Psychologist Interview with Peter (Marriage Counselling Adelaide)

Psychologist Interview with Peter (Marriage Counselling Adelaide)

Peter’s passion is Relationship and Marriage Counselling in his Adelaide clinic. Peter’s services are available in his own dedicated, personal, and homely counselling consulting room, or by Skype or telephone. Expert relationship counselling Adelaide.

To read more about Peter or view his psychologist profile, click here.  Marriage counselling Adelaide.


  1. What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?

Relationships make people happy. Happy people are sociable. Good relationships raise the potential for very happy couples. Relationships with our partner helps define our lives, along with our other relationships with our colleagues, children, parents, close friends. When relationships are glowing, so are we. We can make relationships glow, because we can decide the terms of our relationships. Improving our relationship with one person increases our potential to improve other relationships. Counselling for relationships helps people become happier.


  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?

I see five categories of relationship problems:

(1) when a relationship isn’t working, it may be that one or both people is not feeling secure. Someone is not safe being who they are. Living through positive values and beliefs helps people transcend problems and allows relationships to flourish;

(2) People need to be mentally, emotionally, and physically fit to make relationships work. Energy is important. It encourages thinking and reduces impulsivity, making assumptions, and increases and maintains effort. Self-regulation and managing energy are powerful forces for healthy relationships;

(3) A relationship is a system. It has many interconnecting parts, a Kabbalah of interacting aspects of relational life which create a unique culture built of knowledge, experience, and creativity, which fills all members with confidence. Relationships are about activity, decision-making, problem solving, building trust, and weeding out toxicity. Conceiving a relationship as a system develops patience and tolerance, and helps people make the right call at difficult moments;

(4) Adaptability. Over time in a relationship people play many parts from friend, through lover, to partner, husband/wife, mother/father, maybe business partner, aged parent, ex-husband/wife and so on. These mental, emotional, and behavioural shifts require different ways of meeting our needs and wants and meeting our intentions and expectations while remaining authentic and allowing new versions of the people in the relationship to develop;

(5) Making choices rather than falling into habits. We always have choices, and making choices creates personal power and control, and also develops responsibility. We are responsible for our relationships.


  1. What are the most common problems for women and men individually in relationships?

Relationships prosper when the above factors start to operate freely. Problems in these five areas affect men and women equally, but sometimes differently, in relationships, and I find it a useful template for seeking out the nature of problems. Marriage counselling Adelaide services.


  1. What would you like couple clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?

People will be given support and practical guidance to develop confidence and skills to develop their relationship their own way and deal with relational stress, so they find the pathway they are looking for to take them from their present sate to the one they desire.


  1. What has been the couple you remember who has made the biggest turnaround, from being in severe trouble to transforming their relationship into a happy loving one?

A couple who separated on the birth of their child, because the father did not want a child, and believed he was talked into having the child, who later in the year re-united and the husband became a very loving and happy father and husband with a very contented and loving wife in a great relationship, and who are now contemplating a second child together.


  1. If you had one word of advice for couples with children, what would it be?

Happy parents = happy children — refer to Q1


  1. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

Respect and accept the pain of the faithful partner to help rebuild trust, be open and disclosive to reduce distress in this partner and in the relationship, acknowledge the pain of your faithful partner to open the gateway for healing, take responsibility, avoid defensiveness, and both partners should expect setbacks and painful feelings, should maintain boundaries and avoid anything that creates risk, and he non-faithful partner must close off the affair, while both should e mindful of meaning about what happened and live in the present, and realise there will be pain on both sides so both people need to face fears, grief, losses, and need to examine the personal decision making in the relationship, as per Q2.


  1. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?

The information in Q2 is relevant here. Couples need to be relationship ready, with their mind, brain, body system in the right place, and know that coming together as a couple requires skills and learning each can acquire, so it becomes important for couples to take up the tools, techniques, and strategies to create and build lasting relationships. Relationships incur trouble spots and

disagreements, which means also acquiring the means to deal with them, which refers to all aspects of effective communication, understanding, and appreciation. Finally, if you find yourself in a rut, throw away the shovels. If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will dig deeper and get what you’ve always had. Change, and some new beginnings are called for.


  1. What proportion of your couple clients manage, with your help, to successfully recreate a happy relationship from the difficult one that they came in with?

It depends how success is judged. Some relationships end in counselling, and sometimes only one walks away happy, sometimes both have sense of happiness and relief. Occasionally, one person is attempting to use the counselling process against another, and find when they cannot do this, they exit the process. Often the other person stays! At times, a person can uncover the nature of the personality of the other, and change the way they process through counselling with greater empowerment. At other times couples work systematically through problems to happiness.


  1. What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?

The new beginnings people create. Personal power, growth of personality, growth in knowledge and skills, and development of creativity is like money in the bank for couples. It can be saved and spent wisely and becomes useful and enriching, optimising the relationship. New insights can be created and the relational Kabbalah enriched. Seeing couples using their growth and energy to make changes can be personally satisfying. Seeing life together through new and different eyes, seeing people create new and significant options for themselves, watching couples grow and work towards their dream, while developing resilience, relapse prevention, and preparing for difficulties, all as part of core competencies, is satisfying and fulfilling, as you see what they have achieved.


  1. List 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.

My Wife tells me I have good interpersonal skills, and I express myself well, and I am intuitive, warm, and accepting, empathic, and focused on the client, encouraging them to do the work. I will leave it at that.


  1. List 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.

It is said I am helpful, mindful, effective, and that I reduce distress and promote good mental health while encouraging prevention through the work I do. It is for others to say.


  1. How many years’ experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

The APS sent me a 20 year membership award at the start of last year. The two years before that 20 years commenced I worked in a community health centre. The five years prior to that I worked as a Lecturer in Psychology, following a stint as a student counsellor. Marriage counselling Adelaide.


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If you would like to make a booking with Peter or any other of our psychologists, you are welcome to fill out an enquiry form here, or call our friendly receptionists on 1300 830 552.




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Connection Rituals To Help Keep The Spark In Your Relationship

Shared rituals both large and small play an incredibly important part in each partner’s sense that the relationship is safe and supportive. They also give the relationship a sense of continuity, along with a regular sense of connection that stays intact even in the face of the busy-ness of everyday life. They also give both partners something to look forward to.

Anything can be a connection ritual as long as it’s important to both of you: A particular kind of exercise, a favorite TV show, even a household chore done together — the most important thing about having rituals is that they’re important to both of you.

Following are some rituals, both informal and formal, that I invite you to discuss with each other.

Are any of these worth adopting? Being aware of (and guarding) your connection rituals is a powerful ingredient in sustaining a good relationship.


Normal Life Rituals


Regularly eat at least one meal a day together, with cell phones and TV turned off, in order to easily talk with each other or with the family.

When leaving the house:

Always find your partner and give him or her a kiss, making sure you know at least one thing he or she will be doing while you’re away.

When arriving home:

Always make sure to find your partner and give him or her a long and loving kiss. Do this before you do anything else.

Talk time each night:

This is a high-priority ritual: Make sure to spend time every evening sitting and talking to one another about your day, sharing what you’re thinking and feeling, and catching up on family news. It can be helpful to meet in the same place.


It’s important to spend at least a few minutes cuddling and kissing in bed. If one of you goes to bed earlier than the other, do this then.

Date Nights:

Especially if you have children, it’s crucial for the two of you to schedule (and protect) a regular Date Night — preferably once a week, but at a minimum once every two or three weeks. It allows you to escape your everyday responsibilities and create romantic and special “couple time” together. Date Nights don’t have to be expensive — a picnic on a blanket under the moonlight costs no more than a meal at home. Take turns organizing these.

Weekends away:

A regular romantic weekend, even if it’s once every few months, is a powerful, relaxing connection ritual. Again, it need not be expensive; take turns planning them.


Special Circumstance Rituals

When one of you is sick:

For most couples, how their partner cares for them when they’re sick or feeling vulnerable is important. Are you someone who likes a lot of attention, or do you prefer being left alone? Talking through this in advance allows you to best provide for each other when the time comes.


A promotion, a milestone, a personal goal: When one of you has achieved success, how do you celebrate it? Do you create a culture of praise for and with each other and your family?

Bad luck, failures, or exhaustion:

How do you support one another when one of you is stressed out, exhausted, or experiencing failure? Do you acknowledge his or her difficulty? Does the other step up and carry more of the load? (There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.) How do each of you prefer to be supported in tough times?


Do you have an agreement and a divided workload for entertaining visitors? Who cooks? Who cleans? What do you do together? How often do you entertain? How late does it go? Do you clean up at night or in the morning? Do you wait for each other to go to bed, or not? What do each of your prefer?

Keeping in touch with friends and family:

Do you have particular rituals around staying in touch with friends and family? Who contacts whom? How long between catch-ups? Do you do the same routine each time or change it up?

Making love:

With the daily schedules of life (and particularly with children), making time to make love can be difficult, particularly if you believe sex and lovemaking should be spontaneous. Research has shown that you’ll have a better sex life if you make love regularly, so it can be a good idea to plan a “sex date” together at least one night a week. For many couples, this can often coincide with Date Night; for others, late afternoon on the weekend might be a better time.


How do you take vacations as a couple? Who comes up with the idea? Who organizes the details? Do you always travel together, or do you sometimes go places alone? Do the two of you prefer active or relaxing holidays, or some of both? Is it okay to work on vacation? Do each of you have time to “do your own thing”?

Birthdays and anniversaries:

How do you celebrate these important events? For the two of you as a couple, what’s the norm (and the budget) for of gift-giving, going out, and trips away? Are there particularly special ones to acknowledge? Would you like these celebrations to be different in any way?





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Are You Living With a Steamroller?

Why do some people become controlling?

In order to be the unique person who we are, we need to access 4 internal parts of us. They are:

1. Our feelings

2. Our sensations, like hearing, touch, sight and movement, and our preferences.

3. Our intuition

4. Our thinking

The first 3 of these are very much from our direct experience. But our thinking is from a secondary source.

Many of us are not connected to our feelings, sensations and intuitions, because we were taught, often by parents or authority figures, to negate them or not to trust them. eg “Don’t be a cry baby. You’re not even hurt” or “Don’t tell me you like that!”

Because of this we can grow up not having an intact personal world that we can depend on, and instead we can rely almost entirely on our thinking. This particularly happens in the male culture where many boys are taught to be tough and deny their feelings, senses and gut feelings.

When you have had your personal reality denied, you need to think up an identity according to what you think you should be. But unfortunately these identities tend not to be grounded in your inner world.

So having made yourself up from the outside in, it is easy to imagine that you can also make others up, as well, and this then can become quite a controlling way that you interact with others.

If there is a control connection, this person will want to define the other person. They will have trouble hearing and seeing the real person, and therefore, they will struggle with empathy or any real understanding for the other person. They, in actual fact, fail to grasp that the other person is actually a separate person with their own reality.

But it doesn’t look like that to start with….

During the initial stage of a new relationship, where both partners are wanting to impress each other, the more controlling person can contrive their behaviour to impress and charm, being careful to make sure they mirror the desires of their new partner.

Then comes the transition…

However this “impress your socks off” stage doesn’t tend to last.

Once the controlling partner feels secure in the relationship (this happens most commonly at the 3 major transitions: when you move in together, when you get married, or when you start having children) there is now far less need for approval.

Without realizing it, the partner has crossed over into the controller’s self definition boundary. With this transition can come the expectation that the partner is now an extension of him or her, and of One Mind with him or her.

This can be a dumbfounding change for the partner, as it can be made almost overnight, or at a more gradual pace; but the change does happen.

The “Bubble”

Patricia Evans in her book “Controlling People” describes a man who felt like he and his wife were in a big bubble that he had created as his reality. His wife had freedom, and all was happy, as long as she stayed in the bubble.

“There was room to move about so the illusion of freedom seemed real to her. But when she expressed an idea of her own, or any feelings, it was like she was stepping out of his bubble and stepping into her own. But he did not want her out there. He feared being alone with himself. He feared being with his feelings. So he tried to pull her back into his bubble, or worse, injure her so she could never leave, or worse yet, disorient her so she can never find her way out.”

Whatever control measure or verbal abuse it took, he needed to get her back inside the bubble where he felt safe again.

The controlling person does usually feel a great and strong love for his or her partner, but this is not what we consider real love. It is more of a control connection.

In reality, there is usually very little regard for his or her individuality, an absence of empathy or understanding, and often an angry assault or the silent treatment, every time he or she shows any signs of separateness.

This usually leaves the partner feeling shunned, negated, unseen, unheard, trivialised, and, as a result, also very confused, sad, and often outraged that they have been so invaded or negated, every time she or he expresses her or his individuality.

All the while the controlling partner denies any wrongdoing, not being willing to recognise the devastating effects on the partner.

When your partner defines you, you can’t feel connected to them, and along with this disconnection comes no sense of real partnership or real love. It’s only when he or she begins to asks about you that you can begin to feel the connection.

The healthiest relationships are those where there is no controlling, simply acceptance of each other and negotiation between each of you for what you need and want.

However, in reality, many people tend to attempt to control their partner in some way. The degree of control is what really counts. You may be happy to allow your partner some control in areas that aren’t really important to you and maybe important to them. You may even be able to joke about it, and it can certainly add to a lively relationship where those things are part of your shared jokes.

But it you are feeling that you are often being negated, not heard, discredited, blamed for things that are not true, or blamed for things that you know is actually more true of your partner, then your relationship is not functioning in a healthy way, and you will be suffering personally.

Controllers fear intimacy because intimacy requires hearing and seeing each other for who you are.

This kind of intimacy stops the control connection.

There are graduated degrees of controlling, and the more extreme, the more difficult it is to improve your relationship.

For those of you who are wondering how similar this sounds to Narcissism, there is a huge overlap between the two.





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Erectile dysfunction: Having Problems with erections

For most men, an erect penis is confirmation of being a man. Much of a man’s self esteem is tied to his penis. So, when a man’s penis repeatedly fails to become erect, it can be very distressing.

Problems with getting or keeping an erection sufficient for intercourse are very common. Most men experience this sexual difficulty periodically, but when erections are consistently unpredictable, ED becomes a personal and relationship crisis, which can create anxiety, self blame and relationship stress.

Most men experience occasional impotence, usually resulting from stress, tiredness, anxiety or excessive alcohol or drugs. However, worrying about impotence may set the scene for a more persistent problem due to fear of failure, or ‘performance anxiety’.

Erections change over time, sometimes stronger or weaker than at other times. Men in their teens often have little control over their erections and obtain erections when not in a sexual situation. For most, this stops in their late teens to early twenties.

As men get older, erections may not always be obtained when they want one.  By age 40, about 90% of men have experienced at least once, a problem with getting or maintaining an erection sufficient for intercourse.

By 50 over half of men report mild to moderate erectile difficulty.

So a man’s major fear is, in fact, almost an universal experience.

For men under 40, most erection problems are caused by psychological or relationship problems, rather than physical or medical factors.

Age increases physical vulnerabilities. Some of the common physical causes are alcohol overuse, smoking, drug overuse, side effects of hypertensive and psychiatric medications, spinal conditions, prostate surgery, chronic illness, diabetes and vascular problems.

Some of the common psychological and relationship factors are anticipatory anxiety, performance anxiety, distraction, self consciousness, feeling a failure and anger at his partner.

For a man, the more you focus on your penis and getting or maintaining an erection, the less successful you are.

An erection is a natural result of involvement, receptivity to sensual and pleasurable stimulation, and enjoyment of your partner’s subjective arousal. When you focus on your penis, you take yourself out of the erotic flow and play the role of spectator. Once sex and performance are linked like this, you are half way to having ED.

It is important to focus on the give and take of pleasure rather than performance.

If an ED problem persists for longer than 6 months, both the man and the couple become trapped in a cycle of anticipatory anxiety, performance anxiety, and avoidance.

No matter whether it was physical or psychological factors that initially were responsible for causing the ED, this self perpetuating anxiety cycle for both partners keeps maintaining it.

What happens in an erection?

Prior to an erection, first there is the feeling of sexual desire (he is ‘turned on’). This is quickly followed by arousal. With arousal, his penis becomes erect when the smooth muscle of the penis relaxes and allows blood to flow into three spongy bodies inside the penis (the two corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum).

The penis is a hydraulic system. It rises and stiffens as it fills with blood.

How common are Erectile difficulties?

In Australia, about 30% of men report erectile dysfunction. It has been estimated that erectile dysfunction (of all degrees) affects  52% of men aged 40 to 70 years, with higher rates in those older than 70 years. Research suggests that the prevalence of ED among Australian men falls in these ranges:

  • 13.1% of 40-49 year olds
  • 33.5% of 50-59 year olds
  • 51.5% in 60-69 year olds
  • 69.2% of 70-79 year olds

Worldwide, only about 1 in 6 men with moderate to severe erectile dysfunction seeks help from health professionals. The majority suffer in silence.

A New Growing Problem; Porn induced Erectile Dysfunction


Very recently there have been increasing reports of young internet porn users complaining of delayed ejaculation, inability to be turned on my their real partners and erectile difficulties.

Many numbers of men in their 20′s with a serious porn habit (and increasing need for more extreme material) have begun complaining that they cant get it up anymore with a real girl.

Recent behavioural addiction research suggests that the loss of libido and performance occur because heavy users are numbing their brain’s normal response to pleasure. Years of overriding the natural limits of libido with intense stimulation desensitizes the user’s response to the neurochemical dopamine which is behind sexual desire and erections.

This is a very worrying trend for young men.

Is the “Magic blue pill” the answer to erection difficulties?

Since 1998 with the introduction of Viagra, it has been popularly believed that erectile problems are caused mainly by physiological problems, especially vascular problems, rather than psychological issues or relationship distress.

However, this medical approach oversimplifies the problem and promises more than it can deliver. ED is more complex. Although the achievement of an erection is very important, a healthy, fulfilling sexual relationship is much more intricate than a mechanistic view allows.

For every man who has been helped by Viagra, an equal number, or perhaps more have “failed ” with Viagra. When this happens these men feel even more stigmatized and demoralized after trying and not succeeding than before using Viagra.

An Important Assessment question

If you find you can get an erection through self stimulation, or with your partner stimulating you, or while you are sleeping, or when as you wake, then it is likely that the physical factors are functional for you.

This usually means that anxiety, distraction, fatique, and negative emotions are playing a major part in interfering with your sexual function, and will need to be addressed by a Relationship Psychologist or Sex Therapist.

What are all the Causes of Erectile difficulties?


Erection difficulties are an unfortunate by-product of our modern Western lifestyle. Many men are in a constant state of stress, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating and drinking all the wrong things.

They often also believe that they need to prove their sexual potency to their partner when in the bedroom and then feel stressed and disappointed when their equipment fails them.

Erectile difficulties are caused by a combination of Bio-Psycho-Social factors, and as a result, problems can arise from a variety of reasons. Here are some of the common ones:

1.     Psycho-sexual

 Psycho-sexual factors are particularly important because they affect not only erections but also your sexual desire.

  •  unrealistic expectations of your performance
  • feeling you have to perform for or prove yourself to your partner
  • inability to relax when having sex
  • lack of confidence as a lover
  • no desire, not ‘turned on’

2.     Diet & Lifestyle Factors

  •  sedentary behaviour (lack of exercise)
  • high calorie, high cholesterol diet
  •  obesity
  • smoking
  •  excessive alcohol (more than 2 glasses per day)
  •  recreational drugs
  • prescribed medications (some anti-depressants, anti-hypertensive and anti-psychoticdrugs)

 3.     Physical Health    

 Some sources estimate that 75% of cases of erectile dysfunction are due to poor physicalhealth. Because the penis has the smallest blood vessels in the body health problems oftenshow up here first. If nocturnal and morning erections are no longer happening for you, seeyour doctor. Erectile dysfunction is often an early warning sign of one or more of thesehealth conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Prostate disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Spinal cord or pelvic injury or surgery
  • Parkinson’s
  • Hormonal change
  • Kidney or liver problems

4.     Emotional & Mental  Health

  •  depression
  • stress / anxiety
  • fear and apprehension

5.     Partner & Relationship Related

  •  insufficient physical stimulation by partner (especially with age)
  • communication problems and emotional conflict
  • power struggles
  • performance anxiety
  • lack of sexual attraction
  • lack of trust, comfort and co-operation
  • not feeling close
How does Erectile difficulties affect partners?


Women respond to their partners erection difficulties in a number of different ways.

It is often difficult for a woman not to feel hurt or confused particularly if her partner tries to cope by avoiding having sex or being affectionate, which is a very common response. In these instances, It is not unusual for a woman to begin to question her sexual attractiveness, or her partner’s interest in her.

Other women will minimise the sexual side of the relationship, saying that intimacy is all that counts. Others will become demanding, believing her partner owes her intercourse.

The healthiest role for the partner to play is to be a caring involved sexual friend, and if possible maintain her sexual desire and arousal, as this often invites her partner’s arousal.

Treatments and Solutions

For many men, their GP is the first port of call as they dont know where else to go for help.

Unfortunately, while there are some GPs who are well schooled in erection difficulties, many are not, and often can only offer very minimal advice and treatment, or feel uncomfortable even discussing the problem in any depth.

Pro-erection drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra can be a vital resource in treatment. However the challenge is to make a fuller comprehensive assessment of your particular problem , and also very importantly, to show you how to integrate the drug into your couple sexual style and your relationship.

Our Sex therapists and Relationship Psychologists at the Hart Centre can help you in working with your GP in  comprehensively assessing your problem, and in working out the multi-faceted solutions.

We can take the guesswork out of your problem and can provide the link with your GP, so that we are all working together to create the best solution for you.

Sexual Education

Many people believe that because sex is natural it ‘should come naturally’. However, like any skill, a few tips to point us in the right direction never go astray. Some men experience erectile dysfunction because of lack of sexual education, in other words, they do not know what to do in particular situations. Once armed with the information he needs, a man can overcome most of his difficulty.


Healthy erections depend on a man being able to relax, knowing how to manage challenging situations, having good physical health and healthy blood flow. Knowing how to achieve these will lead to many years of healthy erections and sexual enjoyment.

The essence of Erectile difficulties is that you have lost your comfort and confidence with erections and intercourse. ED is a changeable problem.

The goal of ED treatment is not just to restore erections and resume intercourse, but to establish a new way of understanding desire, pleasure, arousal, intercourse and sexuality that will allow you to not only maintain your gains, but also to help any further problems as you age.

Increasing sexual awareness and adopting positive, realistic sexual expectations is part of a new, healthy model of male sexuality.

 What to Do Next?

If you would like to overcome your erectile difficulties and recreate a healthy and happy sex life again, come and talk with our Sex Therapist or Relationship Psychologists.

Associate Psychologist program

He/ she will carry out a comprehensive assessment, often in conjunction with your GP or other Doctor if you prefer, and then can offer you the appropriate solutions, tailor made for you.

It can sometimes be difficult making the decision to see a sex therapist for your erectile dysfunction problem, as it can feel like a sign of weakness; however, in reality, seeking professional help is a sign of psychological wisdom and strength, as you are proactively working towards a better sex life and relationship.

Phone 1300 830 552 to enquire or make an appointment.

To Check which of our Psychologists are closest to you, please use our Find our Psychologist Search box on the right hand side of the page.

Alison Rahn, (Sex Therapist) & Julie Hart (Psychologist)  © Copyright 2012


Chew KK, et al (2000) Erectile dysfunction in general medicine practice: prevalence and clinical correlates. International Journal of Impotence Research (12), 41-45.

Dorey G, Speakman M, Feneley R, Swinkels A, Dunn C, Ewings P (2004) Randomised controlled trial of pelvic floor muscle exercises and manometric biofeedback for erectile dysfunction British Journal of General Practice 54 (508), 819-825.

Esposito K, Giugliano F, Di Palo C, et al (2004) Effect of Lifestyle Changes on Erectile Dysfunction in Obese Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 291(24), 2978-2984.

Melman A & Gingell JC (1999) The Epidemiology And Pathophysiology Of Erectile Dysfunction, The Journal of Urology, 161 (1), 5-11.

Moreira ED, Lisboa CF, Villa M, Nicolosi A, and Glasser DB (2002) Prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction in Salvador, northeastern Brazil: a population-based study, International Journal of Impotence Research, 14, Suppl 2, S3–S9.

Metz & Mcarthy. (2004) Coping with Erectile Dysfunction.

Sexual power struggles: Man wants sex; woman says “no”.

As I listen to people’s stories each week I am constantly made aware of how little understanding men and women have of their differences.

sexual problems

It’s not surprising. We’re not taught about relationships. It’s natural to assume the other person experiences the world the same way you do. But it simply not true. Men’s and women’s brains and bodies are wired very differently.

A common theme from women is ‘he just wants to have sex all the time’ vs. her male partner who’s saying ‘she’s never interested’.

There is often a grain of truth here, since men are designed to think sexual thoughts more frequently than women.  However, it’s important to understand:

  • most adult women feel sexual desire AFTER sexual activity has begun (the foreplay stage). So talking’s often not good enough.
  • loving men want sex and need a sexual connection in order to feel emotionally connected with their partner
  • women report needing to feel emotionally connected in order to feel sexually interested
  • women need considerably more time than men to become fully aroused, and
  • both partners are equal players in the process

Tips For Women
sexual connection

Understand that men do not feel loved by you unless you connect with them sexually. Sex helps men to access their hearts. It doesn’t matter how good a cook you are, or how beautiful the house looks.  If you reject him sexually, he doesn’t feel loved.

If saying ‘no’ is your default position, catch yourself before you do. Be willing to be open and receptive to him. Tell him (gently) what you need in order to respond to him. Create the conditions you need in order to relax.

Tips for Men

Understand that women do not feel loved (or sexually aroused) if you pester, whinge, complain, blame or pounce on them.

Criticising your partner’s appearance or body shape will also not endear her to you. Why would she let you in to that same body you’ve just criticised?

If you blame her for your lack of sex, look at yourself first. Where are you going wrong? Here’s a hint…She needs a loving approach and she needs to trust you. Take your time. Be mysterious, not predictable. Don’t reach straight for her breasts or genitals.

differing libidos

Offer her something she likes. Respect her wishes.

One woman who’s helping men and women understand each other is Alison Armstrong. She’s developed great tools for couples to learn how to work together as a team and communicate more effectively so you both get your needs met. To learn more, go to:

To Check which of our Psychologists are closest to you, please use our Find our Psychologist Search box on the right hand side of the page, or phone us on 1300830552 for more details and help.

Alison Rahn © Copyright 2010