Sex more than just phys­i­cal: sex­ol­o­gist

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Street Watch - Michele Nu­gent

VIC­TO­RIA PARK HOW sex has been tack­led over the gen­er­a­tions has a bear­ing on how we feel and com­mu­ni­cate about it, ac­cord­ing to Vic­to­ria Park sex­ol­o­gist An­nika Knud­sen.

But noth­ing is surer – while sex is one of the most popular con­ver­sa­tion top­ics for teens and 20-some­things it re­mains largely taboo for those 50 and over. And this re­luc­tance to talk about sex is part of the prob­lem when try­ing to im­prove re­la­tion­ship and sex­u­al­ity is­sues.

“What peo­ple don’t re­alise is that sex af­fects (ev­ery­one) whether we are hav­ing it or not,” the Curtin Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate said.

“Sex is more than the phys­i­cal act. It is an at­ti­tude and aware­ness that we bring into each re­la­tion­ship that we have, sex­ual or non-sex­ual.”

Ms Knud­sen (24) set up her ed­u­ca­tional prac­tice at Lifeskills Australia in Jan­uary and has al­ready no­ticed a trend among her small but grow­ing list of clients.

Many have been ma­ture women ask­ing how they can in­crease the level of in­ti­macy in their sig­nif­i­cant re­la­tion­ship.

“Most have been in a re­la­tion­ship for more than 10 years and their hus­bands don’t re­alise that sex and in­ti­macy are dif­fer­ent,” she said.

“Their hus­bands think that hav­ing sex all the time is be­ing in­ti­mate. But it’s more about touch and con­sid­er­a­tion and hav­ing a good friend­ship. At the start of a re­la­tion­ship it’s lust­ful and phys­i­cal but what lasts is hav­ing that friend­ship.”

An­other trend is women’s li­bido. “Many women think they have no sex drive and that some­thing is wrong with. They don’t re­alise that this can change. Li­bido is not set in stone,” Ms Knud­sen said.

“They are not weird or alone or a prude. Women are like an oven, not a light switch; they have to be warmed up, it’s not like flip­ping a switch. And that’s where in­ti­macy comes in.”

Ms Knud­sen’s in­ter­est in sex­ual ed­u­ca­tion be­gan as a sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent at uni­ver­sity.

“I did one unit of sex­ol­ogy and I was hooked,” she said.

“I knew I would have to come back to it at some stage, it al­ways stayed in the back of my mind. My gen­er­a­tion talks about sex all the time but even peo­ple in their 30s and 40s have a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude. When they were grow­ing up they were told not to talk or think about sex. There’s still a stigma.”

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Pic­ture: David Baylis

An­nika Knud­sen’s in­ter­est in sex­ual ed­u­ca­tion be­gan at uni­ver­sity.

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