Dear D & J: Dear Before his death, Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda wrote to his wife and lover of 50 years, "What sex is we dont know, but it must be some sort of fire. For it always communicates a sense of warmth, of glow. And when the glow becomes a pure shine, then we feel the sense of beauty."
It is sad and ironic that while our sexually obsessed culture feeds us a steady diet of sexual images, many of us feel starved when it comes to understanding or sharing healthy sexual love. Im too tired, Ive got a headache, Im fat, and unattractive, Im depressed, I want more than a quickie; sound familiar? These are ongoing dialogues played out night after night in bedrooms all over America.
You love your husband or wife, but a medical condition called inhibited sexual desire, or ISD, can wreak havoc on a marriage if not carefully understood and addressed. ISD is more than just the occasional desire to pass up sex for a favorite TV show or a good book.
First you go a week at a time without sex, then before you realize it, a whole month has gone by. Pretty soon sex is nonexistent or unpleasant at best.
While most cases of ISD are psychological, not physical, physical problems can be at the root of ISD, however, especially if a man is experiencing erectile dysfunction or someone is struggling with a chronic disease. Some blood pressure medicines, the antidepressant Prozac, prostate cancer and diabetes can cause sexual dysfunction.
A simple discussion with your doctor can help determine whether you are dealing with physical or psychological concerns. ISD in African-Americans can result from such factors as verbal and non verbal health issues, stress, poverty, financial problems, violence, or unresolved conflict or anger - if there has been infidelity for example.
ISD is not rare. Its a common issue for couples who dont communicate.
Marital conflicts that are unresolved in the living room will resurface in the bedroom. One useful technique is to talk about your feelings rather than criticize your partners disappointing actions. Men tend to hide, make excuses, or avoid the issue. Forty years of marriage is reason to celebrate the gifts of staying power. First Relax. Find time in your life for sex or sex play.
Stop obsessing about the house payments, the grandkids, or getting old. Reminisce over old photos and love letters. Promote the joy and pleasure that being lovers and friends affords. Kiss passionately, hold hands, go for long walks. Always make eye contact. Turn off the television. Set aside time for romantic getaways, candlelight suppers, bubble baths and massages.
If your love life is in a serious rut, talk to a marriage counselor, or sex therapist. Look in your phone directory under Marriage and Family Therapists for a therapist who is certified by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Healthy sexual love has a way of softening limbs, oiling joints and melding hearts.
Dr. Levister welcomes reader mail concerning their body but regrets that he is not able to answer individual letters. Your letters will be incorporated into the column as space permits. You may direct your letters to Dr. Levister in care of Black Voice News, P.O. Box 1581, Riverside, CA 92502.
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