How do I relax and reduce fatigue so that I am receptive to sexual activity?

Sleep and fatigue are often major contributors to decreased sexual interest and desire. People rarely sleep properly, and new data support the notion that too little or too much sleep can be linked to the development of medical illnesses or even premature death. Poor sleep leads to daytime anxiety, restlessness, and irritability, all of which can affect your relationship. It is critical to pay special attention to good sleep behaviors and try to maintain good sleep techniques. Here are some helpful strategies:

• Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

• Get regular exercise each day in the morning. There

is good evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep. This includes stretching and aerobic exercise.

• Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright light, especially in the late afternoon.

• Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool; keep it quiet, dark, and comfortable.

• Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

• Use a relaxation exercise like muscle relaxation, warm soaks, or imagery just before going to sleep.

• Avoid competitive games, watching television, or action adventure movies before going to bed.

• Leave important discussions with a loved one for the morning or afternoon.

• Avoid caffeine. It hides in many sources such as coffee, tea, and chocolate. Do not use alcohol as a sleep aid.

• Do not take another person's sleeping pills, and avoid daytime naps. Do not take over-the-counter sleeping pills without your doctor's knowledge.

Snoring can often be the reason why couples do not share a bed together. The noise may be unbearable and force loving couples into separate bedrooms. Snoring may be the prime issue that takes away from restful slumber, and it may be an indicator of some underlying medical concern. Both men and women who suffer from chronic heavy snoring should seek medical attention from a sleep center and have a comprehensive workup to rule out more serious conditions such as sleep apnea or a deviated septum.

Do I need a sexual consultation with a specialist?

You may wonder when it is time to seek professional help with sexual concerns. Sometimes you may have attempted to improve your sexual desire or lessen the pain you have experienced with intercourse, but the problems persist or worsen. Other times, the symptoms are severe or troublesome and your concern should be addressed. Vaginal bleeding or medication-induced sexual dysfunction should signal the time to consult a sexual healthcare professional. Referral for an evaluation by a subspecialist may be appropriate for certain clinical conditions.

Consultants can include oncologists, social services providers, nutritionists, exercise therapists, and psychiatrists. A list of clinicians and ancillary staff who are sensitive to sexual issues should be readily available for patients who take part in sexual rehabilitation programs. Providers need to reassure patients and their partners that even at the end of life when intercourse may not be feasible, intimacy and emotional closeness should be encouraged. Sexual complaints are often complex and often require the joint treatment effort from a medical professional and a psychotherapist who are trained in the field of sexual medicine.

Choosing the correct healthcare professional for your specific complaint takes careful consideration.

Where can I seek help for myself and my partner?

Many healthcare providers claim to be sexual experts, so choosing the correct healthcare professional for your specific complaint takes careful consideration. Medical doctors such as gynecologists and urologists sometimes have a special interest in sexual medicine. Mental healthcare professionals such as psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists can also be helpful in treating sexual problems.

Be certain to verify credentials because qualifications and categories often change from state to state and location to location. The doctors who have chosen to specialize in sexual medicine often are compassionate and empathic. Sex therapists are mental healthcare providers who have specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual complaints.

Contact the American Association of Sex Educators, Therapists and Counselors (AASECT, and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR, for trained therapists in your neighborhood. Check the credentials of the specialist you plan to see and verify whether they take insurance.

Perhaps most important, do not be afraid to seek medical professional help. There are highly skilled sexual healthcare experts who understand that intimacy and connectedness are paramount to quality of life. Have the courage to seek help and restore your sexuality and sensuality.

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