Seattle Relationship and Sex Therapist

Tag: loss of erotic focus

Getting it Up: Struggles with You or Your Partner(s)’ Erectile Function.

We talk about it all of the time at my office. What happens when your or your partner’s drive for penetrative sex is there, but you/he isn’t standing at full attention, ready to join the party? Psychogenic erectile dysfunction is tremendously common, yet immensely frustrating. There isn’t anything much worse than having the overwhelming desire to have sex, but not being able to “rise” to the occasion.Erectile Dysfunction Ruining Relationship

Many problems can get in the way (have a look at Performance and Loss of Erotic Focus below), as anxiety and stress can kill even the most determined “soldier.” Regardless, issues maintaining an erection during penetrative sex can leave you or your partner feeling lost, or wondering if you really are attracted to him or her, or vise versa. Often, this is luckily not the case (as many partners who stay together have great sexual attractions for one another).

So the question becomes, how do you get rid of the elephant in the room (seeing as how it’s not invited)? Introduce it. The best initial outcome for anyone in a sexual relationship where one or more partners has a loss of erectile function, is to create clear and open communication around the problem, goals, desires, and expectations. If you can get on the same page, managing the sexual dysfunction is far simpler. Sex were erectile functioning has been an issue can cause many interpersonal problems within the relationship leaving each partner feeling uncared for or even unloved or desired.

If you have found yourself in a situation like this, or have found that your partner(s) has struggles with erectile function, but still wants to have sex, don’t wait until communication and the relationship itself gets worse! Your sex life is not destined for failure. Couples and/or sex therapy can help!

Call Dr. Ethan Schwab today at (425) 295-2189 for a FREE initial consultation. Learn to be yourself, as authentically as possible.


What happens when find yourself in a long term relationship where your partner discloses that you aren’t the sexual “apple of their eye” or ends up cheating, but tells you that it happened because they really aren’t monogamous? Surprise…non-monogamy! This is a hard question to ponder after the fact, while trying to understand what happened in your relationship that led to the late-term disclosure or affair. Sometimes, it’s difficult to even believe this could be true, as it can sound like an excuse the first time you hear it.Suprise...non-monogamy!

As we have come to understand monogamy and non-monogamy further, we are realizing that many individuals struggle to identify, share, and accept their true sexual identities. Unfortunately, this lack of early disclosure often results in negative relationship consequences. Usually, partners, husbands, wives…etc., struggle to inform their spouse(s) early in the relationship of their sexual preferences (if not typical or commonly accepted socially) out of fear. They worry they will lose an otherwise successful and inspiring romantic relationship or best friendship. They worry about being shamed, or will experience guilt over not being “normal.”

It can be difficult to believe that your partner(s) lied over the course of the relationship or cheated out of “necessity,” or because it is just who they are (to be authentic, feel alive, or be true to themselves). However, in cases where one partner cheats because they aren’t monogamous, but are attempting to maintain a monogamous relationship, it can seem like there is no hope for the relationship…or like you’ve been smacked in the face twice (see: double whammy). Regardless, these situations are often lined with hope and tremendous opportunities to develop better, clearer, and more honest communication in the relationship. If the adultery or lack of preference disclosure can be reconciled, there are many positive directions we can work toward to better each member of the relationship’s lives. Your relationship does not have to end if you are partnered with someone who is non-monogamous or vice versa. There are many ways to reconcile this difference and create a very authentic, genuine relationship moving forward, filled with trust, honesty, compassion, admiration, and love.

If you have found yourself in a situation like this, or have found that your partner(s) has other preferences with regards to monogamy (or the openness of your relationship). Or vice versa. Your relationship is not destined for failure. Couples and/or sex therapy can help!

Call Dr. Ethan Schwab today at (425) 295-2189 for a FREE initial consultation. Learn to be yourself, as authentically as possible.


I hear that word in my office all of the time. “Performance.”performance We’ve all heard it forever. At work, at school, while on sports teams, or even playing board games…the thought that we “must” perform (as if there is an ultimate or universal standard) applies. While judging performance may be useful in a work or school setting, what happens when you feel judged or judge yourself in the bedroom?

How do you know what good enough, great, or stellar looks like for yourself and/or your partner? What if you begin to doubt yourself or your competence as a sexual being? What if you think or have been told that you don’t perform well in the relationship…or in bed? In many instances, erectile dysfunction or trouble achieving orgasm (in men and women) can occur as a result of experiencing ongoing worry, stress, or anxiety over sexual performance.
Sometimes, despite having great communication with our current partner(s) around sexuality, old experiences creep in. Maybe you once heard something negative, or that a man or woman should perform sexually in a specific way, or that something didn’t look good or wasn’t “the right size.” Or…be willing to engage in sexual behavior that is inauthentic to who you are or what you believe is right for yourself.

Maybe the notion of being a good “performer” starts when we’re young. We look at the most popular or successful seeming people around us and copy his or her actions in hopes of replicating a desired result. The problem with thinking about sexual prowess or performance from a social learning perspective is that there are many examples of sexual standards for men and women that are either out of left field, or blatantly inaccurate, but…set a high bar for what we expect from ourselves. Learning to be authentic and have expectations be preferable and realistic is a constant, intentional process. With a little work, we can see ourselves as rock stars in our relationships (or in our own sexuality). Learning how to be authentic and honest with ourselves is key.

If you find yourself or partner worrying about performance, and want to work toward feeling confident and competent in all areas of the bedroom, couples and/or sex therapy can help!

Call Dr. Ethan Schwab today at (425) 295-2189 for a FREE initial consultation. Learn to be yourself, as authentically as possible.

Experiencing a Loss of Erotic Focus?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation during any type of sexual activity (either by yourself or with your partner(s)) where you are mentally present and in the moment, but then all of a sudden lose focus on the situation at hand (where your desire, erection, or orgasm is compromised)…maybe you think about the dishwasher running, the kids needing to be picked up at school, a work event later, whether you look sexy enough, or the garage door being open? We all lost focus from time to time, or are “just not that into it” in certain moments. Sometimes however, loss of erotic focus happens regularly, and significantly diminishes the joy and pleasure of sexual experiences with or between you or your partner. Losing focus consistently during any sexual event, whether masturbation or intercourse can lead to problems with orgasm (male or female orgasmic dysfunction), or even erectile dysfunction. Loss of Erotic Focus

Many, many issues can lead to a loss of erotic focus, from a too stressful or overly extended life to first time parenting. If you find yourself struggling to stay present during sex or masturbation, and are experiencing difficulty with orgasm, erectile function, or general sensory pleasure, sex therapy can help. There are many techniques that are useful in focusing back in on the experience at hand, and help with gaining mastery over your sexual response.

A helpful beginning strategy for staying present in the bedroom is practicing mindfulness.

• Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction is a form of mindfulness that is clinically aimed at lowering anxiety through attentive breathing exercises, body scans, guided meditations, as well as other practices.

• The point here is to work toward lowering anxiety and remaining present in any situation without “checking out or drifting.”

• Start with the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, also known as Mindful Breath. There are many great examples of the 4-7-8 breathing exercise online. It only takes a minute or two to practice. I often suggest all clients start here prior to taking on more intensive meditative techniques.

If you find yourself or partner struggling with a loss of erotic focus during sex, and want to work toward reconnecting and becoming present in the bedroom, couples and/or sex therapy can help!

Call Dr. Ethan Schwab today at (425) 295-2189 for a FREE initial consultation. Learn to communicate your boundaries, preferences, fantasies, and what is erotic in ways that are safe, secure, considerate, and welcomed by your partner.

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