- Your sex life fizzled. You feel more like roommates rather than lovers.
- Kids, careers or other responsibilities have absorbed the time that you once spent connecting with your spouse?
- An affair or other betrayal has hurt your relationship.
- Health concerns, such as menopause, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction, have caused a rift between you and your partner both physically and emotionally.
- You wish you could turn back the clock to when you first met and re-experience the fireworks again.
Many Couples Struggle With Sex And Intimacy
If you and your partner aren’t having sex as frequently as you used to you are not alone.
Some studies suggest that as many as 1 in 5 long term relationships may be considered “sexless,” with partners engaging in sex less than 10 times a year (Kinsey Institute).
While some couples are content by infrequent sex, you may find the lack of physical intimacy unsettling.
When Your Interest in Sex has Waned…
If you have lost the spark and have stopped initiating sex, you may wonder what is wrong with you or the relationship, and feel guilty about not engaging your partner.
When Your Partner’s Interest in Sex has Waned…
If it is your partner that has become emotionally and physically distant, you may develop insecurities about your desirability and feel growing resentment towards him or her for withholding affection.
When You Don’t Have the Same Sexual Preferences…
Sex can also wane or cease to exist if you and your partner are not on interested in engaging in the same sexual activities. Maybe you feel your partner is not adventurous enough or perhaps he or she is too adventurous. You may have tired to resolve your differences, but so far have been unable to.
The effects of scarce sex or mismatched desires can cause you and your partner to feel discouraged, confused, and worried about that one may have an affair [link to affairs page] in order to get their sexual needs met.
Reasons for Intimacy Issues
A number of factors can decrease sexual intimacy including:
- Responsibilities at work and home can drain both you and your partner of the energy you need to connect at the end of the day.
- Unresolved arguments or conflict within your relationship may weaken erotic attraction.
- Health conditions or age-related physical and hormonal changes may diminish you and/or your partner’s drive.
You Can Also Blame Sexual Problems on Your Brain…
Recent research also points to underlying psychological and neurobiological processes that work against each other to create intimacy issues in long-term relationships.
In his book, Wired for Love, psychologist Dr. Stan Tatkin explains that our brains are predisposed to reduce threats and establish a sense of security. We seek out this stability in our relationships and that feeling of familiarity and safety sets us up for healthy attachment and satisfaction.
On the other hand, Esther Perel, also a respected relationship expert, posits that our erotic energy becomes drained when our relationship is too comfortable and familiar.
And so exists a pardox…
How can you: balance the need for familiarity and comfort to sustain a healthy relationship with the need for novelty to keep the sexual spark alive?
Fortunately, sex therapy can help.
Sex Therapy For Couples Can Help You And Your Partner Reconnect
Sex therapy can be extremely effective at helping you and your partner move into the next chapter of your intimate and sexual life together.
In couples sex therapy sessions, you and your partner can discover a deeper, more meaningful and fulfilling connection to each other as you continue to grow in tandem throughout your lives.
Sex Therapy Incorporating the Latest Research and Techniques on Attachment and Arousal Patterns in Couples
Over the last 16 years in practice, Dr. Orenstein has refined her therapeutic approach to incorporate scientifically driven ideas, techniques and exercises in marital and couples counseling.
She has pursued advanced training from the renowned Gottman Institute as well as with Dr. Stan Tatkin, founder of the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy Training (PACT ®).
The PACT model integrates what we know about how the brain works- specifically in regards to attachment and arousal- and applies it to couples counseling.
Dr. Orenstein uses the PACT approach to identify deficits in couples’ emotional and physical connection so that she can then guide them toward solutions.
The goal of PACT is to enable couples to be a “co-regulatory team” that can effectively help each other feel safe and secure when distress arises.
When you come for counseling to resolve your sexual problems, Dr. Orenstein also considers arousal theories in neuroscience to help couples reconnect. Oftentimes when you and your partner know each other well and feel secure with one another (have a “secure attachment”), the novelty and excitement needed for sexual desire declines.
To combat the paradox, Dr. Orenstein helps couples find new energy and creative ways to add excitement and longing to their relationship to keep sensuality alive.
The ultimate goal of sex therapy is for you and your partner’s emotional and physical needs to compliment each other.
Once this balance is achieved, intimacy between you and your partner can truly flourish.
Concerns you may have about couples sex therapy…
I’ve heard that sex therapy can take a lot of time and be costly.
Sex therapy is an investment in yourself, your partner and your relationship.
Feelings of disconnection left unaddressed may only get worse and lead to a totally sexless marriage, affairs and even divorce.
The stress created by a strained relationship can also negatively impact other aspects of your life, such as work productivity, your relationships with friends and other family members, and how you feel about yourself.
By investing in your relationship now, you are not only creating the opportunity to communicate and connect more intimately with you partner, but you can also build the trust, love and connection that you’ll carry throughout the rest of your lives.
I’m too embarrassed to talk about our personal life with anyone – even a therapist.
I’m a sensitive couples therapist/coach with more than 16 years of experience, and I understand that talking about sex and intimacy issues can be difficult for a lot of people.
You will only disclose only what you are comfortable sharing – and at a pace that suits you.
That said, I can gently guide you to find ways to communicate with your partner about painful feelings as you slowly open yourself up to taking healthy risks and reestablishing the connection in your relationship.
I’m afraid talking about our problems will shine a light on all that’s wrong and make everything even worse.
An honest assessment and increased awareness is required in order to make make meaningful, effective changes.
While working on your relationship and sexual problems may be uncomfortable at first, like the feeling of stretching that helps us become more flexible, commitment and discomfort are often part of the sex therapy process.
But, if you truly value growth and have a strong desire to reconnect with your partner, working through your problems can lead to more self-awareness, increased empathy, compassion and trust.
Exploring the “growing pains” of your relationship together in a safe, nonjudgmental space can help increase intimacy and find new ways of being together.
We provide services in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area. We invite you to call us for a 15-minute free consultation to discuss your specific needs and any questions and you may have about couples sex therapy and our practice. You can also book an appointment in our Cary office.
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