Wait… What Is Sex Therapy and A Sex Therapist?
Introduction to Sex Therapy
Sex therapy, in simple words, can be described as a therapy that uses words and in-depth talks to help couples and individuals solve personal, interpersonal, psychological, or medical factors that may be having an adverse effect on their sexual satisfaction. The goal is to empower couples to work through their emotional and physical challenges to find a fulfilling sex life. These problems are common, as according to surveys, 31% of men and 43% women report to have experienced at least some sort of sexual dysfunction during their lives.
Your sex life is meant to be truly health, natural, and fulfilling. As humans, having a connection and building intimacy, whether emotional or physical, are vital aspects of our overall well-being and happiness. A sexual dysfunction of any type would understandably cause complications in achieving this though. If that’s the case, sex therapy has proved to be of tremendous help in reframing a person’s mindset in an attempt to ultimately escalate sexual satisfaction.
What is a Sex Therapist?
Sex therapists could be marriage and family therapists, a psychiatrist, a medical social worker, or a psychologist. However, in order to conduct the type of therapy that’s described above, they must be specially trained in sex therapy methodologies to obtain the license. However, expert sex therapists achieve further training beyond these minimal license requirements about sexuality.
These therapists focus particularly on a relationship’s sexual aspect. This area is that intimate and undiscussed zone that’s often hard to openly talk about, but it’s extremely crucial to the strength and health of the relationship. The chief method of treatment used by sex therapists is talking in a structured and designed manner that helps clients expose and explore issues that are the root of their sexual problems. Sex therapists are also keen on teaching couples how to achieve stronger intimacy between each other, and they sometimes do this by suggesting touch exercises for them to try at home. In the United States, sex therapists are licensed by either one of the two existing professional organizations for this department. They address a wide variety of issues, as every couple brings a different story to their table.
Issues with sustaining an erection for an adequate period of time, or having trouble in reaching orgasm are some physical examples. Emotionally though, the clients may experience self-esteem issues, body image consciousness, or a trauma due to someone’s past e.g. abuse. In other cases, general disagreements may occur between a couple as to how frequently they should have sex, or the way in which they should do it.
When Do You Need to Go for Sex Therapy?
The need for sex therapy arises when the root cause of your problem becomes the lack of sexual satisfaction that you’re able to achieve. A failing sex life can have countless amounts of other consequences, as some people may go into depression because of it, some may lose hope in their relationship, while others may become negative in their general approach towards life. While these ‘consequences’ could be addressed by talking to a normal talk therapist, examining the actual root cause of these is essential. Hence, if the quality of your mental health and life in general is strongly affected by a sexual dysfunction in the couple, it’s definitely a good idea to book a sex therapy appointment.
A lack of intimacy poses a serious threat to the underlying bond in a relationship. This is especially true if you can clearly see a downwards graph of such intimacy between you two, and it’s obvious that things are not going to get any better if left untreated. In such a case, where a difficulty in communicating with your partner leads to serious personal concerns, knocking the door of a good sex therapist may be your best bet for turning the tables for the better.
Sex Therapy Top FAQs
Sex therapy isn’t a generally or commonly embraced phenomena in today’s world. While more and more people are turning towards it as they understand they need it in their lives, it’s still not as ‘normal’ as a regular doctor’s visit. Due to this, some questions may arise in a person’s mind before they decide to get sex therapy. We’ve addressed some of these questions below;
1. Is it shameful to see a sex therapist?
Like any other issue in your life, finding a solution is not only okay, but the best thing you can do for yourself and the people that care about your well-being. With this fact established, it’s extremely important to identify concerns in your sex life as real, genuine issues that have a significant impact on your happiness, emotional health, and overall satisfaction. Hence, seeing a sex therapist for concerns related to sexuality is the same as seeing a gynecologist for gynecological problems.
There’s absolutely nothing shameful in that, and you should never shy away from doing anything that brings you happiness. Seeing a sex therapist could never bring you any harm, it only brings the possibilities of improvement. The worst thing that could happen is that it may not be effective for your particular case, that’s all, but even that’s highly improbably. There’s nothing that a sex therapy would actually worsen.
2. As there anything I should be nervous about when going for sex therapy?
Before going into an appointment, individuals often face some fears in their mind relating to what could happen next. These could be sometimes valid, and other times pretty ridiculous too. Some examples are;
I would have to openly disclose my every past sexual escapade to my wife/husband!
What if the therapist suggests a threesome for us to spice our sex life up?
I’ll embarrass myself as I know so little about sex!
What if the therapist judges me or us?
It’s imperative to understand that every sex therapist is specifically trained to maintain a professional, objective, and helpful attitude to their clients. They’re taught to be perfectly respectful to every concern that you’re facing, and understand that you may not know much about sex as a common man. They’re there to help you, not make the situation any worse than it is. As far as the fear of disclosing stuff to your partner is concerned; they’re just as nervous as you. Go in as a team, communicate your feelings, and you’ll be fine.
3. How do I find a sex therapist?
It’s advisable to begin your search with the AASECT (Americal Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). This is one of the two organizations that oversee clinical training for sex health therapists or practitioners. The credentials for these clinical workers are also managed by this organization. Hence, any licensed sex therapist could be found through the AASECT.
Another option is to conduct a simple Google search, or a ‘Psychology Today’ search for finding therapists available in your particular area. You could also call a nearby community education office, or a local hospital to inquire about the availability of such practitioners – they’d be happy to provide you this information.
In many cases, asking your own health insurance company works. Often, you could obtain a detailed list of names and contact information of sex therapists from them. Work through this list until you feel like you’ve found the therapist for you.
Some people like to rely on a more personal recommendation, in which case talking to your urologist, gynecologist, or doctor could help. Many health care providers know and recommend reliable therapists to their regular patients often. Your doctor may also know the needs and style your couple possesses, and they may be able to align you with a matching sex therapist!
A satisfying, enjoyable sex life is crucial to your and your partner’s health for countless reasons. The emotional and physical elements, that are a bi-product of maintaining a healthy sex life, have extensive wide-ranging benefits. These include considerable stress reduction, improved heart health, a healthy and well-balanced blood pressure, and a positive mental attitude. For some people, sex unfortunately becomes a cause of worries, anxiety, and fear. This is caused by sexual dysfunctions, which can lead to a variety of complications in the relationships; such as lack of confidence, a weakening bond between the couple, and other negative effects.
Sex therapy was introduced to cure sexual dysfunctions by way of arranging well-designed and structured talks that go in depth of the underlying sexuality issues. It’s an integrative approach to reduce, treat, and preferably eliminate the challenges that a couple may face. These challenges may be physical and emotional, the examples of which have been discussed above. This type of therapy can also hugely help couples and individuals that are looking for a way to have honest, open, and genuine heart to heart communication with their partners to be able to work through concerns that pose a threat to their healthy, happy sex lives.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé