sex talk: Dr Heba Kotb, Egypt’s first licensed sexologist, says complaints among couples here include premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and drug overuse to increase libido Image Credit: SHARMILA DHAL/XPRESS

Dubai: Sex is the backbone of a marriage and couples should not hold back to attain maximum pleasure, a leading sexologist said.

“If it’s not about sex, it’s not about marriage,” said Dr Heba Kotb, Egypt’s first licenced sexologist and an authority on sexual health in the Middle East. She was addressing a media gathering organised by pharma major Pfizer in Dubai last week.

Kotb, who has a PhD in human sexuality from the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists, said: “A lot of married couples want a divorce because they have a poor sex life. Unfortunately, we do not have the exact figures, but common complaints include inability to attain orgasm, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and overdose of drugs to increase libido.”

Courage needed

To improve sexual health, she said couples must be courageous enough to diagnose and admit a dysfunction. “They must free themselves from fear, shame, guilt and other negative psychological factors that inhibit sexual responses. Sometimes, physical diseases and dysfunctions also interfere with sexual functions, so they may have to be addressed as well.”

She said a vast majority of women suffer from unsatisfactory sex lives. “They want sexual fulfillment, but are sometimes unsure about how to express their needs or improve their sex lives. But they must talk about it with their partners and resolve their concerns in a climate of awareness and honesty. If needed, they should seek professional or medical help. There is a lack of family doctors in this part of the world, but things are slowly changing.”

She said couples have many misconceptions about the frequency factor. “They think it is wrong to indulge in frequent sex. There is no restriction as such although it would depend on a number of factors — like health of the female, potency of the male and so on. On an average, if a couple is in good health, sex not less than twice a week is recommended irrespective of age.”

Dr Kotb warned against the indiscriminate use of over-the-counter drugs to deal with erectile dysfunction.

“They have to be indicated in a proper dose and frequency. Research at a Cairo hospital once showed that 68 per cent of males admitted in the ICU were cases of such drug abuse,” she said.

Dr Kotb, who is based in Cairo, claims her views reflect the principles of Islam which encourage a strong marital life, including a healthy sexual relationship between husband and wife.