Dr. Amin Sharobim Explains What it is and How to Address it
The big wedding day is over. The frenetic build-up to what is considered one of the most important landmarks in a young couple’s lives is culminating in a future of companionship, raising a family, physical bonding and sexual intimacy. As the first days of the honeymoon loom on the horizon most young brides and grooms feel a mix of nervousness and anticipation. Armed mainly with vague advice and shared snippets of often misleading information, they are often ill-prepared and can find the first days together confusing and embarrassing. Cairo West Magazine met up with Dr. Amin Sharobim to hear his forthright take on how this can happen, and what can be done to smooth the initiation into marital bliss.
CWM: Dr. Amin, honeymoon impotence is a sensitive topic, do people consider it too personal to discuss?
AS: Yes, newlyweds can feel shy, but it is becoming such a problem that we see more and more couples coming to the clinic to discuss this. There is little sex education available, and in a conservative society like Egypt, little to no sexual experience prior to marriage. Rather than discuss this matter with close friends or relatives, they find it easier to open up in the more professional environment of a doctor’s office.
What are the main contributing factors in cases of honeymoon impotence?
Aside from the general fatigue and stress that can come with the hectic time of the wedding, which can be contributing factors, there are two important issues that can crop up during the first days together. Men can suffer from performance concerns, as well as a fear of hurting their wife. Women often suffer from nerves and vaginismus, where the muscles in the vaginal wall tighten to an uncomfortable point. This in turn can even lead a man to psychologically suppressing his erection to avoid upsetting his wife.
Other problems can arise through erectile dysfunction in the male for a variety of reasons. Should there be an indication of a physical problem it is best to visit a doctor and sort it out well before the honeymoon starts. There are numerous medical solutions to help with these cases.
Also, certain medications are known to inhibit desire or arousal, which can decrease lubrication and make sex painful. These include antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, sedatives, antihistamines and certain birth control pills.
How can this situation be successfully addressed?
It is helpful for a couple to have a counselling session with a doctor they feel comfortable with prior to marriage. Their doctor can give guidance in how to approach the emotional and physical sides of marriage, how they work together, and how to understand the biology of both the male and the female. In many cases there is insufficient understanding of the role of foreplay, during which each partner becomes aroused and experiences natural physical reactions, which are created to aid the act of intercourse. During this foreplay a couple can gradually learn what pleases their partner, and develop a more relaxed intimacy.
This should not be rushed; medical studies have indicated that it can take anything from two to ten minutes for a healthy young person to reach a state of full arousal. Through this, a woman should experience natural lubrication of the vagina, and a man should achieve a full erection, facilitating a more enjoyable experience for both partners. >>
What else can help when there is still a problem?
Where there is still dyspareunia or painful intercourse due to lack of natural lubrication, it is easy to use special lubricants which are readily available through a pharmacy. A doctor can also advise a young couple as to which positions can lessen any discomfort during the early days of marriage. It would be unrealistic to expect too much too quickly, this takes time, experience and a build-up of confidence and relaxation with each other.
Are there other issues that should be considered?
Certainly. Nature creates sexual urges as the body matures. The common relief for these is through masturbation, and in some cases the viewing of pornographic material. Of course, this is frowned upon in a conservative culture, so it is usually carried out furtively and hastily. By building this pattern, it may be more difficult for a young man to adjust to a more relaxed and leisurely approach to lovemaking.
In many cases young people resort to viewing pornographic films to try to get an idea of what to expect. What they end up with is a distorted and extreme version of the reality. They often do not take into account that scenes are carried out by ‘actors’, and bear little resemblance to normal affectionate, caring and considerate sexual interaction between two people in love.
If a sexual problem arises and is not addressed in the early stages of a marriage what further problems could arise?
It is extremely important to sort any problems out as soon as possible, before psychological blocks and ‘blaming’ set in. As time passes they will be more difficult to treat, and could have a deeper impact on all aspects of the relationship. Transparency, communication, consideration and affection are all important building blocks in a marriage; this includes the physical aspect of a relationship as well. Doctors have the knowledge to help a couple through any difficult patches, and can offer solutions on a behavioural level as well as through medications, where needed.