"What's gone wrong? Why isn't it working? She's gorgeous, I'm truly in love for the first time in my life and my sex life is non-existent?"

John's speech was chaotic. He couldn't believe that he was pouring out his troubles to a psychologist/sex-therapist - especially in having to admit that he was having great difficulties with his sexual performance.

You see, John was a top footballer who had enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and had been used to success in all areas of his life. One reflection of this success had been the prolific number of young women who had offered him their favours. John was used to having his choice of beautiful women at any time he wanted (that is, so long as his training schedule and coach allowed.) John had always relied on his body to perform for his own pleasure. He didn't much care about his partner's pleasure but he usually found they went away with smiles on their faces.

Now John had finally fallen in love with Marnie, a beautiful golden haired model. Marnie had also had the life of the famous but she had chosen to be very careful with her sexuality. She had slept with only two men, neither of whom were fabulous studs but they had both made her feel good about her ability in bed. Now that she was in love with John, Marnie wanted to really be able to let go in sex and explore the heights that she had been reading about for all these years.

The reality was that sex with John was very disappointing. As a result, Marnie was starting to lose her self-esteem because she felt that it must be her fault that John was not able to demonstrate his love for her in bed.

Both John and Marnie needed some urgent sexual education and counselling in order to turn their sexual connection into something positive. (If you experience hiccups with sex with a new partner and you wait until the disappointment turns to indifference, then the relationship is doomed.)

John needed to understand that he was suffering from a phenomenon which can be termed "The Goddess Syndrome". This is when a man who has taken sex for granted with women who does not love is finally faced with the true love of his life. To him, she is the Goddess incarnate. He loves every part of her being and wants only to cherish and adore her. It's as if his sexuality shuts down in order for him to love the Goddess. His unconscious mind takes over and tells the penis to stay soft. After all, how could he do the sexual deed in the same way with her as he has done for all those years with the other women that he really didn't care about?

Marnie needed to stop taking the blame for the difficulties the couple were experiencing in sex. It's a curious fact that most women blame themselves for their partner's lack of success in sex. They think "If he's not able to get it up, it must be because I'm not attractive enough and I don't turn him on." ( When you see how beautiful Marnie is and know how many men would love to take her to bed, you would see how laughable her irrational reaction is to blame herself. Still, that is commonly what women do - I've even worked with some women who encourage their men to go and try sex with someone else, just to prove their theory that they cannot arouse him!)

Warning! Sex with someone else, just to find out if the penis still works is Not a good option in any situation. It will just create more insecurity for the guy (especially if he's not successful and finds he has a serious sexual dysfunction) and for the woman (who could then be eternally jealous).

So what's the solution?

The solution is to immerse themselves in what sex therapists call "non-demand love-making". Our couple need to take all emphasis off John's sexual performance as defined by his erection and what he does with it. They need to schedule long, luscious lovemaking where they explore every one of their senses without even thinking about intercourse. In fact, intercourse should be banned!

Note that I suggest actually scheduling times for intimacy. Some respond with "but intimacy should be spontaneous, not planned". I agree that intimacy can be wonderful when it is unplanned, but I know that many of us get caught up in the hectic pace of life and this greatly interferes with the pacing of our sex-lives. It's especially important to plan times to practice sexual skills when you have experienced some difficulties, because our embarrassment, guilt, anxiety (etc and etc....) fills us up with "good reasons" for avoiding sex.

So what can we learn from John and Marnie? Essential aspects for good sex are not related to your equipment and how well it performs. Rather, what is essential is patience, care, responsibility for your own orgasms and pleasure and realistic expectations of development towards true intimacy and a loving connection.

It may take time, but it's worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Janet Hall is a psychologist, hypnotherapist, sex therapist, author, professional speaker, trainer, and media consultant. Jan consults regularly with print media and is a frequent guest on talk-back radio and current affairs shows.

Jan was a regular for two years on the Sex Life television program in Australia. Her user-friendly strategies offer practical solutions to sexual and relationship issues so that you can have the love and the sensational sex that you deserve. Jan has a unique ability to encourage people to clarify their situation and solve their own problems with both heart (trusting intuition and feelings) and head (with logical analysis and rational prioritization). She believes that people deserve to feel empowered and allow themselves to be the best they can for the good of all. Jan has a happy knack of making psychology user friendly.

Dr Janet Hall