Psychological Self-Help

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in non-sexual ways express his affection and willingness to "straighten
things out." She should try to understand and accept his interest in
sex as a sign that he wants to re-establish a warm, loving relationship. 
Hajcak and Garwood (1987) believe that sex is frequently
undertaken (without conscious awareness) to satisfy some other need,
such as loneliness ("no matter how many people I go to bed with, I
still feel lonely"), affection, intimate sharing of feelings, reassurance of
being loved, escape from sadness or boredom, and maybe even to
express anger. If sex doesn't meet those other needs, then for such
people, sex isn't achieving its purpose and they come to believe their
sexual relations are poor. These authors try to help people meet the
other needs in more appropriate ways--or at least get the other needs
out of the bedroom. Good sex only meets our sexual needs, not
curiosity or achievement needs and perhaps not even loneliness or
intimacy needs. We have to discover and deal with the underlying
extraneous needs we are trying to meet by having sex (see chapters
5, 6, 7, 8 & 9). 
Other interpersonal reasons why sexual interest is low include this
kind of thinking: "he/she has more (or fewer) sexual needs than I
have, so I'll let him/her decide when we'll have sex," "he/she turned
me down last time, I didn't like that, so I'll just wait," or "I'm tense
and not very horny, I don't want to give him/her the impression I'm
interested." When these kinds of inhibitions have been openly
disclosed and discussed, the sexual drive--of moderate strength--will
probably return. 
Probably the most common device for increasing sexual zest is the
VCR and adult films. This is apparently effective and enjoyable
stimulation for many people. But some people prefer their partner
become interested in and sexually excited by watching (and interacting
with) them rather than someone else on tape. Moreover, if a person is
already unhappy with his/her body or insecure about his/her love
making, watching beautiful, well endowed people making (or faking)
wildly passionate love, could increase his/her self-criticism and
inhibition. Each person has to figure out what turns him/her on; then
compromises have to be made with the partner. 
Besides improving the relationship, having stimulating sexual
thoughts, and reducing the negative emotions, the self-helper with a
low sex drive should concentrate on re-learning how to enjoy sex, so
he/she will have an increased interest in sex. Usually a method called
"sensate focus” is used by sex therapists. This involves getting
undressed with your partner, which can be sexy in itself, but refraining
from touching his/her genitals or breasts, thus, removing the pressure
to perform sexually. While nude, each person lovingly touches and is
touched, savoring the sensations (note: you aren't attempting to
sexually arouse the partner). In fact, sex isn't permitted during the
first few sessions of this exercise. In the next phase (a few hours or
sessions later), the breasts and genitals are included and touched.
Each partner must show the other what feels good by guiding their
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