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They married in the 20s, and for years this Maharashtrian couple had a fulfilling sex life. But, beginning in his late 30s, the husband no longer eyed his wife with desire. When she hesitantly tried to talk about their dwindling sex life, he immediately changed the subject. Sex became almost non existent, and their once -solid relationship started crumbling.

As a Delhi couple headed towards their 40s their sex life changed too-but for the better. True, they no longer frolicked in their bedroom like newlyweds. But both agreed that their bond -binding sessions were never so much in synchrony and the sensual side of their marriage had never burned so brightly.

What explains the difference between the two couples? "Knowledge and understanding"

Says Dr.Sridevi Telang, sexual therapist at the Ruby Hall and the Jehangir Hospital. And these were just two cases to illustrate the importance of the sexual health in our daily lives. Sexual health is the perfect synchronised working pattern of the nervous system, the hormonal system, the vascular system and the emotional self" she defines.

“How can husband and I love each other so much, yet have such an unexciting sex life?" asks college lecturer, teaching English. Had she discussed the problem with her husband, a physician, to whom she's been married for 12 years? I seem to be able to talk to him about everything but our sex life," she confesses weakly. I don't know how to tell him what I need without seeming to criticize." Dr. Sridevi Telang provides the worried lady with the answer as she does to the steady stream of patients trickling into her tiny vestibule at the Ruby Hall Clinic. I am not a sexologist; she clarifies right at the beginning itself. I am a medical practitioner practicing sexual medicine and sexual therapy. My job is differentiate between the psychogenic problems as against organic reasons while treating sexual disfuntions, she explains as she shares her experiences as a therapist who has counseled thousands of couples over the year and has thereby gained invaluable knowledge into the uninhibited world of erotica. 


What is Sex?


Just this one word can trigger off a thousand responses. And if a person can answer this single most important question as honestly and as positively as he can only then can that person get close to term sexually healthy. At a physical level sex is an act of copulation .At an instinctual level it is a discharge of sexual drivers, which are regulated by male and female hormones. At an emotional level depending on the context of the relationship, sex can represent a spectrum of emotions such as love, affection, tenderness-even anger and guilt. In the context of behavioral patterns sex can symbolize something as beautiful as a mystical union of body and soul or something as negative as degradation hostility defiance and even sadomasochism. For instance a rapist can either be a sadist or masochist but basically he is frustrated person resentful of his own inadequacies, he does not necessarily have to be highly sexual person nor must he be a particularly vengeful one .His sexual frustration that have not been channeled positively. 

Sexual health isn't just taking precautions against AIDS. It goes much beyond that.

Illogically sexual health has become synonymous with AIDS. Or rather AIDS has become a criterion for sexual health. This is both untrue as well as misleading.

For that matter, neither is STD, VD or any other sexual disease the yardstick for sexual health. Sexual health is one's own sexuality. And human sexuality not just joined involves what we do but it also focuses on what we are .It is an identification and activity a drive a biological and emotional process an expression of the self. Sexuality is strongly influenced by social and personal beliefs and in turn, strongly influence beliefs and behaviour .it is a part of your personality. That is why the study of sexuality or sexual health includes physical development and maturity of that particular person self esteem learning skills and also the desire for intimacy, physical contact and the subsequent mode of expression. More over there may be experiences with sex abuse, pre and post marital sex homosexual relationships that have to be considered also. Even experiences like marriage, contraception's, guilt performance can affect one's sexual health, as do inter-personal relationships.

Want a richer, more satisfying love life?


Majority of the people coming to me for counseling want any answer to such question That why you find people desperately thumping pages of books which contain catch -phrases because they are eager to know all the sex secrets. Solutions cannot be so instinct or easy .The fact remains that Nature has made man and woman differently and every couple or sexual mates have to realize this. Men tend to compartmentalize, as most of them believe that a stressful time can be parked mentally and separated from sexual actions. But sexuality and affection can't be compartmentalized. Good sex is a continuum closeness and affection .It is important to act loving even when you are not about to have sex .If a husband surprises his wife flowers or s gift for no particular reason, if he takes the children out for a day, this thoughtfulness may improve the couples sexual pleasure and the marriage.


Similarly most woman need to feel good during the day and in marriage to have satisfying sex. "Rahul just didn't understand this", complains Mita, 29,who has married for seven years .He was under a lot of stress at work and was impatient and withdrawn, not wanted to talk or show any affection. He'd watch TV until midnight then come in bedroom and grab me .If wasn't instantly responsive he'd get upset.

Such problems are common and may appear small and mundane but it's these small disgruntling instances that slowly lead to the final deluge.


Sex is important in a marriage.


This importance of sex in marriage cannot be ignored nor can it be underestimated. But neither can it be overestimated .Sex has to be given its due importance but usually in Indian Marriages sex is looked a very differently by the two mates. The Indian male over uses it as a marital weapon. Where as the woman considers sex is a mere wifely duty to be performed and not to be enjoyed .the essence of a sexually healthy person is how well and how positively he/she is dealing with sex and sexual mate. Sex is not a both positive as well as negative, and when sex becomes an expression of emotions more positive than negative then that couple is said to have good sex.the goal of sex is to be loving with each other. That's all.


Sex is still a dirty three-letter word


Sex in India, still has a stigma attached to it. And it's been there down the ages and for it to be broken it will need firm grass root level measures. It's just not sex but even professions connected with sex are looked upon with condescending suspension. It's either this reaction or ignorance on their part where my work is concerned.


Sex Education should be a must -- both at the school level as well at the family level.


Sex education has to be imparted very early in life so as to make the person realize and aware of his/her anatomical, physiological as well as sexual functions. Each individual has to learn to appreciate his role and his responsibility as son husband father brother etc. That way one's sexuality does not become the sole identity of one's ego. Take the example of the 70-year-old gentleman who happened to be a famous politician .he was worried that he could no longer have sex with young girls as he could earlier. And he was more disturbed with the idea that though he was unable to perform well in bed .His ego just could not accept this fact. 

Of the patients I treat 98% are males. This statement in itself should speak volumes. And me being a woman do not deter them from coming. In fact they want a woman to understand their problems and on my part I guess as a woman, I can handle their ego's better! Women feel reluctant to voice their problems in the first place. Women who do come up are those who experience pain and distress out of coitus. Then there are those who have infertility problems, like stress which arises out of such situations. Women today are conscious, but still not confident of their sexual rights. Most of them are aware of what orgasm is, but rarely have they realized that a woman too can have performance anxiety. Studies show that only about 60% of women have an orgasm more than half of the times they have intercourse. But many women feel pleasure from partner and themselves to have orgasms. Many men believe that a good lover is one who brings his wife to a dramatic sexual satisfaction. Of course there are those who are not really bothered weather his partner has experienced orgasm or not, as long as they remain sexually satiated. There are selfish lovers also who consider the wife solely as sex object. How many men are aware that how a man treats his wife out of the bed can greatly influence her response in bed? Hurtful words, inattentiveness and criticism can make it difficult for a woman to be an enthusiastic, passionate lover.


Where sex is concerned, it's a man's world


Especially in India, thanks to a chauvinistic society it is the man who dictates the term even in bed. The wife is the passive partner. That's why most of the cases I treat are more male related sexual problems, like inadequate erection, early ejaculation, unconsummated marriages selective importance, organ dysmorphism, etc.


Premarital sex is still a no-no in today's world


A few months age, I had conducted a survey where I'd talked to men and women grouped in the age slot of 20 to 35 years, about their sexual likes and dislikes and how important a role did marriage play in their lives. The younger generation is not really as blaze as they appear to be. Where sex goes, they are still orthodox in their ideas. For instance, pre-marital sex is fun, but guys would not like to marry girls with whom they have had pre-marital sex. They would still like to marry virgins. Girls are wary of pre-marital sex for they cannot derive any form of security from it. They find marital sex safer. A marriage can provide social security, financial security but where sexual security goes, marriage does not seem to be the sole solution. The answer lies within us. Marriage is the most important relationship in one's life. It means showing each other, with words, with touch, with thoughtful gestures, that you care, that you look forward to the pleasure you'll share together whatever that pleasure maybe".


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