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How can couples reconnect when a hectic lifestyle gets in the way of good sex?


First it was Yuppies, then DINKS - couples with Double Incomes and No Kids. Now it’s time for TINS - couples who have Two Incomes but No Sex. According to some estimates, as many 50 per cent of modern men and women just don’t have time for sex - or are too stressed out to enjoy intimate relations when the opportunity arises.

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is hosting a public information session to discuss issues surrounding sexuality and a too-busy lifestyle.

"It is possible to deal with stress while making relationships a priority," says lecturer Julie Larouche, MUHC Coordinator of the Sexual Health Program and a clinical psychologist in the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the Department of Psychology. "People can learn stress management techniques to cope with physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. They can also learn how to make sex a priority."

Scheduling romantic getaways, planning activities together - or even simply turning off the TV and tuning in to each other - can all help put the excitement back into a sexual relationship.

Couples can also ‘work’ towards better sex by exploring and expanding their sexual repertoire, according to Ms. Larouche. Massage, sex games and erotic literature or movies can help them break out of boring routines and reconnect sexually.

"For busy men and women, it’s all too easy to let intimacy become a low priority," adds Dennis Kalogeropoulos, MUHC clinical psychologist in the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the Department of Psychology and a speaker at the event. "Couples need to spend quality time together, and to work on establishing good emotional connections as a prelude to intimacy. Spontaneous sex is a myth. Intimacy has to be worked at."

While stress is often seen as a psychological problem, it can also affect sexual function on a physical level. "Stress releases hormones - chemicals in the body - which can interfere with normal sexual function," explains Dr. Serge Carrier, Director of the Sexual Dysfunction Clinic at the MUHC and the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, an assistant professor in the department of Surgery, division of Urology at McGill University and one of the lecturers.

"Also, stress is often associated with smoking, excessive alcohol use and a sedentary lifestyle. All these things can have a negative impact on desire, arousal, and orgasm, and can lead to sexual problems with a definite physical component, such as erectile dysfunction."

This lecture, second of a series of sexual public health lectures hosted by the MUHC, is a joint venture of the departments of Psychology – Sex and Couple Therapy Service and Urology. This series will provide up-do-date information on key issues pertaining to sexual health. Other lecture topics include assessment, prevention and treatment options for sexual difficulties, and other recent medical advances.

The event will be held on April 22, 2004 at 6h30 p.m. in the JSL Browne Amphitheatre, at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Christine Zeindler | McGill University
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