Sex therapy is a specialized type of counseling that helps couples address sexual feelings and intimacy. It can be effective for individuals of any sexual orientation. While some people seek help individually, others can pursue therapy with their sexual partners. Sex therapy is provided by licensed therapists with advanced training in relationship matters.
Sex therapy overview
Sex therapy helps to solve different issues that affect a person’s sexual drive or desire for intimacy. According to specialists from the Harvard Medical School, 30-50% of individuals experience sexual difficulties at some point in their relationship.
Whether you’re single or married, you can pursue therapy to restore sexual health, communicate effectively, gain confidence, or achieve a fulfilling sexual life. In the past, sex therapy was considered deviant. But today, things have changed and couples are looking for more enjoyable sex.
How to select a sex therapist
Since sexual life is a difficult topic, it can be overwhelming to find a therapist you can trust. Sometimes, bringing your inner erotic world into the open requires someone with extensive experience in the field. This brings us to the question, what should you look for?
A certified sex therapist should be accredited by the American Association of Sexuality Educators. In addition to that, he should hold an advanced degree in therapy, counseling, and psychology. It’s worth mentioning that choosing a specific therapist will depend on the situation at hand. Since sex licensure is yet to be standardized, you must select individuals with some training in human sexuality.
A sex therapist should have more than advanced training – he or she should have worked with couples to expand sexual health knowledge. Too often, untrained therapists make an unsound judgment about what it means to have a healthy sexual life. Some will take sides, especially with the person who feels aggrieved in the relationship.
A professional sex therapist should encourage both parties to speak openly about their fantasies and erotic desires. In most cases, individuals are comfortable talking about sex with therapists of the same gender. For transgender or intersex people, you can choose any trained therapist. Besides, individuals should find it more helpful to work with someone who doesn’t criticize their identity, gender, or sexual orientation.
The last thing you want is a therapist with a fixed or rigid idea of how many times you should be having sex. A great therapist will not only focus on sex but also on other issues that affect a relationship. And because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, you should avoid those who only use one method.
After the session, you should come out with an improved mental and emotional state. Avoid therapists that force you to have sex with them. While the sessions can be strictly instructive, they can also involve some exercises. And because sex therapy is about the emotional reflection of both partners, it should address concerns and questions about sex. To be on the safe side, make sure you work with someone who understands your values around sexuality.
One approach you can use to find a sex therapist is to Google search the professionals in your area. Alternatively, you can call your local hospital or education office and they will happily link you to a certified professional. If you want a more personal connection, your gynecologist may be the best person to talk to. You can always get a therapist whose style aligns with yours. Finally, friends can recommend to you someone you can trust.
When should you go for sex therapy?
Although some couples go for sex therapy as a long-term approach, it can also be for short-term needs. If your quality of life is affected by sexual function, you can seek sex counseling. This can be for anyone regardless of their gender, age, or background. Of course, you don’t have to be married to go for therapy. Even adolescents who are concerned about their sex life can seek help.
Since sexual issues can be complicated, you should have a clear idea of all the factors involved. If you’re anxious about the topic, a therapist should put all your concerns at ease. In today’s digital age, there’s a lot of information out there that tells us how to be the best kisser or how to wow him in bed – this doesn’t provide a realistic sexual experience. With all these weighing on us, there could be some red flags that you need to do some work. This is where sex therapy comes in.
Some of the issues that bring couples to sex therapists include premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, inability to orgasm, and more. While we live in a period where sexual confidence is key, most people are not aware of how to navigate a healthy relationship. The truth is that most people experience anxiety in sex but may not be confident enough to reach out for support.
How sex therapy can help
Sex therapy can have a positive impact on the sexual health of individuals and couples. While the effectiveness of the sessions will depend on the willingness of both parties, it’s crucial that you have an open mind. But just like other forms of therapy, the couple must use a collaborative approach to navigate through them. Sex therapy helps to address the following issues:
- Lack of intimacy after having children
- Difficult achieving an organism
- Loss of sexual desire
- Inability to disclose sexual fantasies
- Sexual boredom
- Sex addiction
- Coping with infidelity
- Mismatched libidos
Keep in mind that sex therapy is not only limited to the following issues. As you progress with the session, you can open up to other issues you’d like to work on. Remember, sex intimacy is associated with underlying issues like anxiety, stress, and depression. Still, sexual function can also be affected by the side effects of medication, chronic illness, or surgery.
What are the concerns of sex therapy?
Sex is not only a personal subject but can also be controversial. Depending on religious, political and traditional views, going for sex therapy can be difficult for some individuals. Thankfully, most sex therapists are trained to navigate those difficult situations. However, the effectiveness of the sessions will depend on the motivation the couples get from the therapist. And because the belief system matters, you should choose someone you feel comfortable with. A sex therapist can be part of the primary care you get if your concerns are also about physical health. Sometimes, the nature of the problem will determine the medication to take.
An effective session requires open communication with your sex therapist. If you can’t express yourself, you may want to find someone you’re comfortable with.