“I think it’s important to break up attitudes and ideas that sex is about performance and that those who have sex need to focus on performing. This can stimulate anxiety thoughts. ”This is what psychologist and sex counselor Aldis Olafsdottir says in an interview with Makamal.
Aldis graduated as a psychologist in 2014 and has worked as such since then. In 2016, she also started working as a consultant for the Association ’78. Aldis currently works as a psychologist and sexual counselor at Domus Mentis Mental Health Center.
I have always been very interested in sex and the more I worked with couples and gay people the more I felt I needed to add knowledge to be able to provide sex counseling when discussions about sex or sexual problems arose in therapy.
“I went to study in the United States, because this study is not available in Iceland, and graduated as a sex counselor in April this year from the University of Michigan.”
Aldis says that being able to deal with problems related to sex is important when it comes to people, but she says she fears that many people do not dare to mention problems related to sex unless that problem is specifically discussed.
“The study covered both the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders, but also looks at sexual problems in a broader context. Sex counseling is a holistic approach and often requires working with communication, trust or satisfaction in the relationship while tackling sexual problems. You also need to look at physical factors and health, medication, well-being, and more. ”
Do you think people, in general, know that it is possible to seek advice from professionals about sexual problems?
“My experience is that more people today know that it is possible to seek help for sexual problems than you did before. In Iceland, two trained sex counselors have provided sexual counseling in recent decades. With each interview and newspaper article, people’s knowledge of the work of sex counselors seems to increase. I try to continue that by raising people’s awareness of these services and keeping the discussion about sex and sexual problems alive. ”
The discussion about sex is often basic and gendered
Asked what she feels is missing in the discussion and media coverage of sexual problems, she says she is often limited and restricted to heterosexuality.
“There is something missing in the discussion about sex today. We usually see discussions about sex in everyday life appear in short articles that offer ways to spice up or improve sex. This discussion is often basic and gendered. ”
Often the discussion is based on the reader being heterosexual, in a long-term relationship with one person, non-disabled and interested in the same thing as most others of the same sex.
“I think it’s important to break the notion that sex is about performance and that those who have sex need to focus on performing. That can make you anxious. ”
Women experience shame and men experience pressure
Aldis says that people come into sex counseling with all kinds of ideas about how they should behave in connection with sex. Upbringing has often shaped these ideas, and then societal norms have further strengthened them.
“Some women experience shame in being sexual beings, being told that they should not touch or be interested in masturbation or sex. “Some boys experience pressure based on the idea that sex is about their performance and that they should always have sex.”
It’s time to dump her and move on. It does not work for everyone but it is important to dare to talk about sex and what turns you on.
It is important not to spread the disease of queerness
Now that you say that gay people look to you more than heterosexual people, what do you think is the reason for that?
“I have always tried to convey that all groups are welcome to me. Gay people like to look for professionals who have knowledge of gay people’s issues. ”
Even if people are dealing with anxiety, depression or low self-esteem, it is good to be able to discuss queerness and be accepted exactly as you are. The most important thing is not to diagnose queerness or to explain all other problems based on queerness.
Aldis says that she is always adding to her knowledge, even though she thinks she knows a lot when it comes to the reality of gay people. She also talks about her admiration for young people today, saying it fearlessly by saying what they feel and expressing their reality or experience.
“If we want to offer a special welcome to people who are marginalized in society, it is important that this is stated in the description of the service. I have tried to mention that people are welcome regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. I also mention that people in all kinds of relationship forms and BDSM-inclined individuals or couples are welcome. ”
Regardless of people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, couples and individuals are often dealing with similar things, according to Aldis, and therefore she emphasizes that it is important that everyone can seek help regardless of sexual orientation, class or position.
Different sexual desires and breaches of trust
Are people who seek help for sex usually people who are in a relationship?
“Both individuals and couples seek help for sexual problems. Sometimes the problem is different sex drive that affects the couple’s sex life. Breaches of trust or adultery can also lead people into couple and sex counseling. It can also be a problem for individuals, regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not. These include erectile dysfunction, orgasmic problems or pain during sex. Sexual problems can also be present due to trauma. ”
I am also approached by individuals who experience insecurity during sex or in a romantic relationship. Individuals who are continuing to test themselves or consider being in a multi-faceted relationship or want to open up their relationship.
Stress and sexual desire do not go well together
We talk about stress and the effect of stress on women’s sex and sexual desire, but Aldis says that the pace of modern society can lead to a lot of stress in people.
“There are many things that affect women’s sexual desire. Self-esteem, trauma, stress, relationship difficulties, increased stress around childbirth, and illness. In modern society, there is a lot of speed that often comes with a lot of stress. ”
Women who work full time then go home and do unpaid work related to housekeeping, cooking, homework, and then in addition to doing hobbies, friends, and the relationship. Stress and sexual desire do not go well together.
“In times where there is a lot of stress in people’s lives, few people experience the desire to lie down with their love, kiss, enjoy the moment and have sex. Then the system is telling us to be vigilant, prepare for the next day and preferably not stop too long. Over time, the stress gradually begins to diminish sexual desire. ”
Being responsible for his sexual desire says Aldis, is something that people generally need to tame. Realizing that there are things that turn off sex drive but also things that turn it on.
“For many women, relaxation, awareness, reducing demands, and working for a better self-image is a good start. To allow oneself to be a sexual being and create more moments in everyday life that are about enjoying. Creating time and space for sex or masturbation is also important.
Finally, Aldis says that it is healthy for everyone to consider whether the sex they are having is actually the sex they want.
You need to think about these things, what kind of sex you are having and what you want to have and dare to talk about it.