What exactly happens during sex therapy and why might I go see a sex therapist?
Sex therapy is a specialized type of psychotherapy that addresses sexual concerns within the bounds of confidentiality. In other words, it is talk therapy that takes place in a therapy office with a clinician and the client(s). Occasionally, there may be other health professionals involved in the therapeutic treatment (only with a client's permission) such as a physical therapist, gynecologist, urologist or a psychiatrist.
Sex therapy can look different depending on the type of concern being addressed. Sex therapy can occur both individually and in the context of couple's therapy. Much of sex therapy is rooted in cognitive-behavioral interventions; sometimes it may be emotionally-focused or include psycho-education. Homework assignments are sometimes given to the individual or couple to work on in between sessions. These homework assignments are done privately and typically facilitate experiences for clients to gain awareness about themselves that will be helpful in addressing their treatment goals.
Sex therapy is a directive yet compassionate process for clients to share their intimate concerns and work toward improving their sexual health and sexual experiences, creating a more meaningful and satisfying relationship with themselves and/or their partners.
Consider making an appointment with a sex therapist if any of these thoughts are on your mind:
1. Sex does not feel pleasurable for me or sex is painful for me.
Maybe sex has never felt pleasurable. Perhaps sex was pleasurable at one point in time and it no longer feels good. Sex hurts and is painful.
2. I have never felt "comfortable" during sex.
My mind is always somewhere else during sex. Sex makes me nervous and I avoid having sex or talking about it because it is tough for me. I worry about sex often.
3. I have never had an orgasm before. What's wrong with me?
How do I get myself to climax? Sometimes sex feels good but it is never crazy good. I wish my body would work like the way I see in movies.
4. My partner wants sex all the time and I'm just not interested. Am I normal?
I have no sexual desire. I feel like I haven't wanted sex in a long time and it is affecting my relationship because it always feels like I am the one holding us back.
5. I can never last long enough during sex and it frustrates me.
Sometimes my partners seem disappointed when I finish too quickly. I feel worried that I cannot satisfy them and it is frustrating. I want to last longer, but I don't know how.
If any of these thoughts are present for you, I encourage you to consider sex therapy as an option.