When you hear sex therapy, what comes to mind? Did you know that such a thing existed outside of movies? Unlike other types of therapies, such as family therapy, sex therapy is not often discussed, but it’s definitely legitimate and can benefit many people who are struggling with various sexual disorders. Here’s what you need to know about sex therapy.
What Is Sex Therapy?
The concept of sex therapy is pretty simple; it’s talk therapy that is specifically focused on helping individuals and couples address factors that impact sexual satisfaction with the goal of improving one’s sex life.
A sex therapist will generally ask you questions centered around your sex life. However, they may also ask about your medical history and other aspects of your life to better understand the problem.
What Impacts Satisfaction During Sex?
Sexual pleasure and enjoyment can be affected by many different factors and can present itself in many different ways, including:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Inability to reach orgasm
- Low libido
- Lack of interest in sexual activity
- Premature ejaculation
- Distressing sexual thoughts
- And many more
There are many things, both psychological and physical, that can impact sexual performance. The job of the sex therapist is to identify the problem and offer solutions.
Sex as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
Sex has only recently gained attention as an essential part of the public discussion on overall wellbeing. Wanting a fulfilling sex life is both natural and healthy as intimacy, both emotional and physical, are part of one’s general wellbeing.
Unfortunately, sexual dysfunction can disrupt one’s sex life. Once this one aspect is disrupted, the stress, anxiety, and unfulfilled need can affect other parts of life, including your relationship with your partner as well as work and family.
How Does Sex Therapy Work?
Like most talk therapy, sex therapy works by talking through your feelings, experiences, and concerns to identify problems and build solutions.
The therapist will help identify the root of the problem, and together, you’ll work through the issue. Keep in mind, however, that this can be a process and will often take several appointments.
Should I Bring My Partner to Sex Therapy?
This is a personal choice. On the one hand, having your partner there for support can be a great way to go into your sessions with confidence. On the other hand, if you are more private, you may want to work the issue out on your own.
If you’re not sure whether bringing your partner is a good idea, ask the therapist before your initial appointment. In some cases, you may show up alone initially and with your partner later, depending on the underlying issue.
If you are going in with a partner, remember that this experience is meant for you to grow together by talking through your problems. The therapist is not going to take sides.
Tell Not Show
Despite what different movies may portray and despite the way it sounds, sex therapy is definitely a tell, not a show, activity. Your therapist will not expect you to take off all your clothes and start demonstrating a sexual technique. In fact, they’d probably prefer that you keep your clothes on and just talk to them about your problem.
Medical vs. Psychological Dysfunctions
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether the problem is psychological or physical. Your therapist will help identify whether or not you have a medical problem, and if you do, may refer you to a medical doctor to find a solution.
How Do I Know If I Need Sex Therapy?
You should consider seeing a sex therapist if:
- You know you have a problem in the bedroom.
- You and your partner are just not connecting the way you used to.
- You’re starting to wonder what hormones increase sex drive in females and males.
- Something feels off on the intimacy front.
- You feel like sexual dysfunction is affecting your quality of life.
- You’re wondering how to boost sex drive.
- You think you need sexual therapy.
If you’re shy about seeing a sex therapist, start by going to a general therapist and voicing your concerns. At that point, your therapist may refer you to someone who specializes in sex therapy or otherwise guide you as needed.
What Does It Take to Be a Sex Therapist?
Sex therapists can be certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), which is the organization that is responsible for the training oversight for sexual health practitioners. Licensed psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, or even clinical social workers are eligible for licensure.
Finding a Sex Therapist
While you can look up local therapists or even type “sex therapy near me” into Google, you may also want to check out the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), for an updated list of practitioners in your area. You can also seek a referral from friends if you are comfortable doing so.
Finding the Right Fit
Therapists are people too, which means that every therapist is unique and has a personalized approach, even if they follow a standard. If you feel like you’re not entirely satisfied with a therapist or feel uncomfortable talking with that particular therapist, you can, and should, look for someone else.
Talking About Sex Therapy With Your Partner
Honesty is usually the best policy. After all, this is someone you love and who loves you. They, too, want you to feel satisfied in the sexual aspect of your relationship.
If you’re not comfortable talking about it with your partner, bring up the issue with your sex therapist during your first session; your therapist will help you work through why you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner and offer solutions.
- Sexual satisfaction is part of your overall wellbeing.
- It is both normal and healthy to want a satisfying sex life.
- Sex therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on working through issues within your sex life.