Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Sex Therapy but were afraid to ask:
What is a Sex Therapist?
A sex therapist is a seasoned, credentialed professional, with specialized training and education in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and sexual issues. A qualified and skilled sex therapist is a professional specifically trained to provide sound, meaningful, goal directed, solution oriented counseling to participants.
Virtually all sex therapists have extensive education and background in related fields and disciplines, such as psychology, mental health counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, or medicine. As sex therapy is an established field of professional specialization, sex therapists have their own set of guiding principles, code of ethics, professional organizations and journals.
What is Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy is a unique and specialized form of professional counseling designed to help women and men address their concerns about sexuality, sexual function, and sexual expression.
Like any therapeutic experience, sex therapy involves talking, listening, and education. A trained therapist works with the client(s) in a private and confidential setting to clarify concerns and empower them to make changes in their lives. Like any other therapy, it is often crucial to explore when the perceived problem began, under what circumstances the problem manifested and what the factors are that contribute to the maintenance of the problem. It is also of deep importance that the therapist takes time to examine and highlight the strengths and positive attributes of the current relationship. Doing so creates a base for future growth and development.
During therapy, the clinician will provide both basic education about pertinent sexual issues such as anatomy, physical response, and healthy sexual behavior as well as more descriptive and individualized education regarding specific sexual techniques that addresses particular therapeutic issues. Clients can expect these conversations to be explicit, yet thoroughly professional and respectful.
- Sex therapy does not and will never involve any form of sexual or other inappropriate contact between therapist and client.
- Sex therapy does not and will never involve performing any sexual acts in front of a therapist.
- Sex therapists ascertain clients’ needs through talking about them!
Why do people seek Sex Therapy?
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 30% of men and 40% of women experience sexual problems. The most common problems reported by men are premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire, while women commonly report problems with arousal, low sexual desire, inability to orgasm and painful intercourse.
Sex therapy is appropriate for people of any age, gender or sexual orientation, who are experiencing difficulties with issues related to sexuality. Some will seek help as individuals; some will seek help as couples. Clients often seek help initially as individuals and then are joined by their partners in subsequent sessions.
In addition to the concerns noted above, people seek sex therapy when they have tried to impact problems themselves with little or no success. Individuals or couples may come to therapy to:
- improve interpersonal communication regarding sex
- intensify intimacy
- resolve conflicts regarding desire discrepancies
- increase arousal
- heighten enjoyment of sex
- enhance orgasm
- confront inhibitions or anxieties about sexual activity
- express interest in new variations of sexual activities
- learn about medical issues that impact sexual functioning
- identify, heal and resolve issues regarding past sexual trauma.
Resolution of sexual issues can radically and dramatically impact self-esteem. Counseling professionals have long recognized the critical importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Sex therapists highlight the ideal that a healthy and mutually fulfilling sexual bond is a powerful and important component which enables couples in committed intimate relationships to receive the fullest satisfaction and enjoyment from their partnership.