Thinking of trying sex therapy but not sure if it’s right for you? The truth is, sex therapy can help no matter what your concern – and it shouldn’t be seen as taboo or scary. As with any other health problem, there are professionals who are ready to listen to your concerns and help you overcome them.
Wondering if sex therapy could help your relationship? Maybe your confidence level has dropped or your best vibrator just doesn’t cut it anymore? Whatever your concern, sex therapy is here for you.
âFor some people, sex is a source of great anxiety and worry,â says Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert with the sexual wellness brand. Love honey.
âSex therapy is an integrative approach to treating and eliminating the underlying challenges. These problems can be physical, such as poor circulation. They can also be psychological issues, such as anxiety, stress, and confidence issues.
What is sex therapy and what kind of sexual problems does it help?
âSex therapy is a type of talk therapy,â says Annabelle. “It is designed to help individuals and couples manage medical, psychological, personal or interpersonal factors that impact sexual satisfaction.”
While it might not be a magic bullet, it is certainly a great place to start. âThe goal of sex therapy is to help people overcome physical and emotional challenges to have a fulfilling relationship and enjoyable sex life,â says Annabelle.
And it can help many sexual issues. âSexual dysfunction is common,â says Annabelle. “In fact, four in 10 women and almost a third of men report having experienced some type of sexual dysfunction in their lifetime.” These malfunctions can include:
- Loss of libido
- Lack of interest
- Premature ejaculation
- Low confidence
- Lack of response to sexual stimulus
- Inability to reach orgasm
- Excessive libido
- Inability to control sexual behavior
- Painful sexual thoughts
- Unwanted sexual fetishes
How does sex therapy work?
Thinking about sex therapy, but not sure what happens during a session? It’s actually quite simple. âSex therapy is like any type of psychotherapy. You treat the disease by talking about your experiences, concerns and feelings, âsays Annabelle.
âTogether with your sex therapist, you then develop coping mechanisms to help improve your responses in the future so that you can have a healthier sex life.
âOn your first dates, your therapist will talk either with you alone or with you and your partner together. The therapist is there to guide you and help you overcome your current challenge.
And they will never judge you. âThey’re not there to side with one person or to help persuade anyone,â Annabelle says.
âWith each session, your therapist will continue to push you towards better management and acceptance of your concerns that may lead to sexual dysfunction. All talk therapy, including sex therapy, is both a supportive and an educational environment.
âIt aims to bring comfort and encouragement to change. You will likely leave your therapist’s office with homework and work to do before your next appointment.
Your therapist may also refer you to a doctor if he suspects that you have physical sexual problems.
What exercises are used during sex therapy?
The exercises for sex therapy vary depending on who you see. They can include, says Annabelle:
- Establish mutual accountability between partners to address sexual needs and concerns.
- Provide information and education on sexual function and sexual activity.
- Be prepared to change attitudes towards sex.
- Get rid of anxiety about sexual performance.
- Help couples improve communication around sex and sexual techniques.
- Reduce problematic behaviors and gender roles in the relationship.
- Give homework to help couples improve their sexual relationship.
Is Sex Therapy Embarrassing?
First of all, you don’t have to undress! âThe sex therapist will not have sex with anyone or show anyone how to have sex,â says Annabelle.
While it’s natural to feel embarrassed when talking to a stranger about sex, it shouldn’t last.
âThe stigma that sex therapy is embarrassing exists, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting the help you need,â says Annabelle. âFirst, sex is very personal, private and intimate, so it seems strange to even speak with a psychotherapist who specializes in sex. “
And, if you are embarrassed, remember that sex therapy will be beneficial in the long run. âThe benefits of sex therapy far outweigh any initial embarrassment you might fear,â says Annabelle. âGetting help for yourself, your relationship, and your ability to enjoy sex can have a positive impact on your life and relationships. “
Does a sex therapist touch you?
âSex therapists talk to their patients to help them cope with their sexual problems and improve their sex life. But some patients need more than talk therapy. They need to practice in the bedroom and have no spouse or partner to turn to, âsays Annabelle.
âFor these patients, some sex therapists turn to surrogate partners – people who help patients with intimacy issues using a hands-on approach. This can include having sex with the patient.
It may sound shocking, but it can help. âAlthough the use of surrogate partners is rare in patients of both sexes, they are increasingly used by women whose physical or mental health problems prevent them from leading a healthy sex life, according to experts. In the past, such therapy was used almost exclusively by men, âadds Annabelle.
Can you take sex therapy alone?
Partner refusing to see a sex therapist? It is very good. âYou don’t have to bring your partner with you to sex therapy. For some people, solo sex therapy is enough to address concerns. For others, having both people present during therapy can help improve satisfaction and build a stronger bond, âsays Annabelle.
âTalk to your partner about your choice of starting therapy. If you want them to participate, ask.
How to find a sex therapist and what to look for?
Want to see a sex therapist? âA certified sex therapist can be a psychiatrist, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, or licensed clinical social worker,â says Annabelle. “These mental health experts undergo extensive additional training in human sexuality in order to be accredited as a certified sex therapist.”
Seeing your doctor can be a great first step as they will have sex therapists they like.
And, if you find that you aren’t connecting with your therapist, don’t hesitate to go elsewhere. âTherapists are unique,â ââsays Annabelle. âThe success of therapy depends in large part on how you communicate with your therapist and how much you trust him and his advice to help you overcome your problems. If you don’t feel comfortable with a sex therapist at any point, look for another.