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Complexity of Couples, Sexual Desire, and Clinician Values
Description: This presentation will explore the challenge of maintaining strong, resilient sexual desire with married or partnered couples. Desire is the key dimension and secondary desire problems are the most common cause of referral for sex therapy. Clinically, the keys to desire are anticipation, pleasure-orientation, freedom and choice, and unpredictable sexual scenarios. The couple learn to value both intimacy and eroticism=m while recognizing the multiple roles, meanings, and outcomes of couple sexuality.

A major sexual transition for males is to give up the totally predictable individual pass-fail performance approach to sex and adopt the Good Enough Sex (GES) model. GES is usually much more acceptable to women than men who typically choose a stand-alone medical intervention (Viagra, testosterone, penile injections) with the hope of returning to autonomous sex function. In contrast, GES is a couple concept focused on giving and receiving pleasure-oriented touch. GES recognizes sensual, playful, and erotic touch as sexual in addition to intercourse.

Traditionally, clinicians were expected to be able to treat all types of clients and problems with the assumption that the clinician was value-free. The reality is that clinicians have personal and professional values so when they claim to be value-free they are not being honest with clients or themselves. We explore clinician’s interest, competence, and values in helping attendees determine what clients and problems they should treat and which to refer. Both traditional and non-traditional clients/couples deserve first class clinical treatment.

Objective(s): At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to: identify the psychobiosocial factors which facilitate and those which subvert sexual desire; employ the Good Enough Sex (GES) model to reinforce desire, pleasure, eroticism, and satisfaction; critique myths about clinician personal and professional values and reinforce that client goals and values are more important than clinician values.