estimated that 11% of men and 23% of women are sexually molested
as children. 22% of women have been forced by a lover to do some
sexual act they didn't want to do. Sexual experimentation may give
little pleasure and lots of distress, including rejection, guilt, and
unwanted pregnancy. In short, our sex drives are a testimony to our
physiology and raging hormones (and to the emphasis on sexual
seduction in our entertainment), not to our wholesome child rearing,
our enlightened sex education, or to our psychosexual history.
Of course, everyone has heard of the "mid-life crisis." Sometimes,
about age 40, "sexual burnout" occurs. This is when sex with a long-
term partner becomes boring, the relationship seems emotionally
empty, and both may feel tired and sexually hopeless or inadequate.
Barry McCarthy (1982), a psychotherapist, reports that many couples
seeking counseling have devoted very little time to improving their sex
life or their relationship. Yet, many seeking therapy (80%) have found
the time to have affairs, hoping to spice up their sagging sex lives or
to stimulate their flagging sexual energy. Also, keep in mind that when
a sexually burned out couple gets a divorce, both will frequently go
through a torrid love affair with a new lover (so it's psychological, not
physical) and then find that the same sexual problems are gradually
reappearing with the second partner (Kolodny, 1983). So, we aren't
just animals operating on instincts either; "our mind is our biggest sex
There are some excellent comprehensive self-help books which
address a variety of sexual problems (Masters, Johnson & Kolodny,
1994; Kaplan, 1987; Yaffe & Fenwick, 1988). Margolies (1994) has
written for the wives of men with sexual problems. Reinisch (1990),
from the Kinsey Institute, tells us a variety of facts we need to know to
be sexually informed. Weinrich (1987) sheds research light on several
sexual puzzles, including homosexuality. We will briefly survey only
the more common sexual problems and how to treat them.
We tolerate a popular culture drenched in eroticism and a scientific literature bereft of
facts (the federal government has opposed several surveys of sexual behavior).