5 points in CBT to improve a couple’s sex life
What’s happened to my libido?
One of the common problems we see in cognitive behavioural therapy is dwindling or non-existent sex life or desire for a sex life. “We used to have sex all the time,” they often say, “but now once a month is a major event.” What are the reasons for this state and what can CBT help you do about it?
Expectations and CBT
One element cognitive behavioural therapy looks at is ‘worry’. These days, many of us probably have somewhat unrealistic expectations about our sex lives. Films, TV shows, magazine articles and the like all seem to give the impression that everyone (except us) is having major sex sessions which are mind-blowingly fantastic on a daily or more frequent basis. As a society, we have become a bit obsessed with the idea of sex and sexual love. This can in turn drive anxiety where CBT is the recommended form of treatment by NICE.
In truth, people’s sexual habits and desires vary greatly, as much as individual personalities and appearance. What feels right for you is not necessarily the same for someone else. And what feels right for you now may not be the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago – or in 10 or 20 years from now. Communicating about your needs and desires with your partner is one essential CBT tool.
CBT and physical or medical reasons
There are some conditions and treatments that can affect both sexual desire and performance. For instance, some medications can make the vagina dry so that intercourse is painful. This can put a woman off sexual activity. Others can affect a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection and so put him off sex.
Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease may all reduce blood flow to the genitals, and so reduce arousal. Unusually low hormone levels could also affect sex drive and arousal.
Your doctor will advise or help you with any of these situations and refer you to an NHS or a private CBT Therapist for the mental side of any chronic physical/medical conditions.
What else can have happened to my libido?
Most commonly in CBT, we experience, people ‘lose their libido’ because of life or relationship problems. When we’re stressed and juggling busy lives, sex can take a low place in our priorities. Equally, if we’re angry with our partner or there’s a major problem in the relationship, we’re not going to be in the best frame of mind to have a fulfilling sex life with them or any sex with them at all.
If there are problems in your relationship, you need to address these before you can expect your sex life to pick up. Talk to each other about the issue, tell one another how you feel and try to find solutions together. If you need professional help, contact your GP who can refer you or contact Efficacy on 0207 929 7911 for a private appointment (payment can be via your Health Insurance it covers therapy sessions).
Couple's Therapy and 5 points on how to improve your sex life
If your lack of libido is more to do with your lifestyle, then you need to make it a higher priority actively – it won’t just happen of its own accord! Here are some suggestions:
- Make time for sex – agree on a regular date with your partner, either an early night together or set the alarm clock earlier than you have to get up in the morning.
- Spend time alone together doing things you enjoy – and make sure you get a break from childcare (rope in family or friends to look after children)
- Ensure you get enough sleep, as tiredness is an enemy of sexual desire.
- Your biggest sexual organ is your brain, so think of fantasies, read erotic books or watch erotic films together. Use your imagination and play together.
- Talk to each other – make sure you both know what the other partner wants and likes.