A common mistake made by people in (search of) sexual relationships is to focus on the physical. It’s why so many internet searches revolve around how to last longer in bed. In reality, our sexual organs are only a small part of the sexual experience. The penis and vagina are the primary parts involved in copulation, but for them to function effectively (and for partners to get to the point where sex can happen), many other processes are involved.
You may have heard – for example – that your brain is your largest sexual organ. This is true on multiple levels. It’s the glands in your brain that recognise sexual attraction. This intellectual realisation sends signals to your vagina or penis, engorging them with blood and physically facilitating sex. This means if your mind is in the wrong space, all the sexual stimulation in the world could still leave you seeking erectile dysfunction treatment.
It’s true that sometimes, the matter is more physically linked. For example, someone with heart problems may have difficulty sustaining their blood circulation. This may mean the penis doesn’t remain engorged long enough for their partner’s satisfaction. And it might be why – anecdotally – ED medication was initially aimed at cardiac complication, with the sexual results being an unexpected (but much appreciated) side effect.
In women, sub-optimal circulation could mean her vaginal walls don’t get engorged enough to reach orgasm. In both these cases, medication could be beneficial, so it’s important to have a full medical, just to rule out any health-related barriers to your sex life. But these mental matters have another element as well. Sex is a form of relaxation, but it also requires actual relaxation. If your partner is anxious, depressed, stressed, or emotionally hurt, it influences performance.
Toxic workplaces and difficult family relationships can leave you so emotionally exhausted that you simply don’t have the psychological energy for sex. Similarly, if you’ve had a fight with your partner, are feeling unappreciated, or have experienced a loss of trust in them, your interest in sex wanes. Ironically, this thing that could bring you closer becomes the last thing you want. Even if you do go through with it, your lack of connection could lead to premature ejaculation.
This is where couples’ counselling comes in. A licensed sex therapist can speak with you and your partner, discovering the hidden reasons for your low sexual performance. It could be a negative perception of sex that comes from attitudes instilled in childhood. Or it might be a manager at work that has beaten your spirit all day, so you get home feeling worthless and unattractive.
Other times, the issue is harder to guess. For example, someone who has recently gained weight may be averse to sex because of their body image issues. But someone who recently had a make-over and suddenly feels a lot more attractive may have issues too. Their internal view of themselves may not match the outside. (A common example is people with drastic weight loss who still act and feel obese). Consulting a professional sex counselor can unearth these issues.