Contrary to what is depicted in the popular media, sex therapy is not limited to improving our performance in the bedroom.
Like other forms of counseling, sex therapy involves having conversations with a trained professional – in this case, about the anxieties and barriers that get in the way of intimacy and pleasure. Sex therapists help couples, polycules and individual clients explore the range of identities and experiences that have led to their current relationship with sex. For many people, this involves unpacking experiences of trauma, building confidence around their gender and sexual identity, and learning how to communicate their desires with a partner.
In this episode of Embodied, host Anita Rao talks with three sex therapists about the structure of a sex therapy session, their distinct approaches to practice, and the various aspects of identity that shape our attitudes towards sex and sex. sexuality. Dr. Lauren Walker, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Calgary, walks us through the basics of sex therapy and the emotional components that influence how we view sex.
Maryland-based sex and relationship therapist Dr. Donna Oriowo explains the connection between sexuality and race and discusses some of the ways sex therapists can be more sensitive to the needs and experiences of black women in particular.
Zoë Kors, consultant for sexual wellness app Coral, discusses how technology can make sex therapy and education accessible to everyone.
Thanks to Machel Hunt, Christina Mathieson, Krista Nabar and Dani Strauss for also lending their own thoughts and expertise to this episode.
real sex therapy (Debunked by the episode’s sex therapists)
Q1: Will my sex therapist use physical touch to demonstrate intimacy?
Dr Krista Nabar: “Sex therapy is talking therapy. It turns out that sex therapists know more about sex than other therapists and are more comfortable talking about it.
Q2: Does our sexuality derive solely from sexual intercourse?
Dr. Lauren Walker: “I like to think of sexuality as a way of conceptualizing ourselves or seeing ourselves, even if we don’t directly engage in sexual activities, we can still think of ourselves as a sexual person. … You may find that you dance, or listening to music, or creating art, or exercising, even in a way where you feel empowered and empowered in your body, and you can still feel sexy, and you can feel sexual, so I like to think of sexuality as a much broader phenomenon than just the kind of activities people engage in with their genitals.
Q3: Doesn’t sex therapy just cover sex?
Dr Donna Oriowo: “White supremacy, patriarchal society and its capitalism – and all that goes with it – often follows us into the bedroom. He follows us with his ideas of who we are, what kind of pleasure we are allowed to access, and who we are allowed to share that access with… I have [my clients] kind of redefining and expanding their own definition of what it means to be sexy, so that they’re actually included in sexy – not sexualized the way they’ve already been sexualized, by really white supremacist heteronormativity.