Many people experience sexual difficulties at some point during their life. While some problems resolve themselves, some do not and professional help may be required. Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for many sexual issues, though it is important that you consult your GP before seeking treatment.
Sexual difficulties are generally problems that prevent the individual or couple from enjoying sex and can make sex difficult. According to the NHS, it is estimated that one in 10 men and almost 50% of women are affected by a sexual problem. Sexual difficulties can occur early in an individual’s life, develop suddenly after a previously satisfying sex life or develop gradually.
Some of the most common sexual problems for men are performance anxiety, sexual dysfunction and premature ejaculation. For women, the most commonly experienced sexual problem is vaginismus. Problems may also include loss of desire and loss of arousal.
To identify the cause of a sexual problem, both physical and psychological factors have to be considered. The first step is to consult your GP so that they can rule out any physical factors that may be contributing to the problem. Once any physical causes have been ruled out, hypnotherapy can be considered. In many cases, sexual problems are a result of an underlying psychological issue, often triggered by stress, anxiety or fear.
Hypnotherapy for sexual problems
Hypnotherapy can be beneficial for individuals experiencing sexual problems through helping to change negative or limiting thoughts and behaviours. After ruling out any physical factors, your hypnotherapist will work with you to try and recognise what may be causing the issue.
There may be a number of reasons why you are experiencing sexual issues. There may be something worrying you and causing you stress. You may have something playing on your mind that is impacting your general well-being. Maybe you are stressed at work or you are worried about your own, or a loved one’s health. Whatever the reason, you may not recognise it straight away. Talking to a hypnotherapist may help you understand what is causing the issue and how to manage it.
If you are ready to contact a professional, you can use our advanced search tool to find a hypnotherapist that you feel comfortable working with. If you’re not ready yet, that’s OK too, just know that we are here to help. In the meantime, you can learn more about hypnotherapy on our FAQs page.
What to expect from a hypnotherapy session
Hypnotherapy for sexual issues aims to access your unconscious and change the thought patterns and behaviours that are causing the problem. To promote positive change, relaxation and self-confidence, hypnotherapy uses the power of suggestion. Your hypnotherapist will tailor the suggestions to you, to help you learn what triggers the issue. Hypnotherapy can help you learn how to reduce stress and anxiety and rebuild an enjoyable sex life, without worry.
Hypnotherapy can help by removing any mental pressure that surrounds intercourse and performance anxiety. Techniques will help you start to trust your body and ignore the negative voice in your head, replacing it with a more positive, controlled state of mind.
Your hypnotherapy sessions will depend on you as an individual, as well as taking into consideration your symptoms and life experiences. If you have experienced a traumatic event or suffered a negative sexual experience, hypnotherapy can help guide you on the journey. Through specialist techniques, you will learn how to move your mind past the trauma and out of the negative cycle.
You may also be taught self-hypnosis techniques, which you can refer to whenever you feel you need to, long after your sessions are over.
Premature ejaculation (PE)
Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual problem for men. PE is characterised by a lack of voluntary control over ejaculation. Although most men will experience this at least once during their life (often during the first sexual experiences) they soon learn ejaculatory control. The condition can be associated with performance anxiety, depression, sexual repression and lack of confidence. Sex therapists or psychologists often use a series of exercises to help individuals improve ejaculatory control, such as the so-called ‘start-stop’ technique.
Inhibited sexual desire (ISD)
Inhibited sexual desire is the persistent loss of desire for sexual activity. It is common for sexual desire to fluctuate during an individual’s life, though if the problem persists it may be time to seek professional help. ISD is common in women but men can also be affected. Decreased sexual desire has been linked to depression, fatigue, stress, pregnancy, anxiety or relationship problems and ageing. However, it can also be caused by a fall in oestrogen or testosterone levels. If testosterone deficiency is the cause of ISD, replacement therapy is recommended. If not, an appropriate specialist can help try and determine the underlying cause.
Erectile dysfunction / impotence
Erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence) is a condition characterised by the inability to develop or maintain an erection. It has been estimated that half of all men aged between 40 and 70 will experience it at some level. Impotence can be caused by a number of physical and psychological factors and may only occur in certain situations. If for example, a man is able to get an erection during masturbation, but not with their sexual partner, the cause may be psychological. Psychological causes include stress, anxiety and depression.
Vaginismus is a condition affecting a woman’s ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration. Vaginismus is the involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles, making sexual intercourse painful. Vaginismus can occur after a vaginal trauma, such as childbirth, through fear of pregnancy or relationship problems. It may also be a result of another physical condition.
Dyspareunia is characterised by persistent pain with sexual activity. This is usually during penetration but can also occur during non-penetrative stimulation. The pain can be at the vaginal opening or further inside and can be extremely distressing. Pain during sex is commonly experienced after the menopause when there is a fall in oestrogen levels. If left untreated, dyspareunia can lead to a negative cycle of avoidance of sexual activity, anorgasmia or ISD.
Anorgasmia is a condition characterised by an absence or persistent delay of orgasm following stimulation. Individuals may experience anorgasmia due to fear or lack of knowledge about sexual contact, being unable to relax, relationship difficulties, stress and depression.
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