Sexuality is a multi-faceted arena that affects many areas of our lives, including our relationships and our state of physical and mental health. It encompasses a lot more than the ability to enjoy healthy sexual relationships. In some cases, sexuality can refer to a person’s values surrounding sex, or their sexual confidence and feeling of self-worth. In other words, sexuality is something that affects us all, whether or not we are sexually active.
Historically, society has shied away from discussions about sexuality. Fortunately, we are more open to talking about it with our partners, doctors and children. Communication about sexuality goes a long way to contributing to happy relationships, reducing unwanted teenage pregnancies, and breaking stigmas and myths that surround sexuality.
As with many things, sexuality is not always straightforward. It can be complicated by a number of things, including the following:
- Sexual orientation and gender identity: Members of the LGBT community may face challenges before, during and after a gender transition, or as a result of discrimination
- Personal history: Sexual assault survivors may struggle to form relationships or engage in sexual activity. Years after the abuse has ended, they can be triggered by certain acts or touches.
- Pregnancy: Many couples struggle to maintain a healthy sex live during pregnancy, sometimes because of physical discomfort, and sometimes because they fear for the safety of the unborn baby.
- The reproductive cycle: Sexual desires can change significantly as a woman goes through her monthly cycle. During certain times, various parts of her body can become oversensitive to touch. Sexuality also factors into discussions about planning pregnancies or dealing with unplanned pregnancies. Many couples also have to face the gut wrenching reality of infertility.
- Sexual dysfunction: Although most people associate sexual dysfunction with men, it can happen to women as well.
- Children: Opinions vary as to how parents should talk to their children about sexuality, but almost everyone agrees that discussions about consent are important from an early age. Research has shown that abstinence-based sex education actually results in higher levels of teenage pregnancy: it is more important for children and young adults to be informed about sex and sexuality in an age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate manner.
At InnerSight Psychotherapy, we recognize that conversations and issues surrounding sexuality can be difficult to approach. Our therapists and counsellors can help you approach these challenges in a way that is positive and constructive. Whether you and your spouse or struggling with your sex life, or you are trying to overcome triggers from a prior sexual assault, or you need to find ways to talk to your children about sex, we can help you. Our approach is based on empathy, openness and the utmost confidentiality.