Psychological Self-Help

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1049
Lack of sexual interest and solutions
A few people experience very little sexual drive, even in new
romantic relationships. But most of us are obsessed with sex in the
early infatuation stages of a relationship. We eagerly spend hours
every day touching, kissing, holding, fondling, and sexually arousing
our new love. Yet, after a few years, the burning interest wanes. Sex
becomes routine. Why? We don't understand it, but it happens to all of
us to some extent, e.g. the frequency of intercourse declines from
once a day (for a short while) to once a week years later. It is an
expected transformation. The change is so gradual we hardly notice it.
Suddenly we realize that the person who once drove us crazy can
undress in front of us and we hardly notice. Some people go for weeks
without wanting sex, some reject their partner's advances. 
Part of the problem is that many of us think everyone else (except
our parents and the other "old folks") is having hot sex every night,
and probably "getting some" on the side as well. Thinking that way,
we may feel we are not as sexual as others. However, a recent
objective survey (Michael, Gagnon, Laumann & Kolata, 1994) found
that less than 8% of us are having sex more than four times a week.
Two thirds of us have sex "a few times" per month or less. The
remaining 30% of us have sex only a few times a year or less. So,
Americans aren't as sexually obsessed as we may think. 
Inhibited sexual desire is the most common sexual problem, about
50% of all long-term relationships have a partner who lacks interest.
In 15-20% of the cases of serious loss of interest there are physical
causes, so check this out with a medical specialist. For instance, in
menopausal women the lack of androgens frequently causes a
loss of sex drive, so estrogen-androgen therapy, which includes
testosterone, is needed. The key to horniness in females as well as
males seems to be testosterone. For instance, women, who have had
their overies removed, have improved their sex life by using 300
microgram testosterone patches (Dr. Jan Shifren, Sept 7, 2000, New
England Journal of Medicine). This is promising. Recently, women have
also tried Viagra, thinking it would turn them on like it does men. Early
reports were that Viagra doesn't increase libido in women but some
experts think that was because the tests were done with post-
menopausal women who were taking estrogen but getting no
testosterone. If the woman's testosterone level is optimal, some
researchers believe Viagra would work. There have also been reports
that women taking antidepressant medication can benefit from Viagra.
Finally, a variety of promising research (including a tiny clitoris
stimulator) is being done in this neglected area. 
When men have trouble getting or keeping an erection (see later
section), which could certainly cause a lack of interest, almost half the
time there is a physical health factor or cause. If sex is not enjoyable
because a climax can not be reached (see later discussion),
intercourse may be avoided. Much of the time, however, men and
women's lack of interest is caused by psychological factors:
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