Sex is all the craze nowadays! Everybody wants to be having it and they want it to be out of this world with eyes rolling into the back of their heads and throats sore from all the unbridled shrieking of ecstasy. While sexual bliss seems to be glamorized in our society, what if you and your partner are experiencing troubles in the bedroom behind closed doors? This can be quite traumatizing and a blow to one’s self-esteem and sense of masculinity, particularly since we men are socialized to be adept and skilled at sexual prowess and conquest.
These stereotypes of men “always being ready” and “virile with lots of stamina” put a lot of pressure on men to sexually perform like gods and threatens their identity as a man should problems arise in that part of their lives; they can feel like a failure or that they don’t “measure up” because so much emphasis is put on perfectionism in this area.If you are going through a rough patch in your intimate life, you are not alone! Sexual dysfunctions are very common, but the good news is that they are usually very treatable! This article will offer gay men a glimpse at some of the more common sexual problems that exist and will provide some tips for coping and potential resolution.
The Clinical Syndromes
In both my therapy and coaching practices, sexual issues make up a large percentage of the relationship problems that clients bring to the table, whether it’s the primary emphasis or a side-symptom of something else that’s going on between the couple. At some point in their lives, most men will experience some kind of sexual-based problem and this is perfectly normal and to be expected. It is when these issues become frequent and the predominant norm in your sex life that you will really want to take notice and take some steps toward addressing it.
In her book (*)“The Art of Sex Coaching”, Dr. Patti Britton, PhD (“The Sex Coach”) outlines nine common sexual concerns that men can experience. I agree with her naming these issues as “concerns”; the medical field has long used such words as “dysfunction” and “problems” to label peoples’ sexual impasses and this only serves to pathologize them. What’s important to understand is that these sexual “bumps-in-the-road” are very common. Buying into the concept that there’s something wrong with you because this is happening to you will only perpetuate your struggles and keep you trapped in a vicious cycle of shame and belief in yourself as being deficient. Couldn’t be further from the truth! These issues can be overcome! The popular concerns cited include:
1. Low or no sexual desire (low sex drive, infrequent sexual urges)
2. Early ejaculation (coming sooner than wanted)
3. Erectile dysfunction (impotence, unable to produce or maintain an erection)
4. Delayed ejaculation (inability to ejaculate)
5. Sexual inhibitions (unable to be free and “let loose” during sex due to past trauma or having internalized negative messages/values about sex being “bad”)
6. Body dysphoria (worries about sexual performance, penis size, masculinity, or adequacy; vanity, body image issues)
7. Social/dating skill deficits (lack of experience, awkwardness, lack of confidence, poor communication)
8. Desire for enhanced pleasure (wanting to become a more skillful lover)
9. Sexual trauma (difficulties with intimacy due to past history of rape or childhood sexual abuse)