What Is Sex Therapy?
Have you started to notice some differences in the bedroom? Maybe you've always had a little bit of trouble, or maybe it only started recently. Maybe it's physical or maybe it's psychological. No matter what’s going on, you can get help from a sex therapy professional who is ready and willing to work with you to overcome your situation while helping you work through questions like "what is asexual orientation?" and "what is sexuality?" Whatever you may have heard, couples sex therapy, even online therapy for sex, and sex psychology is a very legitimate field of work, and it's one where you can get the professional and discreet help that you're looking for.
What Is It?
Sex therapy has long had a negative rap because it's considered something inappropriate or untoward, but that's not the case at all. In fact, sex therapy is very legitimate and very professional, without any of the less-than-professional aspects that you may have heard about (both individual therapy or with a family therapist). It's all about discussing the sexual problems and negative sexual encounters that you or you and your partner may be experiencing, and working toward a resolution. When searching for a "sexual therapist near me", a therapist will work with you to talk about what's going on in your life and trying to find the cause behind the problems that you are facing, such as performance anxiety.
There is a great deal to understand about human sexuality in anyone. For some, it's very easy to express themselves sexually, and their sexuality is pretty straightforward. For others, it's very difficult to do so and they have many sexual concerns and sexual challenges. This could be the result of a physical sexual problem, or it could be the result of something psychological. It's possible that thoughts or beliefs about sex while growing up could alter the way someone thinks and feels about it even as they grow into adulthood. A specific situation in adulthood also could change the way that someone thinks or feels about sex and their own sexuality to lead to a healthy sex life.
What Is Addressed?
In this type of therapy, just about anything related to sex can be addressed, and there is no physical contact between you and your therapist. For example, you may want to talk about sexual functions, feelings, unwanted sexual fetishes, or intimacy. All of these are completely appropriate to this type of therapy and could be discussed individually or in a couple’s session. It also isn’t just confined to traditional relationships; sex therapy uses a variety of approaches that can work for any sexual relationship type. Understanding and coming to accept and thrive in your sexuality, no matter what that may look like for you, is important to your overall wellbeing. Being able to enjoy your life with a partner is going to help you feel better about yourself and the other aspects of your life, especially through mindfulness based sex therapy.
Some people experience concern about their sexual orientation or their sexual desire and sexual behavior. Some may have compulsive behaviors related to sex, or may just act impulsively. Some may have erectile dysfunction concerns or sexual dysfunctions in general or pain during intercourse. There may also be intimacy issues related to physical or psychological issues. Some may have very low libido, or could be asexual when they think about their sexual behaviors. Any of these kinds of situations can be addressed with a certified sex therapist, and they can all be done in a highly organized way. There is really no “normal” way to be sexual or have sexual function, and with sex therapy sessions, you can learn more about your normal way.
For many people, however, sex is simply not something that is talked about, and it might be difficult to discuss with one partner let alone a stranger who is not part of your relationship. It's only by talking about sex and everything associated with it, however, that you will be able to start working toward changes and improvements for your life. If you're willing and able to start pushing your boundaries, you will be able to change the way that you feel about yourself and your partner, as well as how you and your partner (or future partner) feel about you.
Difficulty Of Sex Therapy
Many people have difficulty understanding how sex therapy can help them. They may have difficulty even coming to terms with the idea of going to a sex therapy session. Because of the way it's often portrayed in movies and the jokes made about it in other areas, many have a hard time thinking of this therapy the way it's supposed to be. It's all about teaching you how to be more open and more comfortable with sex and helping you to overcome any physical or psychological blocks you may have in regard to sex.
Some of the common ways that you will work on sexual problems are through communication with a partner, focusing more on your experiences with your partner, watching educational videos or changing the methods by which you interact with your partner, and many others. Each of these methods will involve you alone or you with your current partner. There is no physical contact between you and a sex therapist, which is how the level of professionalism is maintained.
It can be difficult to be open and honest about sex and especially about any problems that you might have in regard to sex. It can also be difficult to talk about sex in general, especially if you have lived in a household where talk of sex was considered taboo. If you find the right therapist, however, they should be able to make you feel more comfortable and more at ease talking about this extremely personal issue. They should be able to help you express yourself, in whatever way works best for you.
Is There Something Else?
For some, sexual problems or intimacy difficulties can be a symptom of something else that's going on. If you have anxiety or depression, you might experience sexual problems as a side effect of them. In these instances, you may need to focus more on the overall situation that you're experiencing rather than the depression or anxiety, and the sexual problems may start to relieve themselves in some fashion. Being in an educational environment, and getting to talk about sex education as well as emotional health in a therapist's office can be beneficial to both physical and emotional health. Even still, you may want to work on what you're experiencing at the same time so you can start to overcome both the main part of the problem and the side effects together to overcome sexual difficulties and reach a fulfilling sex life.
If you’re experiencing persistent sexual health concerns, you may want to talk with a professional about anything that's going on in your life to find out more about what might be happening in a therapist's office. If you are experiencing other problems in your life and in regard to your mental health, you'll want to treat those situations as well and start working toward better understanding and improving your mental health. Whether sex therapy is the only type of therapy that you're looking for or part of a larger problem, you can find exactly what you need and start working your way toward the physical and emotional life you want. Seeing a medical doctor, clinical social worker, and getting a physical exam in addition to talking about sex in therapy can be beneficial not just one partner, but both partners.
Finding A Therapist
When it comes down to it, you need to find a therapist whom you can trust and feel comfortable with. That starts with finding someone who has the training and experience to be a good therapist. Keep in mind that this is a general title, however, and you'll also want to look at the specific training that they have received to find out what qualifies them as a sex therapist. You want to know that they have a good understanding of what they're talking about.
When you've checked all of their credentials, and you know that you're working with someone who knows what they're doing, you want also to find out how you feel around them. If you're not comfortable talking to them and opening up to them, you're not going to be able to get anywhere with your therapy. Make sure the person you choose is one that you can talk with about anything, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem. It’s ok and completely normal to not jive with the first therapist you try – that’s what helps us figure out the sort of help that we do or don’t need!
Once you know all of the things you're looking for, you need to know where to look, and one of the best places for you to look is BetterHelp. You'll find thousands of great therapists there, each with a plethora of training and experience, and most with multiple different types of certifications and backgrounds so as to better treat all manner of conditions in a well-rounded and multi-faceted fashion.
Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy. In regards to sex therapy in particular, one found that internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was quite effective in restoring sexual functioning, desire, drive, and positive body image for women with female sexual dysfunction spurred by breast cancer. Online CBT therapy has also been found to be very effective in helping those with anxiety, including sexual anxiety.
BetterHelp is available to you anytime, anywhere - you can sit in your favorite chair or get comfortable on your couch while you have your sessions. Sessions are fully customizable, and can be held via phone call, video chat, live voice recording, instant messaging or texting, or any combination thereof. A quick questionnaire will help us match you up with a therapist with the credentials and experience to suit your needs. You can start chatting with them right away to determine if you’re a good fit for one another before even having a session, and can then either start scheduling sessions or choose a new therapist if you don’t feel as though they’re right for you. Continue reading below to find reviews of some of our board-certified therapists from people seeking help with similar issues.
“I am a gay man. I was matched with Paulette to work on intimacy issues in my relationships due to religious trauma and indoctrination that gave me warped ideas and shame associated with my sexuality, which had rendered me unable to have successful relationships with other men. Paulette was an attentive listener, but also swift and no-nonsense in identifying irrationality in my ideas or beliefs. She challenged me to be critical of my negative thought patterns, and replace these thoughts with rational thoughts grounded in truth. She gave ample techniques and tools for me to utilize and guide me through the difficult process of change for the better. Paulette’s strengths are her ability to ask good questions, to listen to understand rather than respond, ability to bring irrationality to light, and her injection of humor in our conversations. I’ll keep what Paulette taught me forever.”
“Sandy was really great and helped me unlock the things I needed surrounding my relationship and dating patterns. In the period of time she was a great sounding board and also helped give me the thinking tools I needed to move forward in a better path. I definitely recommend Sandy and her open and direct approach –she was wonderful!”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do therapists focus on?
Certified sex therapists focus on helping both individuals and couple express their sexual issues, work through sexual dysfunction, performance anxiety, communication skills, sexual satisfaction, sex addiction, and other sexual concerns and sexual difficulties.
What do you talk about?
The goal of sex therapy is to help improve your sex life through sex education. Sex therapy sessions are similar to marriage and family therapy and couples therapy sessions in that they can involve one or multiple individuals leveraging talk therapy to work through issues; however, sex therapy specialization and sex therapy techniques involve discussing one person’s or multiple people’s sex lives. This can involve a couple sitting face to face from each other in a therapist’s office discussing their physical and emotional experiences relating to their sex lives, health problems interfering with one’s sex life, or can be one individual discussing personal inquiries such as gender identity and sexual wellbeing or sexually transmitted diseases.
What are some techniques therapists use?
There are a number of techniques that sex therapists use during sessions to assist their clients but common therapy approaches include mindfulness practices, couples therapy, sex education, psychodynamic therapy, psychoeducation around sexual health, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Sensate focus is another technique commonly used in sex therapy that is used to improve intimacy between partners. No one method is proven the tried and true method as sexually experiences differ for every individual and every individual's different sexual issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can I expect from sex therapy?
Sex therapy is meant to help improve your sex life. Speaking to a therapist or sex therapists in sex therapy can help you understand your sexuality and improve your health. They use various forms of talk therapy to help people open up and feel comfortable talking about sexual concerns, such as premature ejaculation, intimacy, desire, low libido, dysfunction, and addiction.
Depending on the type of sexual concerns and issues you have, in a relationship, multiple relationships, with a partner, or currently single, sex therapists can help you work through the anxiety and past traumas that may be the cause of sexual dysfunction, including the effects of prostate cancer, or other issues hindering your sexual experiences.
What does a sexologist do?
Sexologists study the sexual behavior of people and often provide clinical support. They are clinical social workers with special education in human sexuality. They help individuals and couples work through sexual issues, sexual dysfunction, sex addiction, and other concerns pertaining to this topic.
What's the meaning of sex therapist?
Certified sex therapists help individuals and couples express their sexual issues, work through sexual dysfunction, and better fulfill their own and each other’s sexual needs. They are certified mental health professionals like a therapist or therapists in the field of social work who has attained a specific certification in sexuality studies, sexology, or therapy sex.
A sex therapist can offer medical advice diagnosis for issues you may be experiencing and can suggest a treatment plan.
Is it OK to have sex every day?
It is perfectly okay to have sex as often or as little as you want. For individuals and couples, the only time it’s not okay is when either you or your sexual partner doesn’t want to. Also, if having or needing it every day is negatively impacting other areas of your life, this may pose problems for your overall wellbeing; for instance, you are struggling to focus on everyday tasks at work and get fired because you are prioritizing sexual activity. This is usually referred to as sex addiction.
Finding a balance between your sexual desire and having a full and productive life outside of them is important. These therapists can help you find this balance if you are struggling with this kind of addiction and might suggest a treatment plan for your sexual activity in a supportive and educational environment.
What should you do after sex?
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to urinate shortly after sex. It is also advised to clean your genital area–just a quick rinse with warm water only. Hydrating is a good idea, and drinking a glass of water will help flush out any bacteria that could potentially cause infections. According to many sexual health experts, douching is harmful to the good bacteria for specifically for women or individuals with a vulva, therefore douching after is not advisable for women's sexual health. Additionally, peeing after sexual activity is a key aspect of women's sexual health to avoid UTIs and other bacterial infections.