Don’t you just love a nice hug? Depending on who you are hugging- or who is hugging you…a hug can be romantic, an expression of friendship, joy or even of sympathy.
In romantic relationships hugs often lead to more physical contact, more intimacy. But what happens when busy schedules, children, work, stress, illness or disability cause the spark to fade? These problems can happen to happy couples everywhere.
What do you do when realize that you want to get that loving feeling back?
Some couples choose to visit a counselor, or a specialist such as a sex therapist.
Sex therapists begin with an assessment of the couple and together they discuss the problem and try to come up with some shared goals for the couple. The couple is encouraged to view the problem together – as a shared problem. This viewpoint helps them to work together to find a solution. Progress will be slow or even non-existent if each person tries to blame the other for the dysfunction.
Depending on the type of problem that is going on, a therapist may suggest that one or both partners visit their Physician to rule out a medical problem. Many commonly prescribed medications can interfere with the sexual drive or the ability to perform (anti-depressants, pain killers, muscle relaxers and many more). Symptoms or problems may be from an undiagnosed illness or as a normal part of aging.
Discussions with the sexual therapist may involve family histories, individual sexual histories, sexual expectations and discussions of likes and dislikes. Sometimes the therapist will work as an educator and discuss the anatomy of the human body as it pertains to sexuality.
The sexual therapist typically assigns homework to the couple. The first few assignments may be something that each person does as an individual such as journaling feelings and their thoughts about sex and intimacy, or perhaps something more interactive such as going on a date or giving each other a neck or foot rub. Sexuality problems are a delicate matter and they may take a while to resolve. In the meantime the couple can also be working on their intimacy by learning how to talk, and just as importantly -learning how to listen to their partner.
An important thing to remember is that all relationships have good times and bad times and occasional intimacy problems can be a normal part of life as a couple.
Burnett, J.A., Long, L.L. & Thomas, R.V., (2006). Sexuality Counseling: An Integrated
Approach. Columbus:Merrill Prentice Hall.