What do Emotions Have to do with Sexual Dysfunction?

What do Emotions Have to do with Sexual Dysfunction?

If you watch TV for any length of time, you’ll see a commercial for common sexual dysfunctions. You’ll see clinics who advertise the use of hormones to “treat” sexual dysfunctions. However, few will advertise the importance of your emotions in dealing with any sexual dysfunction. This makes is unsurprising to me that many struggle with understanding the importance of emotions in their problems with sex.

In my work with sexual dysfunction in men and women, we always have to focus on emotions. There are sex therapy techniques that purely focus on the physical aspects of sexual dysfunction. However, these are often limited in how successful they are. The reason? They are only looking at one aspect of your sexuality.

As a sexual person, you’re more complex than just your physiology. One of the things that helps to build your sexual makeup is how you feel. This can come from all kinds of past situations and lessons.

Here are the 3 most common emotions and feelings that I have seen impact sexual dysfunction for the worst:

1. Anxiety: This is pretty obvious. When people start to have anxiety around sexual experiences, they are more likely to have sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, premature or delayed ejaculation, and vaginismus. However, general and social anxiety can also increase your risk in a sexual arena for problems. So you might not think that you have anxiety about sex, but your general anxiety might cause sexual dysfunction.

2. Shame: Almost all of us experience shame in various parts of our lives. But some deal with higher levels of shame than others. When people doubt the basis of who they are, they are more likely to experience problems in many areas of their lives. Sex can be just one of those areas.

3. Resentment: When people don’t deal with a sense of resentment, it can trickle into all aspects of life. This can make your body shut down. Although some people can have hot, angry sex, this isn’t true of everyone.

What do you do about emotions?

Notice them! Many just flat out ignore these emotions. Others try to pretend that they’re not there, or that they’re not having the problems that they’re actually having. Unfortunately, this usually leads to increased problems, which makes the emotions worse! To deal with this, you have to prioritize noticing them.

Follow them! Many times, when you start to notice the emotions, they’ll work themselves out. If they are holding energy, it will start to release.

Get help! Unfortunately, many times, when this type of energy is bound up, help is needed to allow it to release. Many times, it can help to work on your thoughts, and change your thinking patterns. Other times, this type of work won’t be enough. In these situations, finding a somatic or body psychotherapist can help you identify this emotion, and begin to focus on the process of stepping away from these loops. In time, the natural rhythms in your body will take back over. This can help increase enough sexual freedom to show your body that sex is a safe thing to do.

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