Questions and Answers About Sex Therapy

Sex therapy may seem like a pretty far-out concept to most people, but it can be very helpful to people in committed relationships, and even some folks who aren’t. Many people come across issues of sexual function and dysfunction in their lives, and contrary to popular belief, it is an entirely normal experience. I quoted these questions from about.com, which has much more great information about sex therapy. If you have any other questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me!
Question: What is Sex Therapy?
Answer: Sex therapy is a specialized form of counseling for adults that focuses on sexual issues, most often for individuals in relationships (although you do not need to be in a relationship to seek sex therapy).

Sex therapy is usually solution focused. This means that the sex therapist will try to help you develop a clearly defined issue and the goal of therapy will be to work on that issue and resolve it, or find a way to make whatever problems it causes have less of an impact on your life and sex life. Commonly sex therapy will focus on a sexual dysfunction or major sexual communication problems between partners.

Sex therapy is usually brief, lasting anywhere from a few sessions to more than a dozen sessions.

Sex therapy is usually directive. Sex therapists will be be active, asking questions and often giving direct suggestions, homework exercises, and information in an effort to support your goals for the therapy.

As a term and practice, sex therapy is not federally regulated, which means that anyone can call themselves a sex therapist. There are several organizations that offer certification for sex therapists, and while it is no guarantee that you will have a positive experience with them, it is recommended that you see a sex therapy who has been certified by a reputable organization. In the United States both the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists and the American Board of Sexology certify sex therapists.

Question: Who Goes to Sex Therapy?
Answer: People of all ages, sexual orientations, genders, religions, and ethnicities may choose to seek the help of sex therapists. Sex therapy is appropriate for:
  • Individuals wanting to deal with sexual identity issues
  • Couples wanting to increase sexual intimacy
  • People who want to deal with sexual inhibitions
  • People who are dissatisfied with their sexual functioning
  • Couples wanting to increase their communication about sexuality
There is no one “type” of person who goes to sex therapy and there are many more reasons to see a sex therapist than those mentioned above. If you think you might benefit from seeing a sex therapist you can try and ask your doctor for a referral and whether or not they think a sex therapist would be an appropriate person to see. But keep in mind that physicians do not receive very much training in sexuality, and may not be the best way to get a referral. Both the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists and the American Board of Sexology maintain referral lists of certified sex therapists.
Question: Why go to Sex Therapy?
Answer: Generally a sex therapist should be chosen over a general psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other helping professional, when the issues are very specifically sex related, or when sexuality seems like a central part of the issue. Some examples of issues that bring people to sex therapy are:
  • Sexual trauma
  • Lack of orgasm
  • Difficulties with erections or ejaculation
  • Problems with differing levels of desire in a couple
  • Difficulties resulting from infidelities
  • Sexual concerns as a result of illness or surgery

This list is not exhaustive, and if you think you are interested in talking with a sex therapist, most will spend at least a short time on the phone with you to determine whether or not they are the appropriate person to be meeting with.

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