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Sexual Wellness

by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Lawrence Maguire, MD

No matter what their cause, sexual problems tend to have profound effects on emotional well-being and on relationships. Talking with a licensed psychotherapist or seeking the help of a marriage and family therapist can help you cope as you seek medical help or adjust to changes in your sexual function. In many cases, psychological counseling along with treatment of physical factors contributing to sexual problems offers the best solution to management.

Maintaining your relationship
While you seek medical help or mental health care, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Talking frankly about the problems you’re experiencing and your feelings about them, as well as listening to what your partner has to say, will most likely bring you closer. When you talk, keep in mind that what makes a relationship satisfying for the people involved is really up to them — not to some notion about what intimate relationships should be.

Recognizing the fact that women and men commonly have different perspectives regarding intimate relationships may be helpful. Men typically want a partner who is willing and interested in a sexual relationship, and they often associate intimacy with sexual contact. Women, on the other hand, tend to feel closer to a partner who listens to them and most often connect sexual intimacy with love.

So let that special person see and know who you truly are, as well as what you want within the relationship. People who understand the needs of their partners — and recognize that those needs might be different from their own — have the best chance for creating longer-lasting, more satisfying, intimate relationships.

For more online information about sexual health, see “Read More About It.”

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