At the Intimacy Center, we see the sexual relationship as woven into the larger life of the couple relationship. It isn’t possible to “treat” the sexual problem without addressing the ways in which the couple is having difficulty creating safety and security within the larger relationship. It is said that “sex begins in the kitchen.” When a couple learns to help each other feel important and loved, when a couple is expressing affection and respect, and when a couple has built a sanctuary for their relationship that is not threatened by work or kids or in-laws, then the couple has the context to grow a truly satisfying sexual relationship.
We assess what a couple needs to build a satisfying sexual relationship. In some cases, the couple has functioned sexually quite well in a previous time, but the sexual relationship has died as a result of emotional neglect, betrayals, or other life distractions. The couple needs to heal the hurts and re-establish the primacy of the relationship. These couples may need little direct attention to the sexual relationship itself. Other couples experienced a passionate sex life early, but have not developed the skills necessary to sustain a sexual relationship based on affection and emotional connection rather than on the excitement of early discovery. Still other couples have never experienced their sexual relationship as something that is deeply satisfying to both of them.
We tailor the sexual therapy to the needs of the couple. Many couples benefit from a series of sexual experiences that we discuss and “assign” as “homework.” These include “sensate focus” exercises developed out of the research of Masters and Johnson that provide the couple with experiences of discovering the delight of touch with their partner. We help couples learn to express to their partner what they enjoy and desire in the sexual relationship. Couples learn to create sexual experiences that avoid any demand for “performance”, but rather are rooted in the giving and receiving of pleasure, in the expression of affection, and in the securing of the bond of the relationship.