What Sex Therapy Looks Like

30 June 2022 | Author: Caroline D'Souza

Sex is often a topic which is often avoided, particularly when one is experiencing sexual difficulties or frustration. As such, it can seem counterintuitive to speak to a stranger about personal and intimate details involving your relationship or sex life. However, sex therapy can provide an open, non-judgemental, compassionate and knowledgeable space for individuals or couples to seek help.

Sex therapy is a type of counselling or psychotherapy which has a focus on sexual dysfunction, relationship difficulties, and/or sexual health. Here are some reasons why someone may require or want sex therapy, what sex therapy may involve, and common misconceptions about sex therapy.

There are various reasons people may seek out sex therapy or be referred to a sex therapist. While it may initially seem daunting and uniquely embarrassing to see a sex therapist, the amount of people who suffer from the following concerns is larger than most people believe.

One could seek out sex therapy if they have concerns with some of the following issues:
-Male or female sexual disorder or dysfunction (diagnosed or suspected)
-Relationship difficulties including lack of and/or complications with intimacy
-Trust issues or relationship trauma
-Poor self-esteem or discontent with body image
-Fear, anxiety, or discontent surrounding sex
-Abnormally high or low levels of arousal

Once you have booked in to see a sex therapist, you may feel anxious about what the therapy may actually involve. The format of sex therapy is not dissimilar to typical 'talk therapy' or counselling. This may involve:
-Explanation of the physical, sexual, and emotional symptoms
-Exploration of the possible factors through psychotherapy
-Relaxation and mindfulness exercises
-Couples therapy to examine relationship difficulties
-Strategies for improved intimate relationships
-Holistic care with referrals to physiotherapists, doctors, men's or women's health specialists

You may have seen unrealistic representations of sex therapy in the media. Here are some common misconceptions about sex therapy and the reality of seeing a licensed sex therapist.

Sex therapy is only for people with really bad problems

Issues with sexual health or intimate relationships are much more common than most people think. Sex therapy can suit anyone who is experiencing discontent or distress with their sexual activity.

Sex therapy will be embarrassing and uncomfortable

Sex therapists are trained experts who adopt a non-judgemental, compassionate and open perspective when considering your situation. Clients should never be forced to do any exercise they feel emotionally or physically unsafe doing. A sex therapist should never physically, sexually, or inappropriately touch a client.

Sex therapy signals the end of a relationship

Sex therapy can be a tool to help relationships, including making great relationships better! It can provide an opportunity for someone to learn about themselves or their relationship without meaning they are doomed to end.

Any readers who may be considering engaging in sex therapy and would like to enquire more or be referred to a psychologist, remember to speak to your GP.