Psychological Self-Help

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attention on pleasing the partner and not enough on her own feelings,
negative feelings about the partner, not enough stimulation (if the
clitoris is stimulated 20 minutes or more, 60% have a climax almost
every time), fearing letting go (try desensitization), drinking too much,
and just not knowing what kind of touching feels good. Albert Ellis
(1974) says the pressure to perform prevents orgasms. Lillian Rubin
(1976) believes men are at fault because they make two impossibly
conflicting demands--(a) be a responsive, orgasmic woman and (b) act
like a naive, passive, innocent "good girl." As a result, according to
her, women turn off to sex but yearn for more love. The love vs. sex
conflict can also become a power struggle. These are the kinds of
psychological problems that may need to be solved before a woman is
free to climax. 
Other female problems include painful intercourse, vaginismus
(closing up of the vagina causing intercourse to be impossible or
uncomfortable), and rapid orgasm (like premature ejaculation). Pain is
usually due to a lack of lubrication or an infection. Vaginismus can
usually be dealt with by gradually inserting one well lubricated finger
and leaving it there while relaxing for a few minutes. Later, two fingers
can be inserted, then let the partner insert one finger, then two, then
his penis. This procedure may take a few minutes a day for 3 or 4
weeks. Stay relaxed (like in vivo desensitization) and use plenty of KY
jelly. Rapid orgasm can just be enjoyed. 
Data mentioned earlier in this chapter and in chapter 7 document
that many women have been traumatized by many different kinds of
sexual abuse and harassment. The mean, hostile, indifferent aspects
of sexual abuse are covered in chapter 7. Books for overcoming the
long-term emotional scars of incest and sexual abuse include Blume
(1990), Jarvis-Kirkendall & Kirkendall (1989), and Poston & Lison
(1990). In many cases, psychotherapy and group work will be
necessary too. 
Causes of sexual problems
Physical factors, like infections, may cause intercourse to be
painful (both for men and women) and this condition may lead to a
protective reaction in the woman of vaginismus and a lack of an
erection in a man. In addition, hundreds of prescribed drugs, illegal
drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and hormones affect our sexual reactions.
Hormones may be especially important after menopause. Some
physicians claim that 80% of sexual problems are physical in origin,
but many psychologists believe psychological causes are just as
common as physical causes (Masters, Johnson & Kolodny, 1985).
Unfortunately, few therapists are experts at treating both the physical
and the psychological factors. So, you may need to see two experts.
There is a Male Sexual Dysfunction Hotline (1-312-725-7722). 
Premature ejaculation and difficulty having an orgasm may be
"natural" or caused by psychological or interpersonal-emotional
factors. What are some of the psychological causes? There are many
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