Some people believe dialogue can solve everything. Others resist because they don’t want their dirty laundry aired in public. That’s what daytime soaps are for. There are some who assume if you’re seeing a therapist, you must be crazy. The stakes get even higher if you’re seeing a sex therapist. Why? Because for many men, their sexual prowess is a big part of their masculinity.
Seeking help can feel like you’re diminishing your manhood. Without help though, this cycle can be endless. Think about it. You’re having bedroom problems, so your sense of maleness has received a little dent. But sharing it with someone dents your masculinity even more because you don’t want anyone to know. Beyond that, the very process of finding a solution – sex counselling – is seen as an attack on your manhood itself.
This latter concept comes from many societal mores and sexist tropes. Things like ‘talking are for women’. The thing is, this ‘talking’ is what makes it easier for women to cope with challenges. Statistics claim women attempt suicide more often than men, but more men complete their suicide attempts. The results are complex and involving, but a big factor is women can discuss their emotional and psychological problems, while men are forced to be stoic and hold it in.
A Little More Feminine
This ‘stiff upper lip’ has men bottling up their issues until they implode and find themselves wanting to die. And in the spirit of ‘toxic maleness’, they don’t just ‘try’. They ‘do’. In the context of bedroom matters, the same vicious cycle perpetuates itself. After all, anxiety and depression – diagnosed or unrecognised – are key suicide triggers. They’re also frequently associated with reduced sex drives and inability to achieve and/or maintain erections.
If the man in question were willing to seek a solution, it would save his (sex) life. The man may be suicidal because of work-related pressure, which limits his interest and ability to perform in the bedroom. That adds to his already damaged self-esteem. And yet by talking to a counsellor, he can resolve both his sexual problems and his career-based ones. It’s also helpful to know many patients are men with erectile dysfunction, so sex therapists are trained in dealing with them.
Knowing sex therapy requires talking – at length and in depth – about sexual problems, sex therapists and couples’ counsellors get lots of practice in pulling information out of reticent male clients. In that sense, it can be more effective than general therapy. The key benefit of couples’ counselling is it gets to the heart of the issue. It finds out exactly what’s hindering his performance, and offers premature ejaculation treatments.
Sex Therapy Goals
The main reason you’re seeing a counsellor is to bring back the joy back in your sex life, both for you and your partner. That target is intrinsically pleasurable, so instead of focusing on the potential ‘embarrassment’ of discussing your sexual shortcomings, think about how happy you’ll both be after fixing your love life. The first step is usually to eliminate common causes.
It begins with a full medical check-up (done by a doctor, not a counsellor). This will rule out medical matters like diabetes, obesity, circulation problems, or muscle damage. It also involves reviewing any medication you may be using, because some lower your libido as a side effect. Alcohol, smoking, and recreational drug use can cause sex problems too.
Once all those potential causes are off the table, your sex counsellor will explore your relationship with your partner, and look into your sense of self. Many times, sexual problems are intrinsic. We feel unattractive, or undeserving of our partners, so we shut them out. Unfortunately, this frequently leaves them blaming themselves, which adds to your guilt.
It’s Not Me, It’s You
Other times, the overt cause is your partner. You might be festering over something they did, and they may not know it. Sometimes, you’re not even consciously aware of your own distrust and resentment. You think everything (apart from the sex) is normal. A sex counsellor can help you uncover these hidden barriers to intimacy, and work through them together.
As an example, many women complain their men don’t talk to them. Certainly not as much as their courting days, before they officially became a couple. A sex counsellor could help you see and resolve your communication challenges. Maybe she laughs every time he shares. So he stops sharing, gets resentful, and now there’s no sex. It’s unlikely they’ll spot this without a trained counsellor, so before you dismiss ‘talking about sex’, think of benefits. They’re worth the chat.