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Why sex is important: Background for helping patients with their sexual lives

  • Stephen B. Levine
Summary

Therapy for sexual problems is not solely based on findings from scientific studies; much of it has to do with intuitive knowledge that comes from personal and clinical experience. The author suggests that an ideal way to begin education about helping with patients' sexual identity, sexual function and relational concerns is to consider why sex is important. Answering this question illuminates the subtle roles sexual behaviour play in our lives. These roles are explained by providing clinically based responses to twelve questions: How are adults nurtured in sexual relationships? How is psychological intimacy created? What is learnt over time through sex? What accounts for the pleasures of sex? Why is sex important? Why is sexual experience unstable? What is a couple's sexual equilibrium? What is sensuality? Is a life of sexual pleasure possible? What is sexual health? What are the sources of distress about sex? How do these concepts facilitate therapy?

Learning Objectives

• Understand how nurturance is maintained in adult sexual relationships over the life cycle

• Specify the roles that a satisfying sexual life plays within individuals' private subjective lives

• Conceptualise the psychological and interpersonal accomplishment represented by the maintenance of evolving sexual activity throughout life

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence Professor Stephen B. Levine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 23425 Commerce Park #104, Beachwood, Ohio, 44122, USA. Email: sbl2@case.edu
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Declaration of Interest

None

Footnotes
References
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Berry, M (2013) The history and evolution of sex therapy and its relationship to psychoanalysis. International Journal of Psychoanalytic studies, 10: 5374.
Byers, E (2005) Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: a longitudinal study of individuals in long-term relationships. Journal of Sex Research, 42: 113–8.
Derogatis, LR, Clayton, AH, Goldstein, A, et al (2011) eDiary and Female Sexual Distress Scale in evaluating distress in hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Journal of Sex Research, 48: 565–72.
Kleinplatz, PJ (2010) Lessons from great lovers. In Handbook of Clinical Sexuality for Mental Health Professionals (eds Levine, SB, Risen, CB, Althof, SE): 5772. Routledge.
Levine, SB (1991) Psychological intimacy. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 17: 259–67.
Levine, SB (2007) The first principle of clinical sexuality. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 4: 853–4.
Levine, S (2013) Barriers to Loving: A Clinician's Perspective. Routledge.
Levine, SB (2014) Towards a compendium of the psychopathologies of love. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43: 213–20.
Maurice, WL (1999) Sexual Medicine in Primary Care. Mosby.
Perelman, MA (2009) The sexual tipping point: a mind/body model for sexual medicine. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6: 629–32.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Why sex is important: Background for helping patients with their sexual lives

  • Stephen B. Levine
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