Luke’s story, 44, IT consultant, resolving premature ejaculation
“My journey began with the realisation that I had developed a really negative attitude towards sex and a sharp drop in confidence within myself. My partner at the time and I were having sex less and less, and when we did it often lacked variety, imagination or enthusiasm. On top of this I had become aware, quite late in my life, that I was not, as I saw it, the greatest performer in bed, often experiencing premature ejaculation. This hit my confidence and so I began to try and block any sexual urges I might have or avoid having to ‘perform’ altogether. In part, I did this by watching pornography. I can honestly say that I never enjoyed watching porn; I simply used it as a quick method of releasing any frustration I had, rather than talk it through with my then partner. In truth all I was doing was compounded the problem further. I began to worry that this was all I had to look forward to in life. Here I was in my mid-forties, full of paranoia when it came to sex, totally confused about what I wanted, and overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness and guilt. I mean, I am man, right! Who am I going to talk all this stuff through with?
I found Sarah’s website and revisited it a number of times, each time making excuses why I should not make contact. In the end the need to do something was simply too great and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent years. Making contact was the hardest thing, especially when I was paranoid that she might think me a pervert or ‘typical bloke’. Within minutes of speaking to Sarah I felt at ease and soon realised that I was speaking to a professional person with amazing empathy, understanding, knowledge and experience. During our first face-to-face meeting Sarah showed her ability to listen and understand, but also to ask pertinent questions that made me think and challenge my own thoughts. For me, even the opportunity to sit and talk to a woman about all of these things openly, without judgment; and to get a woman’s perspective at the same time, was immensely liberating in itself and made me realise (a) how little I knew; and (b) how much easier the world would be if we could all just be honest with each other and talk.
Sarah and I agreed a programme of work that I have now finished. I’ve nothing but glowing praise for the work Sarah does and cannot recommend her highly enough. I no longer feel confused or helpless. In fact, I feel more in tune with my ‘self’ and my body than ever before in my life. Sarah has not only taught me techniques that will serve me well in the future, but she has also opened a door into a world of wonderful opportunities, feelings and positive energy. If every man knew what I know now, porn would disappear tomorrow. I know I still have work to do but am so looking forward to stepping through that door and continuing my journey.”
Cliff’s story, 58, Architect, healing post prostate cancer
Cliff contacted me after having his prostate removed due to cancer. When he got in touch, he was worried that he would not experience sexual pleasure again and he was feeling very low. Working together he has not only discovered new ways to experience pleasure for himself, he and his partner have rekindled intimacy after a five year gap and he feels healthier and happier. Cliff shares his experience:
“Just over a year ago I underwent major surgery and had my prostate removed. Before I agreed to the operation I was advised of the possible side effects and that I would lose the ability to have an erection. The surgery was a success in that my cancer was cured, and post op I was advised that after a period of time there was a 50:50 chance that I would again be able to have an erection.
I have lived with my beloved partner now for more than 28 years. We decided early on in our relationship not to have children and have never felt the need to get married. Although we still love each other, sexual intercourse is no longer part of our lives and hasn’t been these past five years.
Masturbation or “self-pleasure” as I now like to call it replaced the lack of intercourse with my partner and not wanting to seek out another it became my only sexual release. Not being able to have a natural erection caused me great concern as I thought that even this pleasure would no longer be available to me.
Having discussed my dilemma with my partner we decided that I should seek additional help over and above that received from the medical professionals. It wasn’t until I had my first meeting with Sarah that I discovered that there was more to self- pleasuring than having an erection and coming, often all in a very short space of time.
From the outset it was made clear to me that the coaching I would receive would not be a substitute for medical attention. However, I am now a lot healthier than I was before starting my sessions with Sarah, both mentally and physically. My GP has even reduced my blood pressure prescription.
I firmly believe that my new found happiness is mainly due to Sarah’s help, friendship and coaching skills. Sarah is a true expert in her chosen vocation. Some of our coaching sessions involved a Qigong (“chee-gong”) warm up routine which is a Chinese health method that amongst other things helps mental concentration and breathing. I have introduced some of the exercises we practiced into my early morning routine (before brushing teeth etc.) which along with the coaching, is also one of the reasons I believe that my overall health and wellbeing has improved.
Sarah has a very safe working environment and from the outset has always made me very welcome. I continue to work and seek advice from Sarah who explains things wonderfully well and has taught me a great deal in relatively a short period of time. From the bottom of my heart. You have helped to repair my body, heart and soul. Thank you Sarah.”
Anna, 58, Therapist, overcoming shame
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaïs Nin
“I am a woman who has been married for 36 years. My husband is the only sexual partner I have ever had. We have three adult children. For at least the last ten – and probably more – years, our marriage had lacked intimacy, and sex had become something that used to be a part of our lives. This does not mean that I wanted this to be the case. It had just happened, as I suspect it just happens to lots of people: familiarity, lack of effort, failure to communicate, busy lifestyle, the omnipresence of children, tiredness, inertia, irrational feeling that the partner should instigate sex and should understand me enough to know I want it, fear, vulnerability, goal-oriented focus and just general life all seem to get in the way. Sometimes we made love once or twice a year, whereas in others we did not have sex at all. Meanwhile, silently and solitarily, I lived with frustration and did not know how to deal with the problem.
Just over a year ago, when I was feeling particularly sad and frustrated at this situation, one night my husband reached out to me. I responded and, for both of us, it was as if a floodgate had been opened. Quite suddenly, we were relating sexually to each other again and I did not want it to be just a temporary change. I really wanted this to be a turning point in our lives.
However, I did not know what I could do about it, until one day, as I was wandering about online, I came across a website listing people whose work was aimed at helping people find themselves and grow sexually and, to my surprise, one of them lived near to me. I imagined contacting her and wondered what would happen. The first hard step was to send her an e-mail, briefly and, in my opinion, awkwardly saying what it was I wanted. She responded warmly and encouragingly, suggesting that I rang her. Doing that was most definitely the hardest step! This was where it became real.
Referring to the opening quotation, which leapt out at me from the Sessions page of Sarah’s website, I certainly felt that staying tightly in the bud of what I was beginning to realise could turn to an unknown but perhaps beautiful flower was far more painful than taking that risky first step towards blossoming.
Full of determination – and some trepidation – I rang Sarah.
Over the last year, I have had several sessions with Sarah, where we have explored not just the sexual aspects of my life, but sex as part of my life as a whole. I have come to understand – and now firmly hold – that sex cannot be separated from everything else, to be kept in a little private compartment and brought out furtively, in the dark, at an appropriate time. We are sexual beings who vibrate with life energy constantly.
I had particular issues to deal with, particularly regarding my fantasies, which I felt were in some way rather unnatural. I now appreciate that our fantasies are a natural part of us and am also aware that there’s nothing original about mine! However, I do get a huge amount of pleasure from fantasising, mostly during solo sex. What I have now learnt to do is to move across from fantasising into being present in my body, focusing entirely on what I am feeling at any given moment. This has led to a profound deepening of my relationship with my body.
Very gradually, one little step at a time, I am learning to communicate my desires to my husband and have been delighted at how receptive and responsive he has been. He, in turn, has learnt to be more open about himself too and there is a new honesty in our relationship that makes it feel vibrant and more real. The channels of communication have been opened and I do not want them to close again, though there are still things I have not yet felt confident enough to express. The journey is on-going. We now delight in mindful sex that is not goal-oriented. We focus on the moment and the pleasures it brings.
As I have learnt to love and understand myself in a new way, so I have also learned to appreciate and respect other people, particularly women, in a deeper way. I have discovered the joy of sharing with other women and being both supportive of, and supported by, them. The sisterhood of women is indeed something to treasure and nurture.
To anyone who feels trapped and alone with sexual issues or problems, whatever they might be, I would say that I urge you to take action: acknowledge, even if you do not understand, seek help, bring them out in the open. Our problems are unique to us, but they are also universal. In my experience, the difficulties start to diminish as soon as you begin to open up about them and, gradually, new horizons appear, showing a wealth of exciting possibilities. We are all truly worth it and owe it to ourselves to take control, give ourselves permission to be wonderful, liberated sexual beings and bring deep joy into our lives.”
Pauls, 29, Personal Trainer, overcoming ‘erectile dysfunction’
Paul shares his story of his erection challenges and the performance anxiety he felt to show that it is possible to overcome this:
“I first discovered I had sexual anxiety when I was 17 after I did not get hard on on one occasion. I panicked and this became a regular worry and occurrence when ever I got into the bedroom with a girl.
I was confused, worried, embarrassed and thought I was the only one for this to happened to. I blanked it out the best I could for years thinking there was no way to deal with this. I had sex a couple of times after many attempts with the same girl however this could only happen after a drink when I was relaxed and only when I felt comfortable with her. It is only now that I realise how important it is to feel comfortable with your partner which I will come back onto.
I tried everything from Viagra to Hypnotherapy and neither worked for me. Firstly the viagra did not because it was never a physical problem and the hypnotherapy for me just did not do it. I heard of sexual therapy on TV and thought I would google it. This is how I found Sarah. I used to always envisage a magical quick fix with my problem but when I realised that was not the case I tried to be a bit more realistic with it and I have come on leaps and bounds since.
Sarah and I spoke via email and on the phone and then we organised for me to go round for a bit more of a discussion in which she gave me practical advice and I got a bit more of a better feel for what was going on with me. I was first nervous about meeting Sarah but she made me feel very welcome and was very easy to talk to. Sarah helped break down each problem I said I had and gave me very good explanations for why each problem happened and practical ways to tackle them.
I started to do a lot of research into sexual anxiety and the problem is much easier to fix once you understand why it happens and how much of a common thing it actually is. You would be surprised how many of your mates actually have currently got this too or have had this at some point in their lives. Do not ever feel alone on this. Trust me 90% of girls have been with someone who this has happened to and it is a much much bigger deal in your head than it is in theirs.
After Sarah’s advice and help I fully understood what caused my problem, what I needed to do to tackle it and also how much of a common problem it was for men. The truth is also with this you need to risk a little as well to reap the rewards. You have to put yourself in the situation you fear to get the rewards out of it. You can not succeed if you do not try in the first place. I am not saying try and have sex with loads of random girls – I am just saying try it with a girl who you think is mature enough and decent enough to help you with this should it happen again.
It is going to be a bit of a bumpy ride. It is like learning to ride a bike again. At the moment you have your stabilisers on and you may fall off a few times on your way to learning to ride your bike but chose a girl who will help you back on your bike and help you learn (basically not an immature girl, if the girl likes you trust me she wont freak out if it does not go to plan straight away. She will only be bothered if you freak out. Stay calm, reassure her its because you like her so much and do other stuff. It will all come once you are comfortable with her totally…trust me!).
In my case I could not get turned on at the point of sex because I got scared and worried about what would happen but I was fully committed to facing my problem and trying my hardest to battle through it. I was scared to try it but the thought of not being with anyone ever again massively out weighed this scared feeling, so it was a no brainer. I was going to try again and again and not give up until I succeeded with it.
I was not turned on because I was not comfortable and not relaxed. You are much more likely to get and maintain an erection if you are relaxed. If you are panicked, any sexual feeling are suppressed by this and to be honest your head just is not in the game. Why do you think you wake up hard some mornings!? It is because you are relaxed and you body can work as normal. I am in a relationship now and trust me I would of laughed at you if you told me I would be saying this three months ago.
I first had sex with her drunk and made excuses that I may not be able to have sex with her because I do not know where I stand with another girl (which was a total lie but it took the pressure of me). She was happy to kiss and do other stuff and because I knew nothing was expected of me I got hard. I just got lost in the intimacy. Just close your eyes, kiss her, feel her do other stuff.
Shift the focus on just having sex and it will all come (me telling her I did not know where I stood with another girl was perhaps not the best thing to say but you get my point. It shifted the expectancy of me. Say anything. Say you took a knock at footie and your sore so you will just do stuff to her. Say anything if you feel this will help….it just totally dispelled any anxiety for me and I was able to have sex).
So once I had had sex with her at night I knew I could do it then but I had been there before, just having sex drunk and I wanted to have sex sober with her so I could prove to myself I could do it in that state also. So back to the relaxed thing – this is when you are most likely to get an erection (relaxed and turned on of course). So I thought the best way to have sex sober and relaxed is when you wake up in the morning after a nice sleep. Use your morning glory. Do not even think about it. Just start messing around with her and ask her to get on top. This worked for me. I had sex sober and drunk with her so proved to myself that I could do it, so using this and Sarah’s advice along with my determination, I beat my anxiety.
I have been going out with her for a month now and I feel NO anxiety with her because I am totally comfortable with her now. This just shows what can be done. If I can do it and you are true to your cause like I am you can too! And do not be disheartened by set backs. With this same girl I had a couple of times when I was sober where I completely froze up but it was just because I was not comfortable with her. I made excuses and took the blame off myself but needless to say when I did freeze up she did not care at all and wanted to see me again.
So do not for one minute think that they will be put off you if you do “not perform” as long as you do not freak out or get upset they won’t care. I am now surprising myself at how high my sex drive is around her. It is like this weight has been lifted as there is no panic and I function as normal with her. I used to need a drink to try but now sober I am totally fine with her and this is because I feel at ease with her. Use your determination, do your research, listen to what Sarah tells you and take risks!