Men and Women sometimes suffer from long lasting dysfunctions of their sexual life. Men are mostly afflicted with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, women with orgasm disorders or sexual arousal disorders. If physical factors can be excluded the reason for the problems is often to be found in emotional or psychological factors. “The trigger for a sexual blockade is often job-related stress and demands on life which are too high”, explains the psychotherapist Volker van den Boom from Aachen, who is specialized in problems in partnership and sexual dysfunction.
However, sexual dysfunction cannot be perceived detached from the whole personality as it could give an image of the way the particular person usually deals with his feelings. “Especially men put themselves under enormous pressure and place excessive expectations on themselves and their body. If they lag behind their own requirements, their self-esteem declines. This leads quickly to an insecure appearance in the job, among friends or in their hobbies. It´s a real vicious circle”, explains van den Boom.
Times have changed though. Affected people handle their trouble more self-confidently. And while formerly many men have only found their way to the doctor because of their wives, nowadays the couples battle the burden together. Van den Boom watches this development with content: “The earlier the people admit their blockade and the faster they come to my practice the better is the chance to be cured.”
Van den Boom says that many colleagues treat sexual dysfunctions with a behaviour therapy. “In the initial stage of sexual dysfunction a behaviour therapy promises a high chance of cure. Longer lasting problems that already compromise the marriage or even the whole private life however require urgently an integrative therapy that is patient-tailored.”
With this kind of therapy van den Boom has some experience. In his sessions he has intense conversations with the concerned person and often asks the partner to come along as well. The individual discussion with the person affected is the key to success, he says. “It is important to incorporate factors from other fields of psychology, if the case demands it, for example from family therapy. A standardized treatment holds a much lower promise of cure.” He says that he can aid up to 80 percent of the people who seek help in his practice. His therapy normally does not last longer than six to nine months, he says.