What Is Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy is a type of psychotherapy that couples undergo together or that individuals can seek out on their own. Often couples look into sex therapy because of sexual dysfunction or when some part of their sexual relationship is off. They can also use it to keep relationships robust and transparent for years.
It is typically a form of talk therapy, so couples or individuals can expect to talk about their hesitations or concerns regarding physical intimacy.
Types of Sex Therapy-
Talk therapy is the primary method of sex therapy. Couples can expect to work on their general communication skills, explain the points of sensitivity that they’ve discovered regarding sex in the past, and even expand on their knowledge of sex education.
In one study, therapists reporting on their caseloads said those desire discrepancies (a condition where one partner’s sexual desire is high or lower than that of other partners) were the most common issues between couples. This means that one partner wants to have sex more or less often than the other. This can often stem from emotional concerns and even high-stress levels, which can address during talk therapy.
Sensate focus is a behavioral form of sex therapy that hones in on the details of a couple’s relationship, and then they are asked to complete behavioral exercises. This can involve homework assignments that prompt couples to focus on physical interactions that they enjoy without the pressure of penetrative sex.
This therapy typically asks couples to take any sexual acts that might be causing anxiety off the table for some time. The goal is to enhance how the couple experiences intimacy and help them build on that by working through any pre-existing issues.
Many therapists will combine these types of therapy or work in aspects of both during different sessions.
What Sex Therapy Can Help With-
Sex therapy can help you work through any mental or emotional hurdles preventing you from enjoying sex with your partner. It can also help couples or individuals; identify physical and emotional concerns that are keeping them from being able to enjoy or engage in intercourse.
As mentioned, this can include helping couples through desire discrepancies, but it can also help with sexual dysfunction. Dysfunctions include pain during sex, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, arousal disorders, or desire disorders. Desire and arousal disorders are often tied to underlying psychological concerns, which can be helpful when you mention them with your therapist.
While many drug companies offer options to help men deal with sexual dysfunctions, studies have shown that many of the root causes of these dysfunctions stem from psychosocial behaviours like substance abuse or depression and anxiety. Sex therapy can help couples or individuals identify underlying behaviours that may impact their sex lives.
Benefits of Sex Therapy-
Sex therapy can help with many relationship issues; however, it can also positively impact the overall mental outlook of those being treated. Here are some benefits that can come from sex therapy:
- It can improve emotional intimacy between the couple, leading to an improved sense of fulfilment and happiness.
- Having sex at least once a week can improve overall relationship satisfaction.
- It can help couples become better communicators, especially regarding intimacy and satisfaction.
What to expect in sex therapy-
Sex therapy is talk therapy that focuses on your sexuality and how it influences your relationships and mental health. People usually seek this type of therapy to discuss gender identity, sexual expression, intimate relationships, body image, romantic and erotic relationships, kinks and fetishes, and sexual disorders.
Sessions can be attended alone or with a partner, in person or online. Sex therapy never involves nudity or physical contact with the sex therapist; however, they will suggest hands-on activities you can complete at home, alone or with a trusted partner. Sex therapy helps couples talk about sex with each other. A sex therapist feels comfortable talking about sex. While nothing is off-limits and taboo to talk about, most people have trouble bringing up anything regarding sex.
Couples don’t have an erotic language to describe their wishes. Women don’t talk to their girlfriends about how they renew their sexual desire. Men don’t ask their guy friends how to bring a woman to orgasm (certainly not!). Most doctors don’t have even one day of sex therapy training in medical school, even gynecologists’ and urologists. Physicians are good at talking about how the body works but are limited by their experience solving sex problems.
A word from my personal experience-
When a couple comes into my office, I first want to know what is hurting them. I use the forms (you can see them on my site and use them to start a discussion with each other) they fill out to compare with what they’ve told me. Next, I offer separate interviews with each partner. You’ll be asked about your sexual/relational history sometimes in the private discussion, as well as questions about your childhood, your parent’s marriage, and what they taught you directly and indirectly about sex.
We started the work, and I could see the road map for solving the problems. Eventually, after both parties feel deeply understood and supported—whether they want more frequency or more emotional connection first—I might assign touching homework.
It’s one of those jobs people are always curious jobs. We secretly wonder what they do with their patients and their partners. The answers are less racy than many of us imagine.
Put simply. A sex therapist helps individuals and couples overcome their sexual problems, whether physical or psychological. Clients range from women with a negative body image to men with performance anxiety. They can even include rape victims, pedophiles’, and clergy members.
Sex therapy bitter truth –
The ‘cures’ sex therapists offer to vary greatly, but each has one thing in common – it is never hands-on, not for the practitioner anyway. Typically, they ask many detailed and personal questions over 50-minute sessions. At the end of each, clients go away with a practical exercise to do in the privacy of their own homes.
Talks that sex therapists frequently give for better sex life-
- There may be a medical reason for sexual issues
- Communication is the key to a healthy sex life
- It’s OK to be sexually attracted to other people
- You should feel like your therapist is a good fit
- You shouldn’t judge your mate’s preferences
- Never let problems fester
- You should mix it up fun and spiciness to get out of a mess
- You won’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable
- Scheduling sex isn’t a bad idea
- Therapy doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed
Sex therapy gets to the root of the problem. Couples often can’t solve these intimate issues alone because disappointment, hurt, anger, resentment, accusations, inhibition, and several rounds of fighting might have shut down the very needed discussion.
Research shows that most people who could have easily solved their problems wait six years before seeking help! Anxiety is the only reason people don’t pick up and call for help. Fear of confronting the problem and discovering they are incompatible is so powerful that they delay and delay, feeling more hopeless every day. But most often, couples in sex therapy find a way to feel more pleasure and joy.