever the reason you have developed vaginismus we are dedicated to helping you understand what vaginismus is, why you developed it and help and support you to overcome it so you can enjoy a loving sexual relationship with your partner.
Some of us have difficulty feeling sexually aroused and there are a variety reasons for this. For instance, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety this may significantly lower sexual arousal. It could be that you are in a relationship that is not emotionally rewarding for you, that is you ‘function’ well together with the practical things in life but emotionally you’re feeling empty or not close to your partner any more. When this happens in a relationship it is not uncommon to feel sexually disconnected from our partner and is a normal progression if you are not feeling emotionally fulfilled.
Trouble experiencing orgasms
Most women from time to time have difficulty achieving an orgasm. Being tired, stressed, you might be a busy mum or just not in the mood, all contribute to not having an orgasm. Perhaps you’ve never had an orgasm and are unsure what all the fuss is about. You might be one who has one sometimes but not other times or you might only experience ‘little ones’ that you hardly notice, you may have had successful orgasms in the past but something is stopping you from achieving one now. Perhaps you are able to orgasm when you are alone with yourself but not with a partner. What we do know is that the reasons most women who experience problems having an orgasm are psychological in nature. This is great news because with the help of a psychologist you can do something about it.