Generally speaking, sexual dysfunction refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity. In both men and women, the sexual response cycle, first proposed by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson was thought to have four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. They believed that despite some minor differences, sexual responses in both men and women are fundamentally similar.

     However, other theorists have posited that there are other ways to define the sexual response cycle. For example, Helen Singer Kaplan argued that Masters and Johnson's model only evaluated sexual response from a physiological perspective, and that psychological, emotional, and cognitive factors need to be considered. Her model, in contrast, posited a sexual response cycle that encompasses three phases: desire, excitement, and orgasm and argues that they have different neurophysiological mechanisms of action (Kaplan, H. S. Disorders of Sexual Desire. New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1979).

   Another theory, the incentive-motivation model, proposes that the desire for sex comes from an interaction between stimuli that are present in the environment and a sensitive and sexual response system that is alert and attuned to opportunity. This model supports the idea that sexual desire is not spontaneous. It implies that one feels sexual desire because one has sex (Laan, E. & Both, S. (2008). What makes women experience desire? Feminism & Psychology 18(4), 505-514).

   

  Conversely, Rosemary Basson proposed yet another model of sexual response cycle. She argues that the linear model is good at explaining men's sexual response but deficient in explaining the sexual response cycle in women, which she describes as more circular in nature. She believes that closeness or attachment to a partner increases the effectiveness of sexual stimulation, which in turn leads to enhanced sexual arousal, which may then, ultimately result in orgasm. Consequently, this positive sexual arousal continues the sexual desire that women feel, and this desire increases intimacy with the partner. (Basson, R. (2001). Using a different model for female sexual response to address women’s problematic low sexual desire. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 27, 395-403.

    Regardless of which of the above-proposed models of sexual response cycle sexual you agree with, what is true in all cases, if there is a glitch in the sequence of the cycle, sexual dysfunction can occur. Some of the common causes include:

 

Physical causes — physical and/or medical conditions that can cause problems include traumatic orthopedic and bodily injury due to accidents, natural disasters, or war; diabetes; cancer; heart and vascular disease; neurological disorders; hormonal imbalances (including vaginal changes due to ageing); pregnancy; post-childbirth complications; endocrine diseases; chronic diseases of the kidney or liver; heavy drinking and drug abuse. Additionally, the side effects of certain prescription medications, including some antidepressants drugs and blood pressure medication can affect sexual desire and function.

 

Psychological causes — include work-related stress and anxiety; scheduling conflicts (i.e., 'night person' versus 'morning person' preferences); financial problems or debt; worry over legal issues; distraction over household matters; concern about sexual performance; distress about ageing; preoccupation with weight changes and body image; marital or relationship problems; childcare demands; depression; feelings of guilt; conflicts about expectation (i.e., frequency of sexual activity); PTSD; flashbacks resulting from the aftermath of a past sexual trauma.

Environmental causes – may include uncomfortable sleeping arrangements; lack of adequate privacy; fear of being interrupted (by children or other house guests); fear of being heard by others; and pet interruptions (yes, really).

 

DISORDERS in Women

   Although female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is highly prevalent, it had been an underestimated problem in the general community. As mentioned above, FSD can include disorders of sexual desire, orgasm, arousal, and sexual pain that results in significant personal distress. The problems are multifactorial in that trauma, physical illness, medication, relationship satisfaction and age (whereby problems progress over time) can all affect sexual functioning and pleasure.

   In a study on the epidemiology of FSD, the authors found that in general, 40% of women will experience some form of sexual problem in their lifetime, but only 12-25% was found to be associated with personal distress (which can be interpreted to mean relationship frustration or discontent) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19482447. This could indicate then, that 15%– 25% of FSD can be accounted for by physiological and medical problems. The study also mentions that disorders which cause FSD can be attributed to problems that affect agility, flexibility, and activity, as well as impression of body image and feeling attractive. Another important point they mentioned is that FSD is often one of the first signals/symptoms of a disease process or an adverse drug reaction. This might suggest that assessing for FSD, as part of every routine medical exam or doctor appointment, could prove beneficial and may provide early detection for an illness that might have otherwise been overlooked.

   In another very recent study, the prevalence of FSD during pregnancy was estimated to be as high as 68.8%. According to the assessment scores of all domains and total score were significantly reduced during the whole period of pregnancy compared to the pre-conception period. However, there was significant increase of all domains and total score during the second trimester in comparison to the first and third trimesters. (J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2014 Apr;40(4):1023-9. doi: 10.1111/jog.12313. Epub 2014 Mar 10).

    Over the years, diagnostic criteria and nomenclature for sexual disorders have changed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. According to the DSM 5,   http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf. There is now a “nonsexual mental disorder" which is deemed to be a consequence of severe relationship distress (e.g., partner violence) or other significant stressors. Also, a new group of criteria called “associated features” was introduced. It is subdivided into five categories: 1) partner factors (e.g., partner sexual problem; partner health status); 2) relationship factors (e.g., poor communication, discrepancies in desire for sexual activity); 3) individual vulnerability factors (e.g., poor body image; history of sexual or emotional abuse), psychiatric comorbidity (e.g., depression; anxiety), or stressors (e.g., job loss; bereavement); 4) cultural or religious factors (e.g., inhibitions related to prohibitions against sexual activity or pleasure; attitudes toward sexuality); and finally 5) medical factors relevant to prognosis, course, or treatment. This is a very important distinction because it places an emphasis on relationship dynamics that can be a focal point for therapy. Additionally, there was a blending of the diagnoses of dyspareunia and vaginismus into a single entry named genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder. Finally, the diagnosis of sexual dysfunction due to a general medical condition was removed from the DSM-5, but the criteria for substance/medication-induced sexual dysfunction are unchanged.

   Treatment strategies may include: Medical intervention (involving procedures for any physical problem that may be contributing to FSD); Medications such as sildenafil (Viagra™) or similar drugs that were initially used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men; Hormones therapy or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT); Psychological intervention which addresses feelings of anxiety, fear, or guilt about sex, poor self-esteem, body image concerns, infertility, issues with pregnancy, post-partum complications and depression, or history of past trauma (sexual or intimate partner/domestic violence) that may impair sexual function; and Mechanical aids such as pelvic floor stimulators like Intensity™ (www.pourmoi.com) for women. This is a state-of-the-art device is designed to enhance sexual health and well-being while strengthening the pelvic floor. And most important, Education about sex, and sexual behaviors, that is intended to facilitate overcoming anxieties about sexual problems and inhibition. Sex therapy can also provide a non-judgmental atmosphere whereby couples can share an open dialogue about feelings and sexual needs; it also helps couples overcome barriers to intimacy, and encourages the discovery of couple-specific sexual practices that promote a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

 

DISORDERS in Men

     The most common problems related to sexual and erectile dysfunction (ED) in men include ejaculation disorders, erectile dysfunction and inhibited sexual desire.

 

EJACUALTION DISORDERS: There are different types of ejaculation disorders, including:

Premature ejaculation occurs before or soon after penetration.

Inhibited or retarded ejaculation is what the term implies; it's when ejaculation is abnormally delayed or does not occur.

Retrograde ejaculation occurs when, at orgasm, the ejaculate is forced back into the bladder rather than through the urethra and out the end of the penis.

    Although there logical physiological reasons for ED, sometimes premature and inhibited ejaculation can be caused by psychological factors. They include: a lack of sexual attraction for a partner/spouse; boredom with routine or lack of sexual diversity in lovemaking; a conservative religious background causing feelings of guilt or shame; and/or past traumatic events (including being discovered while masturbating or during illicit sex). Learning that a spouse/partner has had an affair can not only cause problems in the bedroom, it can also wreak havoc on all other areas of one's life.

      Premature ejaculation, generally the most common form of sexual dysfunction in men, often is due to performance anxiety during sex. However, there can be organic causes as well. Furthermore, certain drugs, including some anti-depressants, or damage to the spinal cord may also impair ejaculation.

    Retrograde ejaculation is most commonly found in males who suffer from diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). In other men, retrograde ejaculation can occur after operations on the bladder neck or prostate, or after certain abdominal operations. Additionally, certain medications, (especially those used to treat mood disorders), may cause problems with ejaculation.

 

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION is defined as the inability to attain and/or maintain an erection suitable for intercourse. Causes of erectile dysfunction may include problems with:

Arousal

The first step is sexual arousal, which men obtain from the senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell, and from thoughts.

Nervous system response

The brain communicates the sexual excitation to the body's nervous system, which activates increased blood flow to the penis.

Blood vessel response

A relaxing action occurs in the blood vessels that supply the penis, allowing more blood to flow into the shafts that produce the erection. If something affects any of these factors or the delicate balance among them, erectile dysfunction can result. Diseases affecting blood flow (atherosclerosis) include; nerve disorders; psychological factors such as stress, depression and performance anxiety; and injury to the penis. In addition, chronic illness, certain medications and a condition called Peyronie’s disease (scar tissue in the penis) also can cause erectile dysfunction.

Nonphysical causes may account for impotence may include:

Psychological problems

The most common nonphysical causes are stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression.

Negative feelings

Feelings (felt by you or expressed by your partner/spouse) such as resentment, hostility or lack of interest also can be a factor in erectile dysfunction.

 

INHIBITED SEXUAL DESIRE (reduced libido) refers to a decrease in desire for, or interest in, sexual activity. Reduced libido can be a result of: physical problems such as low levels of the hormone testosterone; psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression and PTSD; medical illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure; and certain medications, including some anti-depressants; and relationship difficulties.

  

Treatment strategies may include: Medical intervention involving procedures for any physical problem that may be contributing to ED; Medications such as sildenafil (Viagra™), varderafil (Levitra™), or tadalafil (Cialis™ ) all of which are intended to improve sexual function by increasing blood flow to the penis; Hormones therapy, either by testosterone injections, a testosterone patch that is applied to the scrotum or other parts of the body, by pills, or by implantable testosterone pellets; Psychological intervention which addresses feelings of anxiety, fear or guilt, about sex, poor self-esteem, body image concerns, infertility, performance anxiety, or history of past trauma (sexual or intimate partner/domestic violence) that may have an impact on sexual function; and Mechanical aids such as vacuum devices and penile implants; and most important, Education about sex, and sexual behaviors that is intended to facilitate overcoming anxieties about sexual problems. Sex therapy can also assist couples in opening up dialogue about feelings and sexual needs; it also assists the individual and/or couple to overcome barriers to intimacy and promotes a healthy sex life that is pleasurable and fulfilling.

 

Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) Therapies

   Complementary and Alternative Therapies are also options for both men and women. They include nutritional supplements, medical foods, herbs, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which have been used for centuries to treat sexual dysfunction, Tantric practices, Reiki, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy. In fact, studies have shown that acupuncture may help specific organs, and acupuncture and TCM have been used to treat hormonal imbalances as well.

 

Nutrition and Supplements

   Although not scientifically backed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vitamin therapy has been used to treat a myriad of conditions. Vitamin C may be helpful for both men and women, as it increases blood flow; Vitamin E and zinc to support hormone production; Essential fatty acids as those found in evening primrose oil, fish oil, and borage oil, help improve blood flow. Since essential fatty acids may increase the effects of certain medications, so ask your doctor before taking them; B-complex helps reduce stress. And for women, some studies show that DHEA, a hormone produced by the body's adrenal glands, may help restore libido in older women. DO NOT, however, use DHEA without a doctor's supervision.

Medical Foods

   This topic is covered in the "Medical Psychology and Interventions" section.

 

Herbs

   Herbs of all kinds have been used to treat illness and disease for centuries. However, as with any therapy, you should consult with your health care provider to properly diagnose your problem before starting any herbal regimen. Herbs can be found in various forms such as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). The following recommendations have been separated by gender.

 For men: Ginkgo biloba increases circulation and may improve sexual function. However, it may increase the effects of certain blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants), so be sure to discuss taking it before proceeding; Saw palmetto (may help prostate disease); Yohimbe (contains some yohimbine hydrochloride, a chemical found in a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction). A cautionary reminder, DO NOT take any of these without the supervision of a qualified health care professional.

For women: Arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, and damaina (Turnera diffusa), have been shown to have some effectiveness in treating FSD however, Arginine can affect blood pressure, blood sugar, and circulation so they should be used with caution; and Yohimbe combined with arginine may increase arousal. As is true for men, you should NOT take any of these without the supervision of your health care provider.

 

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

   Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used for centuries to treat sexual dysfunction. In fact, some studies show that acupuncture may help specific organ function and help to regulate hormonal imbalances. As will all of the above Complementary Alternative Therapies, be sure to check with your physician or allied health care professional before implementing any of the above recommendations.

Tantric Sexuality & Practices

   Tantra is a mystical subject that is nearly impossible to define because, in essence, it is an experiential path that is intended to lead to sexual enlightenment and tantric bliss. It transcends categorization of gender – maleness or femaleness. And, while it is a deeply spiritual experience, it is not a religion or a cult, nor does not carry a set of rules, regulations, or doctrines that are imposed by organized religion. Furthermore, Tantra is the only spiritual practice that believes tantric union is sacred and not a sin — even outside of the marital bond. Tantra encourages looking past the ego and focusing on the divine in each person. As we put palms together and say "Namaste" (a familiar greeting in Tantra, Reiki, Yoga, etc,) we are declaring, "The divine in me, honors the divine in you."

    The basic difference between unenlightened sexuality and Tantra is that sexual intimacy becomes sacred and divine when you engage from your heart and body, rather than just by cognition. As you embrace Tantric intimacy, your universe opens to new dimensions. By stimulating this innate sensual spirituality, you can discover parts of yourself that have been repressed. Furthermore, by understanding and participating in Tantric practice, you can enjoy a rich and fulfilling sex life on a whole new continuum. It also helps to modulate guilt or fear, and can help in breaking down self-imposed or limiting cultural beliefs or family-of-origin mores and attitudes about sex that were instilled during childhood that discouraged sexual creativity.

   The essence of Tantra can be likened to stirring up the cosmic taproot of existence, the primordial energy from which everything else in the universe originates, and merging it with our core self and celestial sexual energy. This energy is like a control center that fires up the body's instinctive biological energy system and merges it (and you) with universal energy. As you enter this new realm of awareness and state of consciousness and become more open to new experiences, it can lead to indescribable, and potentially limitless orgasms if the goal is sexual pleasure.

     There is an impressive word for sex in the Sanskrit language called Kama, which means that sex and love go together. The classic 7th century Tantric scripture, Kama Sutra, is an amazing text which describes, in detail, different practices and positions that are geared toward achieving tantric bliss. If you decide upon including Tantra in your scope of sexual practice and lovemaking, it is important to obtain proper training from an ethical practitioner before proceeding. The teachings in the Kama Sutra are one such avenue of reference, and can be used as a springboard to obtaining this education. Also, there are many Tantra "experts" that can be found on the internet to serve as guides. Research your options and ask lots of questions about their training, level of expertise, and ethical policies. Also, do some background checks and read comments of others who have participated in their workshops. Finally, if you are wanting your spouse/partner to participate with you, you MUST get permission. All sexual encounters should be safe, sane (as defined by the couple) and consensual.

 

Yoga & Sexual Practice

   It has long been understood that sexual satisfaction requires a complex alignment with mind, body and spirit. If our bodies are out of shape and not accustomed to physical activity, it can be difficult to maintain stamina during sexual activity. If the mind is distracted and thinking about a myriad of undone projects, children, or work, it is difficult to be fully present with your beloved.

   Historically, Western culture, deemed that spirituality and sexuality were not customarily compatible; the puritanical notion held that sex was only for procreation, not pleasure. If one was spiritual or "religious," he/she could not also enjoy sex. Times changed, however, and the pendulum seemed to swing the opposite direction; sex was now just a carnal desire or mindless activity with little spirituality attached to it.

 

   In the East however, there are countless references to the connection between sex and spirituality. Numerous temples are adorned with erotic sculptures of exquisite beauty, in India, China, Japan, Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, etc,. There are also many religious and spiritual symbols in the East bearing an erotic connotation including: the famous Erotic Netsuke made of mammoth ivory sculptured in Japan; the Hindu Shakti goddess statues representing Sacred Yab-Yum union www.goddessgift.net/page32.html; the Mural of Priapus depicting the attributes of Mercury found in Pompeii; and the erogenous art as depicted in the Kama Sutra (ancient sex manual). There is also a historical belief is that Shiva's (Hindu Deity) Linga or Lingam, represents the phallus, the emblem of the generative power in nature. However, other scholars posit that "Shiva Linga speaks to the devotee in the unmistakable language of silence, and it is only the outward symbol of the formless being, Lord Shiva, who is the undying soul seated in the chambers of your heart, who is your in-dweller, your innermost self or 'Atman,' and who is identical with the supreme 'Brahman.' " http://hinduism.about.com/od/lordshiva/a/What-Is-Shiva-Linga.htm. These monuments represent uninhibited sexual desire and freedom. The practice of tantric yoga is an avenue to this sexual liberty and can help center and open the mind-body-spirit connection with the goal of providing a more fulfilling sex life.

   However, Tantric yoga is not just about sex. Although increased pleasure can be an added benefit, Tantra itself, is derived from the more spiritual style of Kundalini yoga. Many of the poses used in Kundalini yoga can be considered tantric if you perform them simultaneously with an opposite gender (heterosexual) or same gender spouse or partner.

   A large component of a yoga practice is focused on softening our defense systems, to find a safe arena where we can let go, trust and delve into the depths of who we are. Yogi Bhajan once said, "Physical intercourse is called 'the bridge of seven constructions.' You can elevate your physical, mental, and spiritual body seven times over if it is an intercourse of mind, body and soul - if it is sacred, if it is worthwhile. Otherwise, it is the dumbest thing to do" cited from Marriage on the Spiritual Path. Other great references include Jewel in the Lotus: The Sexual Path to Higher Consciousness, Sunyata Saraswati and Bodhi Avinasha and The Tao of Sexology: The Book of Infinite Wisdom, by Stephen Thomas Chang.

Reiki & Sexuality

   The practice of Reiki is about energy movement of Qi (pronounced 'chee'). The energy of Qi flows from the crown chakra (top) and moves downward through the root chakra (base) and back up again in a circular fashion like the figure eight – the sign of infinity. Any chakras that are shut down or partially blocked will be opened up during the attunement process. The second chakra, the body's sexual center is especially effected by this process. If a person has been sexually repressed or has had his sexual center shut down due to sexual trauma, Reiki attunement could very possibly open up a “Pandora's box” of intimacy-related issues, sexual urges, and emotions.

     If a person's sacral chakra is blocked or shut down, he or she can still have a sex life. However, it is like going through the motions without having total body awareness. Sharing sexual intimacy, for the first time, while the sacral chakra is open can be a completely startling experience for the person who has been closed off from his or her physical body. The exquisite connection is like a magnificent marriage of the physical body and the ethereal spiritual.

   A Certified Reiki Master can teach the student Reiki practitioner how to move this energy and conduct regular self-treatments which will keep his or her chakras spinning and vibrating in perfect harmony. When the sacral chakra is open and functioning properly, it can work like a force field to align you and your lover's sexual energy in perfect sync. Sharing Reiki energy during love making is truly an amazing gift. If both partners are attuned to Reiki, the sexual union has the potential to hit new heights of sexual bliss.

   Giving your partner/spouse a Reiki massage backrub can be a very nurturing demonstration of your love as well. It can also be a means of sexual foreplay; for others, it may have a calming effect and help to ease the stresses and tensions of the day, especially when the lights are low, scented candles are burning, and soft music is in the background.

   The basic Reiki hand placements during traditional Reiki are not used while giving a sensual massage. Rather, hand movements are gentle and free-flowing without conscious direction or intention. Reiki energy kicks in naturally as the energy starts to flow between you. This exercise is a wonderful way to share sensual pleasure in a non-threatening way and become more intimate with your partner/spouse on a deeper level. Please note: The back rub massage described here should not be used as therapy in a clinical setting or as a healing practice. Such behavior is ethically unacceptable between a practitioner and a client and is reserved for your intimate relationship.

 

Massage & Sexual Foreplay

   Therapeutic massage, (that is done by a licensed massage therapist), can provide many healing benefits including amelioration of pain stress reduction. But a professional massage is NOT a means to sexual gratification. While many have joked about the fantasy of having an erotic massage (especially men) by a therapist, an ethical massage practitioner will never go there. Make no mistake, erections can, and often do occur during routine therapeutic massages. It is natural. The reality is, however, if they are licensed, have any sense, and respect their career as a financial livelihood, they will not cross that boundary by gratifying a request for genital massage.

      In fact, each State has a licensing board that governs the practice of massage therapy by a strict code of ethics and set of guidelines. While there are many tenets, the few that address boundaries in practice include: Represent their qualifications honestly, including education and professional affiliations, and provide only those services which they are qualified to perform; Accurately inform clients, other health care practitioners, and the public of the scope and limitations of their discipline; Acknowledge the limitations of and contraindications for massage and bodywork and refer clients to appropriate health professionals; Provide therapy only where there is reasonable expectation that it will be advantageous to the clients; and most important, Refrain, under all circumstances, from initiating or engaging in any romantic or sexual conduct, sexual activities, or sexualizing behavior involving a client, even if the client attempts to sexualize the relationship. This is to protect both the therapist AND the patient. Although there are many other criteria listed in the code of ethics, these are the main standards would relate to sexual stimulation in a professional setting.

    I mention the above description to make certain you understand that there is a differentiation between a professional therapeutic massage, that is intended to provide pain management and relief from stress, and a sexual massage, that can be used in foreplay and/or means to genital intercourse.

    In my sex therapy practice, I often give couples the assignment of creating a "sex date." They take turns by flipping a coin to see who goes first. It is up to the "winner" of the draw to make the arrangements and create the scene/theme, location, circumstances, and activities. And it MUST be SAFE, SANE (as defined by the couple), and CONSENSUAL. If a spouse/partner wants to introduce something new to spice up the routine, they are instructed to ask, "Is this OK?" every step of the way. In all cases, NO, means NO for safety reasons. The frustrations, fears, and disappointments of "NO," as well as the intrigue or pleasure experienced, perhaps for the first time, get processed in therapy. The following week, they switch roles and the imitator becomes the recipient.

      One of the suggestions I make to use as an "ice breaker," to relax the moment, is sensual massage, especially if either partner/spouse has been a victim of sexual abuse. Loving hands and slow motion provide a relaxed atmosphere of safety and open the door to sensual pleasuring that may or may not lead to genital contact or intercourse. When couples return for their next scheduled therapy visit, they share honest feelings about the experience; surprise, disappointment, fear, joy, ecstasy, and/or frustrations. In every instance they learn a lot about each other's likes, dislikes and needs, emotionally and sexually.

 

Meditation

   As has been mentioned in the above sections, it is really difficult to feel sexual arousal if our minds are cluttered by, and preoccupied with, a mountain of to-do lists. Purposefully entering into a meditative state can help quiet the mind and prepare the body for sexual intimacy. Meditation can be practiced in different ways, but there are a few essential key points that are required to enter into a peaceful and focused meditative state.

      First, it is necessary to get comfortable. Second, relax your body. Start with your shoulders and be mindful of any tightness that you feel in your muscles. Anywhere you feel tension, tighten the muscle for a few seconds and relax. Repeat the same pattern for any other areas of tension you feel in the rest of your body. Third, pay attention to your breathing. As you slowly inhale, think about the good energy you are about to experience with your sexual encounter, whether you have planned on self-pleasuring or mutual genital contact with your partner/spouse. As you exhale, imagine that you are expelling all of the toxic thoughts and negative energy that may get in the way of the intended union with your beloved (including yourself). As you repeat the pattern of receiving in (inhaling), and letting go (exhaling) you are releasing blockages to intimacy and forging the path to sexual awakening. This exercise can be done solo or with your partner/spouse.

   Finally, just as yoga and meditation connect you to your boundless cosmic energy, Venus Kriyas create a neurochemical change in the brain, allowing couples the experience of ecstasy and bliss together. Venus Kriyas and other meditations for couples are an excellent preparation for lovemaking or as a regular spiritual practice. They are especially effective if couples choose a Venus Kriya or meditation that they practice consistently for 30, 60, or 90 days to enhance a particular aspect of their relationship. Meditation quiets the limiting and critical voice of the ego, allowing the expansive voices of the neutral mind and heart to become central. As a couple, you will experience enhanced trust and intimacy which can lead to sacred sexual union and, ultimately, tantric bliss. The following online library describes a list of terms and provides a wealth of additional information about Kundalini yoga and Kriyas meditations. http://www.kundalinirising.org/kundalini_yoga_kriyas_meditations.

IN SUMMARY  

What is true about developing a sacred sex practice with your beloved with ANY of the above-mentioned techniques is there are a few basic principles that should be kept in mind:

 ONE: Cultivate the relationship between your divinity/the universe within and your belief in God (or higher power), in you first.

Because we all originate from the Creator, we can be in touch with and experience that universe within that defies the confines of our finite bodies. See the divinity in yourself as your foundation, building your identity from there. The admiration and respect one feels within SELF then, can transcend into the blissful sexual union as a couple.

 TWO: A committed relationship is recommended

Sexual intercourse between a penis and vagina (in a heterosexual union), or sexual pleasuring (genital or otherwise) between gay and lesbian couples is not a just a perfunctory act in sacred sex. It is a total merger of opposites, vibrations, life-force, chi, consciousness, and mindfulness. The perimeter of the individual universes split and merge with one another. A sacred sexual merger on such a high spiritual level is so intimate and fulfilling that without a firm commitment, the emotional damage could be devastating to one or both persons. If you are not ready for a committed relationship, it is recommended that you wait before embarking on the sacred sexual journey. As you focus on yourself and practice the recommendations in the first principle, you will be attuning your energy to the universe and opening the door to finding your soul mate.

 THREE: Everyone grows at their own pace

Rarely is it the case where both people are on the same page when the idea of sacred sexuality is introduced for the first time into a relationship. Usually, one person has set forth on a journey to find deeper meaning to sex and life in general. The spouse or partner may not have a clue about what is happening in their partner/spouse's mind and therefore might be either intimidated or turned off by the idea. The best way to introduce the idea is to provide EDUCATION on the subject matter before introducing any sacred sexual exercises. This will give your partner time to adjust to the idea and will provide a safe space for you as a novice couple to forge new territory in your sex life.

FOUR: Communication is key

As in all matters of sexual intimacy, the only RULE prior to embarking in sacred sex is that it is SAFE, SANE (as defined by the couple) and CONSENSUAL. In other words, both individuals agree on the aspects of the sexual union and no one gets hurt physically, emotionally, or spiritually. The only way to accomplish this is by establishing open lines of communication from the start. It is essential to listen to each other's desires, free of judgment, blame, or criticism.

 FIVE: Cultivate a reverence for the divine between you - outside of the bedroom.

The first tenet of sacred sex as described above involved creating and nurturing a personal relationship between yourself (universe within) and God (belief system in a deity). This guideline suggests that you find ways of connecting to this energy (source) BEFORE sharing it TOGETHER. Strolling in the park while holding hands, sitting on the seashore listening to the waves and seagulls, or walking through the woods listening to the rustling leaves as the breeze blows through the trees, are ways to both connect with nature and each other. Also, giving each other a sensual massage, reading poetry, or even doing a project together that you both enjoy are ways to bond in an intimate way. The Yogi Bhajan once said, "If the feelings are aroused to the point of worship, and the Shakti (female) worships the Shiva (male), and Shiva melts like nectar into her, then it is a unity. But when it is not done as a worship, when she does not perceive and receive him in divinity within herself, (when) he does not go in her as the nectar of life and divinity, just to give to her, then it is not that act. It only feeds the monstrous ego, and egos clash." http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/yogi-bhajan

SIX: Encourage unrestricted love, acceptance, and RESPECT for one another.

Although raw passion and lust can be an ingredient of sacred sex, it is not the means to an end. The practice of sacred sex involves active loving, giving and receiving affection, enduring patience, generosity, thoughtfulness, and a never-ending devotion that is filled with compassion and forbearance. Most of all it is RESEPECTFUL of the blessed divinity of SELF as well the divinity you see and experience in your spouse or partner. There is a sense of comfort and safety that transcends understanding when each individual is appreciated and allowed to be their unique 'self' within the context of their special sacred sexual union.

 

 Of course, there is sex therapy as well. The basics of sex therapy are explained in the SEX THERAPY section under SERVICES of this website. Feel free to call 954-779-2855 to determine if sex therapy is right for your sexual problems.

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Unless otherwise noted, I have no relationship with any photo image or product line that is displayed in this section. The use of these images is to provide information about the subject matter on my website as ILLISTRATIONS ONLY.

NOTE: The last picture is a photo of my office.