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Couple relationship problems and sexual dysfunctions: therapeutic guidelines

  • Michael Crowe

Summary

Sex is central to most intimate relationships, and there is inevitably a two-way interaction between sex and intimacy. Sex is a physical, a psychological and an interpersonal event, and treatment of sexual problems should take account of all three aspects. Couple relationship problems that can affect sexual interaction include pervasive hostility, poor communication, lack of trust and disparate levels of sexual desire. Therapists should be able to manage therapy sessions with both partners present, without taking sides, and treating the relationship, rather than either individual, as the ‘client’. They should be able to balance the physical approach to problems with managing relationship issues and the partners' individual psychological problems. Techniques are recommended for understanding and modifying the couple relationship during therapy, as well as for dealing with specific sexual problems using a behavioural systems approach.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Michael Crowe, 21 Wimpole St, London W1G 8GG, UK. Email: mjcrowe65@hotmail.com

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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Bancroft, J (2009) Human Sexuality and its Problems. Churchill Livingstone.
American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn) (DSM-IV). APA.
College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (2007) Code of Ethics and Principles of Good Practice for Members. COSRT (http://www.cosrt.org.uk/pdf/documents/3_code_ethics_members.pdf).
Crowe, M, Ridley, J (2000) Therapy with Couples (2nd edn). Blackwell Science.
Crowe, M (2005) Overcoming Relationship Problems. Constable Robinson.
Levin, R, Riley, A (2007) The physiology of human sexual function. Psychiatry 6: 90–4.
Masters, W, Johnson, V (1970) Human Sexual Inadequacy. Little, Brown and Company.
Moynihan, R (2010) Merging of marketing and medical science: female sexual dysfunction. BMJ 341: c5050.
World Health Organization (1992) The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). WHO.
Wylie, K (2007) Male sexual dysfunction. Psychiatry 6: 99104.

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Couple relationship problems and sexual dysfunctions: therapeutic guidelines

  • Michael Crowe
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