Monthly Archives: December 2010

Sexual Disorder and Sexual Dysfunction, Is There A Difference?

The use of the words sexual dysfunction and sexual disorder when searched often brings up articles defining sexual disorder as sexual dysfunction. The usage, of course, is incorrect because these two subjects are so vastly different.

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Sexual dysfunction is actually an occurrence during the act of sex that has become problematic for one or both partners. These are things such as low libido or stamina, erectile dysfunction, or vaginal dryness. If any of these things occur and neither of the partners has a real problem with it, it is actually not considered a dysfunction.

When someone has a problem with their sexual function it can have a negative effect on more areas than just the area of sex. It can affect a person’s mood and can seep into other relationships because of the emotional pain and embarrassment which flows through attitudes and outlook unknowingly.

Sexual dysfunction has a number of causes both in the emotional and physical realm. It could also be caused by a combination of factors instead of just one thing. Sometimes a medical condition can have an effect on a person’s sexual function but because the person doesn’t realize the problem is medically related it affects them mentally; which can create a kind of negative unending circle. Some medical conditions which are examples of this are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression.

When looking at cardiovascular disease in connection with sexual dysfunction we can see that both men and women can be affected this way because the blood vessels change in such a way that they are unable to effectively supply extremities with necessary blood. When this happens the genital area, either male or female, does not have the blood flow it needs to operate properly.

Diabetes affects a person in a similar fashion, but diabetes actually affects the nerves in the tissue of the genital area.

Depression affects people on a whole other spectrum of the body. Because the chemicals in the brain are not working properly they cause a person’s sex drive or libido to suffer. This is generally backed up by the inability to really feel any type of pleasure. This can in turn cause a loss of self confidence. Self confidence is highly important when recovering from depression, this can cause the same negative circle mentioned earlier.

Sexual dysfunction does have similar effects for men and women in some instances, but there are other things involved in sexual dysfunction that affect each person differently.

In men for example, there are some differing psychological aspects to be considered when looking at sexual dysfunction, these are concern for how they are performing sexually, marital difficulties, and feelings of guilt.

In women hormones and emotional/psychological issues seem to cause a lot of problems in this area. Things that cause a flux in the level of a woman’s hormones are having a baby or moving into menopause. Other things that can lead to sexual dysfunction in women are not having a desire for sex, or losing arousal during sex, being unable to have an orgasm or feeling pain during sex. A women’s emotional well being can have a lot to do with her ability to function sexually. If she is under a great deal of stress or anxiety, having conflicts with her partner or having issues with her body image can also become problematic.

There seem to be a lot of treatments for sexual dysfunction, but sometimes a health problem has to be treated first. Sometimes the treatment for the health problem is the cause of the sexual dysfunction and patients have to have treatment as a side effect of their medication. One way to avoid this would be to adjust the medication. This would be most ideal solution. When that doesn’t work other options are given to the patient, they can include medications for impotence or strengthening of the genitals.

Sexual disorder is completely different when compared to sexual dysfunction. Sexual disorder includes acts or behaviors that are described as sexual deviancy. These sexual acts or desires include a variety of preferences. These can include animals, various objects or different kinds of materials. Other preferences can include children or pain, either to themselves or others.

There are many categories under the sexual disorder heading and quite a few subcategories as well. In fact there are far too many to explain all of them in this short article.

Disorders under the paraphilias heading include exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, transvestism, and voyeurism. These are only a few disorders under this heading. Exhibitionists have a propensity to display their genitalia to people they don’t know. They go through cycles where this action feels completely necessary.

Fetishists have an object they need to have involved in sex acts. Usually if the object is not there the person will either have difficulty with orgasm, or, will not be able to orgasm at all. Objects are generally anything from a certain type of material to a garment.

Frotteurism is a need to rub a person’s body parts against another person and generally ahs the same type of cycles as an exhibitionist does, where this action feels completely necessary, it is a compulsion.

Transvestism is when a man feels a need to either imagine himself in women’s or actually does dress in women’s clothing in order to become aroused.

Voyeurism is when a person watches other people get undressed, usually unbeknownst to the person undressing.

There are many more disorders that involve things that the general population would consider weird or sinister.  In fact many sexual disorders if uncontrolled will cause the person with the disorder to end up in jail, unfortunately there does not seem to be a cure for sexual disorders and thus the patient must depend on their own self control.

Sexual dysfunction and sexual disorder have similar names and are often intertwined when being described, but I feel that I have shown just how different they really are.

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A Counselors Values – To Share or Not To Share

There are a lot of different values, and a lot of different opinions about each value.  There are people who, when they feel strongly abut their values, make sure everyone knows how they feel by voicing them loudly and repeatedly.  This is one way a counselor can influence clients with their own beliefs, a couple of other ways counselors can influence clients to adopt their values would be talking about how they feel about one subject over and over again and also with their body language.  Body language can portray how a counselor feels when a client is talking about a subject the counselor feels strongly about.

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Then there are people who, even when they feel strongly about their values, are able to live by them and explain how they feel only when asked.  These people let their values be known through their actions and attitude.  I believe a counselor should be one of these people.

When you live by your values people can get to know you and get a sense of what you are about.  When they become curious about how or why you live your life this way, that is the appropriate time to say, yes I believe in Jesus, I am a Christian.  In a counselor/client relationship, I believe after you have matter-of-factly given your belief you should then bring the conversation back around to the patient by asking what religion are you, or even, do you have a religion.  I don’t think any session should dwell on the counselor’s beliefs or values.

There are counselors who feel it is a good idea to talk about religion with your clients but, my first instinct is to refer a client to a church counselor when the session became to deeply encompassed by religion.  If you can stay objective and are knowledgeable about the different religions being investigated by the client, then it is probably ok to discuss religion in a session.

By communicating with the client and investigating the different aspects of the religion(s) he or she is interested in, it opens the door to something that wasn’t there before.  The conversation can become a very useful tool in helping clients better themselves, even if it isn’t through religion.

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Personal Motivations for a Career in Counseling

I have a couple of different motivations for becoming a counselor.  The first one is, I know what it’s like to suffer from something you feel devastated about and to feel like you have no one on your side to help you.  I also know what it’s like to suffer from something you feel devastated about and to have a great support system.  It seems like one person should not have such a different experience when it comes to things that are happening to them or around them, but I think everyone goes through experiences where they have people who can relate, and then experiences where the people around them cannot relate at all.  When you have the support system, it is still never going to be easy, but to have someone you can talk to and tell your true feelings to, someone who won’t judge you, the healing is able to come faster.

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The second motivation I have is also my reward; I have people who often come to me so I will listen to them, and also for advice.  When they come to me and I see the light bulb come on, or they come back and say, “you know I tried that, and it’s working” or “I feel a lot better now”, it makes me feel like I’ve made a difference in that person’s world.  It makes me feel good to know that I’ve helped them in some way.  The smile or the look that someone gets when they realize it’s not too much, that they can pull through and they are not alone, that there is someone who understands.  It makes me very happy that I can be there for that person to help them come through whatever challenge they are facing at that time.

I have learned a few things about myself, one thing is that I have a talent and a purpose on this earth, and that is to help people get where they need to be.  I have also learned that I have more patience than I ever thought possible and that all the experiences I have been through in my life have been to help me understand what other people are experiencing.

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As I think about what my motivations are, I would say that I am so new to this field and even to the notion of becoming a counselor, that my motivations have not had a chance to change; I have only just found them.  I do feel that as I move along my journey my motivations will change and grow along with my goals.  If these things do not change and grow with you, then it seems you will go stale in the career and lose site of the reason you became a counselor in the first place.