Why isn't sex as arousing as masturbation?

Dear Dr. Patti:

Whenever I masturbate, everything feels wonderful, but when I have sex, I don't feel anything! What's wrong with this picture?

J

Question:

Dear J:

This problem requires a careful analysis of what else is going on for you concerning shared sex. I suggest that you assess whether or not you want to be sexual with your partner. Is this happening only with one person or with other partners? Based on your own sexual history, which has an impact on the present, you may be suppressing your own desires to share sexual touch with a lover for some reason. Is there something in your past that troubled or hurt you which related to sex? If so, it's time for some inner work and healing. Go to amazon and check out the resources on sexuality. If you had an experience that resembles sexual abuse of any kind, this could "freeze" your sensations during sex and create a block.

On the physical plane, make sure that you are not tightening up your whole body and literally blocking the flow of energy inside your body. When I work with female clients in person, I often coach them to learn (or re-learn) how to breathe. Yes, using the breath to open up sexual or genital sensation is a good tactic. Lie down, try to relax your thoughts away from all daily hassles, and imagine your breath coming up from the bottom of your spine. Let it raise up along your spine to the top of the head. Slowly hold the breath for about four beats; then let your breath descend down the front of your body, including letting it gently caress your genital area. Imagine your breath like an egg around you, a watery covering over your whole body, or even a cocoon of white or golden light. This is a healing, relaxing and centering breath. Often, through opening up the channel with this type of breathing technique, women feel a reawakening in their sexual region.

If this does not seem to produce any real change in sensation, seek a referral from the American Board of Sexology (202) 462-2122. Best of luck to you.

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