Almost everyone will be affected by sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives. While most holistic oriented practitioners appreciate the power of biochemistry, hormones, supplements, diet and exercise for healthy sexual functioning, many fail to address the power of the mind. This is unfortunate because sex starts in the brain, psychological issues are a leading cause of sexual dysfunction, and the consequences of inadequately treating it are vast. Read-on to discover the most common types of sexual dysfunction, the shocking effects it can have on your health and wellbeing, and all-natural solutions for the top 4 psychological causes.
Sexual Dysfunction: Types and Consequences
Sexual dysfunction can be temporary, intermittent or ongoing. The most common types include: loss of libido, reduced arousal and pleasure; delayed, weak or absent orgasms; erectile dysfunction (ED), sexual pain disorders, and vaginal dryness. Sexual dysfunction interferes with relationship satisfaction, connectedness and security; and prevents you and your partner from experiencing sexual bliss. It can also lower your self-esteem, happiness, vitality and passion for life; increase your risk for depression and chronic disease, make you age faster, and reduce your longevity![i]
Top 4 Psychological Causes:
Self-Esteem and Body-Image Issues
Poor self-esteem is a major sexual sabotager. It can prevent you from communicating your sexual needs, preferences, fantasies and desires with your partner. It can also prevent you from initiating sex, experimenting in the bedroom, and from letting go and getting out of your head during the act. If you have body image issues, worrying about your appearance and/or trying to hide your body during sex stops you from being in the moment and the negative thinking can make the whole experiencing undesirable. All of these factors reduce your ability to experience pleasure and can diminish your desire to engage in sex. They can also lead to vaginal dryness and pain in women, ED and ejaculatory problems in men, and inhibited orgasms in both genders.
Loving yourself and your body requires both physical and mental work. You need to respect and take care of your body to truly love and embrace it. Consuming a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help you to achieve a healthy body, which will make you more confident in life and in between the sheets. If you are unsure of what exactly a healthy diet entails because of all the conflicting information out there, or you want to learn how to make meals that are both nutritious and delicious, get a copy of the Simply Healthy Cookbook.
You need to also change your inner dialogue and replace negative words and thinking with positive ones. Positive affirmations, guided meditations and LFC Audio Scripts can help you with this. You can also improve your self-esteem by being more assertive, trying new things, doing activities you enjoy, facing your fears, avoiding comparing yourself to others, writing down and working towards goals, and practicing forgiveness (of self and others).
Stress is both omnipresent and unavoidable and it is a leading cause of all types of sexual dysfunction. A few examples of common stressors include: work, traffic, long lines, the Western diet (especially sugar and stimulants), bills, interpersonal upheavals, worries about your children’s safety, and marital problems. Stress causes your body to divert its attention from non-essential functions such as sex, to essential functions for survival. It can also hinder sexual functioning by causing fatigue, throwing sex hormones out of whack, making you moody and irritable, and reducing oxytocin (which is the bonding, love hormone).
To reverse the sex-sabotaging effects of stress, you need to address both physical and emotional stressors. If you find you are always in a time-crunch, teach yourself time-management skills. Most of us have more free time than we realize, but we waste it on things such as social media, or TV. Another way to reduce stress is to spend five minutes at the end of each work day jotting down anything that is bothering you, making ‘to-do’ lists for the upcoming day, and noting 5 things that you are grateful for.
If you experience relationship-based stress, it is essential that you learn to understand and communicate with your partner better. The 5 Languages of Love is a book and website with tons of useful and free information on how to achieve this. If you experience chronic high stress levels it is likely that your adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing stress and sex hormones, are fatigued. Adrenal health is essential for sexual health and if yours are fatigued, you can strengthen them with a nutraceutical such as Adrenal DMG.[ii]
Depression is extremely common, and it can have a cyclic effect on your relationship, where the depression causes an emotional and physical disconnect from your partner, and the disconnect worsens depression. Depression is a major inhibitor of libido and it can be caused by mental and/or physical imbalances, and also by unaddressed emotional traumas. Unfortunately, allopathic doctors treat all depressed patients under the assumption that they have a neurotransmitter imbalance (which is often not the case), and the medications they prescribe can significantly decrease libido, arousal, and orgasm frequency and intensity.[iii]
If you experience ongoing depression, it is advised that you see a naturopath or functional medicine practitioner to reverse chemically-based depression, and a hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner to reverse mentally and emotionally-rooted depression. The practitioners of these professions take a holistic approach and aim to address the underlying cause with safe and natural methods. And if a neurotransmitter imbalance does happen to be at play, they will treat them with herbs and other nutraceuticals that are natural and free of sexual side-effects. Also worth noting, is the fact that low testosterone can lead to depression and if you experience it in conjunction with sexual symptoms, you should have your total testosterone levels measured. If they are low or on the low-end-of-normal, Testro Vida Pro can help optimize your testosterone levels and maximize your libido and virility.
Past Sexual Trauma
Sexual trauma during youth is frighteningly common in both genders — one in four girls and one in six boys will experience it before the age of 18.[iv] It is also very common in college-aged women, with 23% experiencing some form of sexual assault.[v] Unfortunately, recovery isn’t easy, and most survivors don’t take the necessary steps to achieve it. If left unaddressed, sexual trauma can cause a total loss of desire, reduced sensations of pleasure, painful sex, an inability to orgasm, and/or erectile dysfunction. It can also lead to sexual promiscuity, recklessness, sexual addiction, emotional numbness and unfulfilling, disconnected sex.
Sexual trauma frequently interferes with the ability to trust and may even cause you to feel anger towards your partner for desiring or initiating sex.[vi] It can also cause you to associate feelings of shame with sex and pleasure. And the loss of personal power and control that occurs can cause you to over assert yourself in every aspect of your relationship and prevent the surrendering that is necessary for sexual pleasure and release.[vii]
To recover from sexual trauma, you need to realize you are not alone, you did not cause the assault, and there is no shame in what happened to you. Also, you cannot recover on your own, and suffering in silence will harm your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It is important that you open-up and share your experience with a family member or close friend, and that you talk to your lover about it. You may also require professional help. A qualified and experienced Clinical Hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner can be especially helpful because they can quickly access the subconscious mind where memories and traumas are stored.[viii][ix]
Tantric sex can also be tremendously helpful. Tantric sex emphasizes practices such as sustained eye contact, bliss breathing, dramatically extended foreplay, enjoying the journey and letting go of orgasm as the primary goal, and being in the moment. These practices help create a safe, intimate space where you can more easily let go, relax, bond and connect with your partner — all of which enhance your ability to experience pleasure. To learn more about Tantric sex:
The above are the leading psychological causes of sexual dysfunction but there are numerous others that can be at play. Additional common contributors include performance anxiety, sexual guilt and shame (learned from parents or through religious or societal training); an overly analytical mind, pornography addiction, and a lack of understanding of yours or your partners body. Often there is more than one psychological issue that needs to be dealt with, or there is a combination of physical and psychological culprits that need to be addressed. If you would like to learn all the possible causes of sexual dysfunction, how to reverse them, and how to achieve a euphorically satisfying sex life, get a copy of: New Guide to Sensual Bliss for Women or New Guide for Maximum Pleasure for Men