Most people will experience a sexual difficulty at some point in their lifetime. Luckily, there are sex therapists and counselors who are trained to help people with these issues. Although individual cases vary in their specifics, there are a few sexual concerns that are quite common. 

Top Sexual Concerns for Women

The top two sexual concerns for women are 1) low or lack of sexual desire and 2) being pre-orgasmic. The first concern is that many women report that they have little or no desire to have sex, even if they are in otherwise satisfying relationships. The second concern is women who haven’t yet experienced an orgasm.

Low or Lack of Sexual Desire

Low or lack of desire is an increasing trend among women (and men, too). Lack of desire often is accompanied by discussions of a lack of time or energy for sex. Unfortunately, it can be a kind of “chicken and egg” situation. Lack of desire leads to lousy sex. And lousy sex makes you want sex even less.

The list of possible causes of low sexual desire is extremely long because there are many factors that could come into play. Here are a few common sources of low desire:

Body Image Issues - Not liking what you see in the mirror can make the thought of being naked in front of someone else unpleasant.

Aging/Hormonal Changes - Hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, and the feeling of being ignored by men decrease a woman’s feeling of desirability. In addition, a decline in estrogen or testosterone can suppress a healthy sexual appetite. 

Relationship Conflicts - Conflict with your partner over everyday issues, from money concerns to different child-rearing opinions, can reduce your level of desire.   

Unskilled Sexual Partners - People who are with lovers and having “bad sex” often lose desire. The more bad sex you have, the less you want (conversely, the more good sex you have, the more you want).

What You Can Do

First, you should work with your physician to rule out any physical reasons for low desire. Next, it is important to understand how your body responds to touch. Make time to self-pleasure (masturbate) and explore your capacity for pleasure. In addition, seek educational resources that will help you communicate your sexual needs to your partner. For example, check out this article on talking to your partner about sex.

Being Pre-Orgasmic

Women who are pre-orgasmic have not yet had the experience of reaching orgasm, either with a partner or alone. The causes of this condition usually are a sexually repressive upbringing, a childhood sexual abuse experience, or ignorance about the body and sex in general. Usually the best way to deal with this is to see a sexologist or sex therapist to explore root causes and how to address them.

Women who can have orgasms alone but not with a partner should first explore if medications are playing a part. If not, other causes that relate to the relationship could be the root cause.

These include, but are not limited to: lack of trust, a fear of intimacy, an inability to let go in bed, a history of faking orgasms, an unskilled partner, or poor communications with a partner.

What You Can Do

Explore the causal factors that allow you to have an orgasm alone but not with a partner. For example, does your clitoris get a certain type of stimulation that is different in each situation? You need to know your own body in order to enjoy sex. Next, take responsibility for learning your sexual responses and then telling and showing your partner what kind of sexual stimulation you like. Remember, communication is key. Finally, you may need to seek professional help through couples counseling.

Top Sexual Concerns for Men

Men can be affected by low or lack of sexual desire similarly to women, and many of the causes and resolution options are the same (see above).

A second concern for men is early ejaculation, when a man ejaculates sooner than he or his partner would like. It is the most common complaint of men under 40. Although there are many reasons for premature orgasm, here are the most common:

Pattern for Self-pleasuring (masturbation)

Men may develop the habit of rapid ejaculation when desiring a quick release during masturbation. It is then unconsciously applied when with a partner when the man feels pressure to hurry.

Anxiety About Sexual Performance

If a man feels worried about pleasuring his partner, he may not be able to control his ejaculation. This can become doubly problematic if has had prior early ejaculation experience and is worried about it happening again.

What You Can Do

The best way to solve the problem of early ejaculation is to learn behavior control. By understanding what is happening in your head and body before ejaculation, you can learn to slow down and pay attention so you can last longer.

For both men and women it is important to realize that sex is not necessarily about intercourse and having an orgasm. It is about touch, pleasure, and building an intimate connection with yourself and/or another person.