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Men, Intimacy, and Eroticism


Barry McCarthy, American University—Psychology, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC 20016, USA. Tel: 202-364-1575; Fax: 202-364-0561; E-mail:


Introduction.  We present a conceptual/clinical article focused on the Good-Enough Sex model of male and couple sexuality. This offers a comprehensive, integrative couple approach to understanding and treating male sexual dysfunction.

Aim.  To examine the couple biopsychosocial approach to assessing and treating male sexual dysfunction. The focus is integrating intimacy and eroticism as the man and the relationship age.

Methods.  The clinical case example examines the role of integrating intimacy and eroticism as the man and the relationship mature. The role of the clinician in helping the man and couple develop positive, realistic sexual expectations is crucial in both the change process and relapse prevention.

Main Outcome Measures.  The clinical assessment of the man and couple focuses specifically on the interplay of desire, erection, intercourse, and orgasm.

Results.  The man and couple valuing each other as intimate, erotic partners, and adopting the Good-Enough Sex model rather than clinging to the pass–fail perfect intercourse performance criterion are crucial for therapeutic success.

Conclusions.  When couples stop being sexual, it is almost always the man's decision—he has lost confidence with arousal, intercourse, and orgasm. Men and couples who adopt the Good-Enough Sex model are well positioned to ensure pleasurable, satisfying sexuality into their 60s, 70s, and 80s. McCarthy B, and Thestrup MA. Men, intimacy, and eroticism. J Sex Med 2009;6:588–594.