Intimacy is not the same as Sex – Intimacy is something that occurs both inside and outside the bedroom, but sex isn’t necessarily required for intimacy. For most people, the issues around sex have to do with arousal (body function), desire (psychological function), and having a person’s conditions met for sex. If any one of these areas is not being addressed or there isn’t an environment for couples to discuss these topics, sex can become problematic. The couple will need to seek sex therapy from a qualified therapist to help to facilitate discussions about their intimacy issues. Read: What is sex?

How Does Sex Therapy Work

Read: Behaviours and Beliefs that will KILL your sex life…and your relationship too

One of the biggest challenges to a couple’s sex life is the beliefs and expectations they have about desire, “normal” sexual behaviour, and how they believe a male or female body should behave during sex. People often do not receive accurate information about sex, desire, and arousal. In most cases, our knowledge about sex comes from when we are adolescents. Having unrealistic expectations can set an individual or couple up for problems. Couples seeking therapy for solutions to their intimacy issues will find their beliefs and expectations about sex and intimacy challenged. Sex therapists have deduced that sex problems are more a problem of expectations or beliefs about sex rather than a problem that someone’s body isn’t working.

Read:Clinical discussion of the outdated sexual response cycle & how it may be hurting your sex life

Read: The sex talk most couples should have…but don’t until it is too late

Couples Seeking Sex Therapy in Singapore

At All in the Family Counselling (Singapore), our sex therapist aids couples with intimacy issues. Some common problems couples deal with include:

  • Body image
  • Beliefs about sexual acts
  • Religious beliefs
  • Alcohol or Drug Use
  • Unrealistic expectations about how your body or your partner’s body works
  • Unrealistic or too many conditions for sexual intimacy
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Stress at work
  • Tired
  • Ageing
  • Medications for psychiatric issues or physical health issues (SSRIs, Heart medication etc.)
  • Unresolved conflict in the marriage
  • Not liking your partner
  • Not finding your partner attractive any more
  • And Power!

Read our article on sexual problems

Read: What does it mean if an erectile drug doesn’t work?

Read: Are you playing the blame game to solve your sex problems

What People Want from Sex: Fun & Pleasure

Most people do not think about the purpose of sex. Our sexual needs and requirements change as we get older. According to sex therapists, what you want from sex today is probably a lot different from what you wanted when you were a teenager or in your twenties.

The reason or purpose we have sex is often socially constructed. We get a message about how much we “should” want sex, what “normal” sexual activity “should” look like or how our bodies should respond to certain sexual touch, etc. Often these messages we have received and internalised may or may not be realistic or actively reflect how your body works or what you want.

Ultimately, to want to have sex and to go through with sex, it needs to be reasonably pleasurable and fun. If sex is not fun or the expectations are that it won’t be fun or even more enjoyable than watching a TV show, people will probably not choose to do it. Also, what is fun for one person may not be fun for their sexual partner. So, if sex is not fun and pleasurable, and couples in Singapore do not have the space to discuss how to create fun and pleasurable sex, it may stop happening in a relationship or power struggles may ensue.

Read: What Does a Lost Erection During Sex Mean?

Read our article on What is Normal Sex

Sex is Not Just Intercourse

For many people, problems arise because they have somehow decided that there is a hierarchy to sex. Sex therapists in Singapore and globally have observed that people narrowly define sex as intercourse. Every other sexual act outside of intercourse is just foreplay, and anything else they do in the bedroom doesn’t count if they don’t have intercourse. People also qualify their orgasms as well. For many people, if they don’t orgasm through intercourse, somehow, it doesn’t count, or it’s not as good.

This narrow definition of sex can create problems for couples, especially those who have partners that find sex painful due to endometriosis, lower back pain, or other issues that can lead to painful sex. As such, seeking sex therapy at our centre in Singapore will allow couples to understand their intimacy issues better and find ways to solve them.

Not All Porn Use Means Addiction or Problem Behaviour

Porn use is highly controversial, with many people ascribing meaning to it that does not reflect any clinical research about it. One thing that people do not understand is that porn is probably not the problem. Many people falsely believe that if they can get their partner to stop using porn, they will now desire their partner. However, it doesn’t work that way.

People use porn for a variety of reasons, and taking it away will not necessarily redirect that sexual activity back to their partner. Understanding the motivations behind porn use can be helpful for a couple to see how their relationship needs to change to provide a satisfying sexual experience for both partners. This can be achieved through sex therapy. With this, our sex therapy counsellors in Singapore can guide couples through their intimacy issues and find a helpful solution that will benefit both.

Read our article written by our sex therapist in Singapore on porn use

Difference Between Desire and Arousal

Many people do not realise these are two distinct functions and do not go hand-in-hand. That is to say, just because I desire you, I should automatically get aroused, and if I don’t, I have a problem. Desire is both a psychological and emotional state. It is a very complex issue that is probably the least understood clinically and least researched (due to ethical issues). To date, there are no drugs that create desire.

Arousal is a physiological response that is tied to how your body works. Arousal is influenced by medications, physical health (such as your cardiovascular system), and age.

Want to have sex with someone who you find attractive and want, but your body is not responding as you would like? Neither one of these is necessarily a sex problem but may be more a relationship or individual issue that is related to stress, unrealistic expectations, or beliefs. Working through these issues and processing them with a professional sex therapist in Singapore will allow you to understand better what arousal and desire mean to you.

Love & Sex

Finally, many people turn sex into a test because of the meaning they give it. In many cultures, there are messages that if you love someone, you should automatically desire and become aroused by that person.

This belief is not necessarily an accurate reflection of how sex works and can set a couple or an individual up to think they have sex problems when, in fact, it may be relational, stress or anxiety-related, or some other issue.

So, if a person is older, under a lot of stress at work, and only getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep, it is unrealistic to think that they’ll be able to respond sexually to a partner, even if they have the desire and love their partner very much. A body is not designed to have sex under these conditions.

The problem arises by the meaning given when this person cannot perform, such as, “You don’t love me, or if you loved me, you’d be able to overcome all these psychological and physical demands and get aroused.” This can create problems for couples trying to have sex. But often, this is a life problem, not a sex problem.

If you are not having the satisfying sex life you’d like with your partner, counselling individually or as a couple at our therapy centre in Singapore can help open the dialogue to a new experience to address your intimacy issues.

What Can You Expect from Our Sex Therapist in Singapore

During your initial consultation, our sex therapist in Singapore will ask about your sexual, medical, relational, and psychological history for a more comprehensive understanding of your sexual health. If necessary, you might be directed for medical evaluations or physiotherapy, while ongoing therapy will encompass psychosexual support and education. Sex therapy primarily involves discussions, resembling counselling and psychotherapy. It’s important to note that during sex therapy sessions, you do not have to undress, and any form of sexual touch is strictly prohibited.

You might receive assignments or tasks to complete at home as part of the therapy process. These assignments will vary based on specific issues being addressed. The aim of these tasks is to help you develop and practise new skills in your own environment. If you’re in a relationship, involving your partner is recommended. Since the sexual concern is affecting the relationship, it’s crucial to address the issue collectively as well as individually. If you prefer, you can consider starting with individual counselling.

Read More

Schedule a Consultation with Our Sex Therapist in Singapore

If you are keen to book a sex therapy session at our counselling centre in Singapore, please do not hesitate to do so. Through an initial consultation, our professional sex therapists in Singapore will help you frame the goals and outcomes of sex therapy and what it would look like to achieve them. We also provide online therapy services for your convenience.

About Us

Our professional sex therapist, Ms Tammy Fontana, completed her Sex Therapy certification through The Advanced Mental Health Training Institute, an approved provider for the Florida Board of Psychology, Florida Board of Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling. Her certification as a sex therapist is in accordance with the professional and clinical guidelines of the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counsellors and Therapists (AASECT). AASECT adheres to ethical, educational and clinical guidelines for ethical and clinical treatment of relational sex and intimacy problems.

She also continues to enhance her knowledge and skills in systemic relationship and sex therapy, completing the individual training with the esteemed Dr Marty Klein, LMFT & Sex Therapist, one of the leading sex therapists and relationship therapists in the world. Her intensive clinical training continues to advance her skills and knowledge in helping her clients with relationship issues, specifically in their sexual issues.

Furthermore, Ms Fontana receives training and clinical supervision in hypnotherapy and sex counselling from Dr Denisa Legac, who is both a Medical Doctor and PhD Psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and sex therapist. Dr Legac is the founder of the Hypnosexual Therapy Society in Croatia and recognised by WHO.

Learn more about our therapist.

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