Infertility is a medical problem that is affecting 15 percent of couples in Singapore. This means, one out of seven couples will have problems conceiving a child within one year of trying.
In the attempts of researchers to identify these unknown causes, they instead discovered that psychological distress was also a contributing factor to infertility. This psychological distress not only affects the couple’s ability to conceive; it also places undue stress upon their sexuality and sexual relationship.
Recognising the importance of alleviating this psychological distress to improve a couple’s chances of conception, there is now a greater involvement of sexologists in the provision of quality sexual health education in improving couple intimacy and in overcoming psychological barriers to infertile patients.
What is Sexology?
Sexology is defined as an interdisciplinary study on human sexuality. In the matter of infertility, sexologists focus not only on the psychological distress that accompanies the inability to achieve conception but also take an in-depth look into the couple’s interpersonal relationship in the hopes of identifying socio-cultural and physiological factors that affect both their sexuality and ability to have a child.
The socio-cultural factors include the following:
- Strong misconceptions about healthy sexuality
- Lack of sexual education/knowledge
- History of sexual abuse and/or other traumas
What does a Sexologist do?
Sexologists have the medical knowledge and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders, including infertility. This expertise plus their knowledge on human relationships and sexuality make them invaluable supporting members of infertility specialists.
There are several conditions that sexologists can help couples address:
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED) – inability of a male to achieve and maintain a firm erection sufficient for successful sexual intercourse. Also known as impotence, while ED may be due to existing health problems, it may result from psychogenic factors, such as stress, depression, and performance anxiety, just to name a few.
- Premature Ejaculation – a condition wherein orgasm and ejaculation or “climax” occurs sooner than wanted.
- Delayed Ejaculation – a condition wherein the man has difficulty or is unable to reach orgasm and ejaculate semen
- Performance Anxiety – a condition that occurs in men who feel stress regarding their body image or their ability to sexually please their partner. If not addressed promptly, performance anxiety can lead to Erectile Dysfunction.
- Desire, Arousal & Orgasmic Difficulties – such difficulties are known as a condition that occurs when someone has difficulty reaching orgasm. When this condition occurs in women, it is known as female orgasmic dysfunction. Men can also experience orgasmic dysfunction. Orgasms are intense feelings of release during sexual stimulation. They can vary in intensity, duration, and frequency. Orgasms can occur with little sexual stimulation, but sometimes much more physical/fantasy stimulation is necessary.
- Painful Intercourse – this condition is characterised by recurrent or persistent genital pain occurring before, during or after sexual intercourse.
- Vaginismus – a condition wherein the vaginal muscles squeeze or spasm painfully upon penetration.
- Interventions for Unconsummated Marriage – when sexual intercourse has not taken place between a married man and woman. Sexologists can determine the cause for unconsummated marriage and recommend the appropriate intervention.
- Sexual Difficulties Arising from Menopause and Andropause – arise as a result of the effects of hormones in the reproductive system. Good examples are insufficient lubrication in the female during sexual intercourse and decreased libido and erectile dysfunction in the male.
- Sexual Concerns Addressing Fertility – seeks to provide support and counselling to infertile couples. It also helps couples to maintain a healthy sexual relationship despite an infertility diagnosis and to enable them to get through the stresses of IVF and other Assisted Reproductive Techniques.
- Behavioural and Lifestyle Therapies – provides advice and home therapies for the couple to do so that they will not only have a better sexual relationship but also improve general health and their chances of a successful conception.
- Premarital Counselling – is a type of therapy or counselling session that helps couples to prepare for marriage. Such therapies ensure that the couple has a strong, healthy relationship, and to assist in giving them a better chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. This kind of counselling can also help them identify and correct the weaknesses that could become problems during marriage.
- Sexual Rehabilitation for Regaining Intimacy – offers therapy and counselling to patients who have not resumed sexual activity after a health-disrupting event, like injury, debilitating illness, or degenerative disease. It is also for couples who have drifted apart from sexual intimacy due to interpersonal issues, ego or sexual dysfunctions.
- Past Sexual Abuse – provides therapy and counselling to sexual abuse survivors to get over their fear of sex and how they can find pleasure again in a sexual relationship.
Sexologists are vital members of an infertility treatment team — allowing for the frank, confidential and tactful discussion, diagnosis, and treatment recommendation for sexuality-related conditions.
One such specialist is Professor P Ganesan Adaikan of the Sincere Medical Specialist Center. Prof. Adaikan is a world-renowned clinical sexologist with decades of experience and expertise in helping not only infertility patients stressed by their inability to conceive but also individuals with sexual conditions or problems with sexual relationships.
If you have related issues that require the intervention of a sexologist, or want to know more about our Clinical Sexology services, contact Sincere Medical Specialist Center at Hotline: +65-6507 0766 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.