The pleasures and perils of sex

According to research is that sex is a cure for illnesses like headache and hypertension-related diseases. Sex Therapy
According to research is that sex is a cure for illnesses like headache and hypertension-related diseases. Courtesy Photo

Sex is great! But problems between the sheets can affect anyone and one should not be too embarrassed to seek help or sex therapy.

Sex can be defined a thousand ways, and there’s no single answer to what sex is. But having a personal definition and sharing it with others is a good place to start to get more of what you want sexually.

Sex is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. However, sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe experiences; free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Sex is a way of becoming one with a loved one. It’s also an expression of our deepest being searching for love and giving it through the body. Sex enables two or more individuals to come together to express their love, lust, desire for bonding or caring for each other. Random sex – with different partners – is just that; random and will not reflect a loving relationship.

People have sex for different reasons. According to a study conducted at Makerere University, the leading reason for sex is, “I am attracted to the person.”

This new research reveals hundreds of varied and complex motivations to the act of sex that range from the spiritual to the vengeful.

Ninsiima Florence, the head of the research team at Mulago Medical School who conducted the study, narrated the core reasons people have sex.

“Traditionally, children are necessary in marriage so sex is for procreation. It’s a form of survival if one is a prostitute; experiencing physical pleasure and expressing love and to escalate the depth of the relationship. People also have sex to mark a special occasion – it’s a quick opportunity for celebration.”

Sex however, is also a tool employed for baser reasons. “Women use it as a trap to get their necessities because under the blanket a man is vulnerable to all a woman’s tricks, said Ninsiima. “Men also use it for selfish motives to exploit the women they have.”

The best news about this activity, according to research is that sex is a cure for illnesses like headache and hypertension-related diseases. Sex as a therapy can solve problems associated with problems in a relationship such as lack of satisfaction, especially for married couples who engage in it regularly.

Sex therapy is a specialized form of counseling for adults that focuses on sexual issues, most often for individuals in relationships (although you do not need to be in a relationship to seek sex therapy). Sex therapy is used to treat a host of sexual dysfunctions: non-consummation, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, unwanted sexual fetishes, sexual addiction, experiencing pain during sex, lack of sexual confidence, assisting victims of sexual assault and problems commonly caused by stress, fatigue and other environmental and relationship factors.

Sex therapy is usually solution focused. A sex therapist will try to help you develop a clearly defined issue. The goal of therapy will be to work on that issue and resolve it, or find a way to make whatever problems it causes have less of an impact on your life and sex life.

Commonly sex therapy will focus on a sexual dysfunction or major sexual communication problems between partners

Sex therapy can last anywhere from a few sessions to more than a dozen sessions. It is also usually directive sex therapists will ask questions and often give direct suggestions, homework exercises and information in an effort to support your goals for the therapy.

In countries like the United States, bodies like the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists and the American Board of Sexology certify sex therapists. No such associations exist in Uganda but most counselors, doctors and nurses should be able to refer patients to someone who can assist.

Sex therapy helps patients who don’t have the time or energy for regular sex,” said Dr. Davis Muhanguzi of Mulago Hospital. “If this has become the norm and you would like to re-discover your sex life, then our sex therapy programme is helpful. It’s natural to want better sex with your partner and sometimes there are specific reasons for your difficulties. Don’t be embarrassed about it, get help from the experts,” added Dr. Muhanguzi.

So what should one expect from a session with a therapist?

“A sex therapist or counselor will sensitively listen to your description of the problem and gather further information from you to ensure that any treatment suggested meets your needs,” said Dr. Sarah Nakito, a counselor with TASO Mbarara Hospital.

If sex therapy is considered appropriate, patients will start to see a sex therapist on a weekly to fortnightly basis. All of the work done in the therapy room is based on talking. However, homework is also given to do with your partner in the privacy of your own home.

“We treat conditions like erectile dysfunction which affects one in ten men over the age of 40. It is one of the main causes of break-ups in marriage,” said Dr. Nakito Sarah.

Dr. James Zzinda of Mulago Hospital agreed that sexual problems are not always psychological but also physical. Not being able to conceive can also lead to sexual problems.

”the difference we make is we improve your sex life. If you have stopped having sex, our programme can help you have sex again. If sexual problems are preventing you from starting a family, it addresses the psychological and physical issues and helps you conceive, said Dr. Zzinda.

Couples therapy is appropriate for all persons in relationships. Many people seek couples therapy to save a failing relationship or to work through a specific issue. Others seek couples therapy to prepare for marriage or to gain clarity about their vulnerabilities as a couple.

Sometimes one or both partners pursue individual therapy concurrently – in addition to couples therapy – to address individual issues interfering with the relationship. Couples therapy can strengthen the bond between partners.

Of course couples can also choose the traditional route. Aunties commonly known as ‘Sengas’ and uncles, locally called ‘kojas’ claim that their traditional methods are superior to the more modern practices.

Peter Ssemanda is a Koja who operates in Katwe. He believes that more couples should come to them regarding sex issues.

“The problem is that people are shy. We have all sorts of cures for all sorts of issues, but everyone thinks we are con artists or witchdoctors. People should stop being scared. We can solve all their problems very effectively,” he said.

In testament to these traditional doctors, they offered the Kampala Dispatch advice regarding sexual expertise in the bedroom which is unfortunately too sensitive to be printed. However, it seems quite legitimate!

So if your sex life with your partner is not as fulfilling as it could be, there are many options for therapy or help. The worst thing you do could be keeping the problems that happen between the sheets locked behind closed doors.

By Anita Tumusiime