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Sex Therapy is a form of counseling that's designed to help individuals and those in relationships address sexual issues that are affecting their erotic lives. Issues with sexuality can have a significant impact on an individual's emotional and psychological well being and can be deeply disruptive to intimate relationships.
The goal of sex therapy is to help individuals and people in relationships understand and improve their sexual functioning, communication and intimacy. This type of therapy does NOT include or involve the therapist in sex of any sort. It is a talk based therapy which utilizes a variety of techniques and strategies including education on sex and sexuality, sexual anatomy and physiology, communication skills training and exercises designed to help overcome specific sexual challenges.
Sex Therapy can be beneficial for people experiencing a range of sexual challenges and concerns. Some common issues which may be addressed through sex therapy include:
- Sexual Communication Difficulties: Sexual communication challenges can arise in many different ways, from difficulty expressing sexual desires and needs to difficulty discussing sexual problems or concerns. A sex therapist can provide a judgment free, confidential space where couples/those in relationships can discuss their concerns and communication difficulties without fear, shame or embarrassment.
A sex therapist can teach specific communication skills and strategies which can help with the effective expression of sexual desires and needs. A sex therapist can also help identify barriers to sexual communication such as shame, anxiety or past trauma and help the participants find good strategies to overcome them. Sex therapy can also provide education on sexual anatomy, function and pleasure which can help individuals or couples understand their own bodies, feel more comfortable discussing sex and sexuality and improve the quality of their sexual experiences.
- Sexual Dysfunction: This includes conditions such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, inability to orgasm, painful intercourse and mismatched libidos/levels of sexual desire.
- Sexual Trauma/Sexual Abuse Recovery: Those who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual trauma may benefit from sex therapy as a way to help them process t heir experiences and overcome any resulting sexual challenges.
- Sexual Compulsivity: Those who are struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors may benefit from sex therapy to help create greater understanding, self compassion and mindfulness so the individual can engage in desired sexual relationships free from the compulsive and/or undesired behaviors.
- Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity Concerns: Sex therapy can help individuals explore and understand their sexual orientation and gender identity. A sex therapist can offer guidance and education on the different aspects of sexuality and gender identity including the differences between gender identity, sexual orientation and sex assigned at birth. Sex therapy can help individuals feel more comfortable with t heir sexual orientation and gender identity and can help navigate the challenges that may arise from identifying as LGBTQAI+ in a heteronormative society, including dealing with discrimination, coming out to friends and family and developing a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
- Exploring Monogamy vs. Non-Monogamy (Open Relationships, Polyamory, Swinging etc.): A sex therapist can be a valuable resource for couples who are interested in exploring non-monogamy. A sex therapist can provide education and information on the different types of non-monogamy and help couples understand the benefits and challenges of each type of relationship.
Consultation with a sex therapist can help couples navigate non-monogamy in a healthy, mutually respectful and ultimately fulfilling way, while also helping to ensure the couple's relationship remains strong and stable.