Dr. Shirley Glass

"Reflections By Glass"

One sure sign that the honeymoon is over is when couples no longer look forward to sex. Couples experience many changes througout the years which can enhance or create problems in their sexual relationship. At the beginning of a relationship, the romantic feelings and passion provide an "instant hot" without any need to comunicate and develop an understanding of each others sexual preferences. Therefore, couples may not be adequately prepared for the latter phase of the relationship where romance and sensuality doesn't occur spontaneously but needs to be intentionally created. On the other hand,some couples maintain their sexual interest and desire for each other way into their Medicare years because the familiarity brings sensitivity, comfort and infinite pleasure. A sexually mature couple is like a musician playing an instrument which is exquisitely tuned and responsive to the touch.

Couples can work (or play) together to solve sexual problems and enhance their sexual pleasure. Even apparently individual problems such as male impotence and premature ejaculation and female issues such as anorgasmia (lack of orgasms) can be resolved by a loving couple through knowledge, understanding, and specific solutions. Couples can read to each other from books such as Mars and Venus in the Bedroom by John Gray as a way to approach discussions about male and female sexual preferences. Women's orgasms may be enhanced or inhibited by her partner's approach to lovemaking (slow and sensual versus "wham bam thank you ma'am") the situation (music, candles, & wine versus crying babies ), or individual issues such as her comfort with her own body. Premature ejaculation is often a problem in younger couples, whereas erection problems are more prevalent in older couples because of the physiology of aging.

Men who are troubled by P.E. (premature ejaculation) may be overly aroused by sexual stimulation, or they may have a history of fast and furtive sex or masturbation behaviors in which they conditioned themselves for speedy orgasms. Sometimes P.E. is only the relative discrepancy between his orgasm and hers. The average man ejaculates within 2 to 5 minutes of penetration whereas the average woman requires 22 to 25 minutes of stimulation before orgasm. The easiest way to solve these discrepancies is to delay penetration until the woman is nearing her peak excitement or for the woman to achieve orgasm through manual or oral stimulation prior to or following intercourse. Distraction techniques such as telling a man to count to 100 is not a recommended approach because it creates a disconnection between the mental and physical experience. Specific exercises such as the Stop-Start Technique are described in an excellent book, The New Male Sexuality by Bernie Zilbergeld.

The new "miracle" drug, Viagra, is intended for male impotence and works by enhancing and sustaining erections. It is normal for men to have an occasional loss of erections during sex; however, some men become so worried that they develop performance anxiety which only increases the chance of "losing it" again. Although loving partners may honestly reveal some disappointment, they will not refer to this as a failure, but will focus on the pleasure of lovemaking and physical closeness. Women who only value sexual intercourse increase the pressure that intensifies performance anxiety. Viagra can alleviate this anxiety and help a man to feel more confident and more relaxed in his ability to satisfy himself and his partner. Viagra works best in couples where affection and physical intimacies have continued despite the man's difficulties getting or sustaining an erection. Viagra does not increase sexual desire in persons whose lack of sexual interest comes from relationship issues or lack of sexual drive. Michelle Weiner-Davis's book, The Sex-Starved Marriage is a wonderful new resource for discrepancies in the sexual desire of husbands and wives.

Good sex is more than pills or techniques. Good sex is sharing thoughts, feelings, and sexual fantasies. Verbal and non-verbal communication about sex will enhance sexual intimacy. No matter what the ages of the partners or the stage of the relationship, the best sex of all is experienced as making love.

This column appeared on oxygen.com, part of Oxygen Media. All rights reserved

© Dr. Shirley Glass