By Marianne Mancusi Beach
On TV and in the movies, it seems like everyone's getting it on-- and having a great time doing it. In real life, maybe not so much. In fact, a new study by the British Association of Urological Surgeons found two-thirds of women report having some kind of sexual hang-up that's keeping them from enjoying the act of lovemaking as they should.
Here's the breakdown of problems:
1. Lack of desire (47 percent)
2. Orgasm problems (45 percent)
3. Arousal issues (40 percent)
4. Lack of satisfaction (39 percent)
5. Lack of lubrication (37 percent)
6. Pain (36 percent)
Is this just a case of grabbing some 'lube' and adding a little foreplay to your repertoire? Or are these actually symptoms of bigger, underlying psychological issues? Psychotherapist Dr. Tina B. Tessina aka "Dr. Romance" and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage says one of the biggest problems women face when it comes to sex is getting to a place where they feel safe and secure--especially if they've had bad experiences with men in the past.
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"Sex is a very intimate activity, during which women are very vulnerable," she says. "When they don't feel safe and loved, they're going to have problems."
And let's face it -- when we're naked -- we're pretty darn vulnerable. Especially in our society of perfectly photoshopped bodies on constant display.
"In addition to that, contemporary society, TV, movies, advertising and porn have placed an undue emphasis on sex, exaggerating it and placing an emphasis on performance and prowess, rather than affection and physical connection and enjoyment of each other," says Dr. Tessina. "With that combination going, it's surprising the percentage of women with hang-ups isn't higher."
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So what can you do? Instead of suffering in silence, try opening up to your guy. As Dr. Tessina says, sex is a form of sharing and you shouldn't be ashamed to admit you're just not feeling it. "If you are really going to share life together, you need to share who you are -- the wonderful things about you, and the struggles."
But if you're still struggling with baggage from a past relationship--consider seeking out a therapist before bringing it into the bedroom. "You need to understand your own feelings and reactions in order to communicate them to someone who loves you," says Dr. Tessina. "You need a knowledgeable, non-critical, wise and supportive counselor to explore these fearful dark places, but when the light shines in, it's a revelation."
Dr. Tessina says it's not always an easy fix--but it is a rewarding one. And the process of healing can make your relationship even stronger. "It's like discovering the best of who you are, hidden under the pain and fear. Focusing on healing your sexual wounds will free you up to love fully -- perhaps for the first time in your life."
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