Has Sexual Intimacy With Your Partner Slipped Away?

Are you and your partner on different pages sexually? Do physical performance issues or a lack of desire get in the way of intimacy? Are you afraid the sexual relationship you once shared is gone, never to return?

When you lose sexual intimacy with your partner, it can be a lonely feeling. Perhaps the lack of sex is due to life changes. Things like a new baby, raising young children, the demands of a career, adjusting to retirement, or ageing may be affecting sexual activity with your partner.

Maybe you’re too tired to make love or spend quality time together. Other commitments seem to take priority, and when fatigue inevitably sets in at the end of the day, neither of you feels like having sex.

Or it could be your sex drives aren’t matching up—one of you is satisfied with the amount of sex you’re having while the other feels like it’s nowhere near enough. This sexual disconnect might be causing conflict and resentment between you.

Sex therapy at Couples In Step

If infidelity or porn use has entered the relationship, the resulting lack of trust may have derailed your sex life. One of you might feel sexualized by the other partner, leading to anger, emotional distance, and hostility.

Are physical issues like erectile dysfunction or pain during sex forcing your abstinence? Or possibly other chronic medical conditions—such as cardiac issues, diabetes, or cancer—are to blame.

When you’re no longer intimate with your partner, it can create feelings of inadequacy and loss of self-esteem. You might feel unattractive or blame yourself for no longer being desirable.

The good news is sex therapy can restore the special connection you once had with your partner.

Sex Therapy Is A Path Back To Intimacy

Sexual counselling for couples offers you a time and space for deeper exploration of intimacy issues in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Sex counselling provides normalization and education around sexuality by using language you and your partner might be too shy to use otherwise. Misunderstandings get corrected. Paradigms shift.

Couples In Step’s therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk has been certified in sex therapy since 2009 by BESTCO (Board of Examiners in Sex Therapy and Counselling in Ontario). Her philosophy is to treat sexual challenges within the context of your relationship. Except for one individual breakout session, she conducts sex therapy sessions with couples together.

Sexuality Counselling in ON is overseen by BESTCO

At your first joint session with Irene, she will help you gradually become comfortable talking about sex with each other—always proceeding at your pace, attuned to your comfort level. You will then each have an individual session with her to discuss specific questions about sexual history, sexual learning, current sexuality, and your concerns about sexual functioning. Joint sessions will resume thereafter.

Even when only one of you has a very specific concern, such as pain during intercourse, Irene will always encourage you to explore the impact this issue has on your partner as well as on your relationship. The goal is to have you and your partner become a team, even in dealing with sexual challenges only one partner is experiencing. It’s a lot easier to get through a challenge when your partner is encouraging, non-blaming, and part of the solution.

In ongoing sessions, you will discover sex is a whole lot more than the standard definition of intercourse. Sex therapy counselling can redefine your sexual activity from being an achievement program (i.e., strictly sexual intercourse with orgasm) to a sensual life of pleasure, fun, and intimate touch.

When you learn to broaden your definition of sex, it becomes bigger and fuller than just one act. By developing eroticism and intimate touch in your relationship, you will expand your idea of what satisfying sex looks like.

Sexual intimacy issues means enjoying each other like this couple eating ice cream togetheram and enjoying each other

Irene can help you normalize the different kinds of sexual encounters you and your partner have and desire: quickie sex, romantic sex, procreative sex, sexual adventure, kink, BDSM, etc. You will also get to examine how you originally learned about sex and how that learning has shaped the responses and fantasies you still have today.

The therapy model Irene uses, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) , approaches the issues couples face in their sexual relationship from the perspective of attachment and emotion. A 2018 study on sexual satisfaction found that couples who received Emotionally Focused Therapy reported an increase in sexual satisfaction.

EFT sex therapy allows you and your partner to unpack the unexamined emotions surrounding your feelings of connection (satisfaction, pleasure, closeness) along with your feelings of disconnection (anger, manipulation, inadequacy, and lack of trust). As you share your story with one another, you will develop mutual compassion and empathy—a key component to intimacy.

You may have given up on the idea of a physical connection with your partner, but even if your sexual relationship has faltered, there is hope. With sensitive help and encouragement, it’s possible to rekindle the private connection you once shared.

But You may Still be Wondering Whether Sex Therapy is Right for You…

I’m too embarrassed to talk about sex in-depth with a stranger.

It’s hard enough to talk about sexuality with your partner—understandably it can be even more difficult to discuss this most personal subject with a therapist. But Irene is adept at working gently and slowly to guide couples along at their own pace. As a trained sex therapist, she knows how to talk about sexuality in an unembarrassed way, helping couples overcome their embarrassment and reluctance talking about the issue.

Isn’t sexuality better discussed with a medical doctor than a therapist?

Consulting with other professionals is often an important part of treating sexual challenges. When a visit to a medical doctor (such as a urologist or a gynaecologist) is indicated, Irene can help you determine who to consult and what to discuss. Her role as a sex therapist, however, is to help you and your partner talk about, process, and sort through the emotional and psychological issues that arise in a sexually fraught relationship. The goal is to help you move past the physical and emotional challenges getting in the way of a pleasurable sex life.

What’s the point of addressing our sexual relationship if we’ve already grown accustomed to not having one? We’re in our 60’s or 70’s, so our sex life is probably over, right?

The myth that sex