Sexual health is one of the most neglected areas of our overall well-being mainly because of the
stigma associated with it. Talking openly about sex or sexual health is still taboo. Even today, people
dealing with sexual problems are hesitant to talk about their struggles. If you are keeping quiet
because of shame, it is time for you to speak up and seek help. One of the best ways to counter your
sexual problems is sex therapy. This type of therapy is specially designed to help clients dealing with
sex and sexuality.
What is sex therapy?
Sex therapy is a type of psychological counseling aimed at helping couples and individuals resolve
sexual difficulties such as relationship issues or performance anxiety. Sex therapy is much like a
regular talk therapy sessions where individuals or couples meet up with their therapist to discuss
sexual problems in a safe and professional environment. Contrary to what some people assume,
there is no physical contact between the therapist and the client. If a therapist tries to sell you that
thought or makes you feel uncomfortable, stop seeking their help and change your therapist.
Depending on the issues, the frequency and the duration of the session may vary for clients. Talking
about sex is awkward for some people, and talking to a stranger about it could be even more
daunting. When a client starts therapy, the first step for the therapist is to make the client feel
comfortable and at ease. Once the client feels a rapport, the next step is to figure out the underlying
issue/s and draft a suitable course of action to overcome the problem/s. The therapist often starts
with a basic talk about the client’s health and sexual background, sexual beliefs, and concerns.
Who needs sex therapy?
Everyone can benefit from sex therapy. Whenever you feel the requirement for professional
intervention, is the right time to seek sex therapy. Other than that, here are some of the common
instances which may require professional help.
- People with performance issues– Performance pressure is a real thing. Whether it is out in
the real world or behind closed doors in your bedroom, we all feel a certain level of
performance pressure in our bedrooms. Sometimes it can affect the sexy times adversely.
For many men, getting and maintaining an erection for a longer time or orgasming too
quickly could be a concern. On the other side, many women struggle reaching orgasm with
sex alone and often lack performance due to their body-image issues. Sex therapy can help
you get through these issues and enjoy sex to its fullest. With regular therapy sessions, you
learn to manage your anxiety and feel more confident about yourself.
- People who are trying to spice up their sex life– Long-term couples can often fall prey to a
sexual rut. When you have been with one partner for a long time, your sex life may become
monotonous and fairly predictable. Sex therapy can help with coming out of that rut and
spice up things for you. The therapist may suggest new techniques, positions, toys, etc., to
add newness and break out of that circle of monotony. Sex therapy is not only for people
with serious issues but also for couples who enjoy their sex life and want to take it to the
next level. When it comes to sex, there is so much to explore, and sex therapy helps you do
- People diagnosed with STDs– Getting diagnosed with an STD may come as a shock to the
affected individual. So much so that they may find it extremely difficult to even register it in
their brain. It is where a sex therapist in California plays a crucial role in telling the client about the
different steps to take hereon. The therapist educates the client about the treatments and
safe sex practices to follow to avoid further transmission. An individual diagnosed with STD
feels vulnerable and finds it difficult to open up about this information to their partner; sex
therapy can help with that immensely.
- People who want to improve sexual communication– Sex is a complex topic to talk about.
Even as a couple, it is difficult to talk to your partner about their needs, likes and dislikes, or
fantasies. The main reason for the lack of sexual communication is worrying about your
partner judging you for your sexual requirements. Sex therapy helps you become
comfortable with your needs and talk about sex more openly with your partner. Your
therapist may help you find your suitable communication style and make it easier to say it all
- People recovering from sexual trauma– It is common for people recovering from sexual
trauma such as rape or physical abuse to get cold feet when it comes to sex or even basic
intimacy. Sex therapy is a boon for people with a traumatic past like this. Without therapy, it
may take years for the victim to get out of that vicious cycle. Past sexual trauma often
inhibits people from developing intimacy with their present partners. But sex therapy can
help overcome the associated fear and make your sexual experiences enjoyable.
- People diagnosed with sexual dysfunction or disorder– Any problem that prevents an
individual or couple from enjoying the sexual activity is marked as sexual dysfunction.
Common sexual dysfunctions in men may include erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve
and maintain an erection), delayed or no ejaculation, inability to control the timing of
ejaculation, lack of sexual desire, painful intercourse, etc. In women, insufficient vaginal
lubrication, inability to become aroused or reach climax, painful sex, etc., are some of the
common sexual dysfunctions. Even one of these issues is enough to seek help from a sex
- People going through a significant life change– Sometimes, life changes unrelated to sex can
disrupt your sex life. Losing a loved one, final exams, professional stress, depression, having
a child, etc., are some of the common but significant changes that could potentially derail
your sex life for a significant duration. Sex therapy in California may not help you resolve these issues,
but it can teach you how to manage them and make room for the lost intimacy.
- If one partner does not want to have sex- Low libido or lack of sexual desire could be the
result of either physical factors, psychological factors, or sometimes even both. Physical
issues such as certain medicines, alcohol and drugs, too much exercise, pregnancy, etc., can
cause reduced sexual desire. Psychological issues may include stress, anxiety, depression or
relationship issues. Sex therapy delves deep to figure out the exact problem and then find a
solution for the same, keeping in mind the needs and desires of the parties.
- If sex has become a common topic of disagreement- No two individuals are the same. Thus,
it is natural to have differences when it comes to sex. People have different preferences,
fantasies and ideologies that may become a topic of disagreement in the bedroom. But, if
you feel there are more disagreements than agreements and the arguments have no
definitive solution, it is time to seek professional help. Sex therapists are qualified to bring
both parties to a resolution without neglecting the priorities of either party.
What to expect from a sex therapy session?
Usually, a therapy session takes place in the therapist’s office. The therapist meets clients for regular
sessions, ideally on a weekly basis or every other week. But this setting can be altered to suit the
requirement of the client. Some people open up better in a familiar environment, such as their own
house, especially when talking about something so private. Sometimes a sex therapist is not
available near your location, or you may not be able to find a therapist you’d like to work with in
your area. For all the above-mentioned situations, therapy over video chat is the perfect option.
Before you start sex therapy, you need to provide your therapist with a thorough background of
your situation. Most therapists have an intake form to fulfil this purpose. This way, the therapist and
the client can start off their first session with full force.
Common topics that come up the most during such sessions may include:
● Your sexual history as a couple and individual history with previous partners, if any
● Sexual values and beliefs
● Communication or the lack of it in the relationship
● Factors affecting your sexual relationship such as sexual dysfunction, trauma, stress,
Your therapist will give you a plan of action explaining the route he will be taking to counteract your
issues. He may also indicate the number of sessions required to resolve the problems, but that may
change depending on how well the client responds to the therapy.
Sex therapy is an action-oriented therapy. It means you and your partner will receive homework in
the form of specific exercises. These exercises make you work through your problems even after the
therapy sessions. In the following session, you talk about the impact of those exercises, and you are
assigned a new set of exercises again.
How can sex therapy improve your relationship?
A healthy sexual relationship is one of the main building blocks of a happy relationship. Couples who
lack a balanced sex life, also find it difficult to strike a balance in their day-to-day life. Sex therapy
helps couples to:
● Understand other person’s perspectives and desires
● Work as a team against the problem
● Talk about feelings freely
● Grow a deeper sexual connection with your partner
● Help eliminate bedroom boredom with exciting exercises
● Deal with performance anxiety
● Improve sexual and emotional communication
● Heal from previous trauma and enjoy the present relationship fully
How to pick the right therapist for yourself?
While searching for a sex therapist, keep in mind that you are going to open up about your most
intimate moments to this person, face to face. It has to be someone you think you can trust
The first thing you may consider could be the gender of your therapist, only if it matters to you. You,
with your partner, can decide if you’ll be more comfortable with a male or a female therapist. Some
of the more important variables to consider are a therapist’s accreditation, degrees, professional
background and attitude toward a client’s gender identity or sexual orientation, especially for LGBTQ
A certified sex therapist could be a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, family and marriage therapist
or a clinical social worker. After undergoing extensive additional training in human sexuality, these
mental health experts can be accredited as certified sex therapists.
A good place to find licensed and certified sex therapists is AASECT (American Association of
Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). A simple google search for “sex therapists near
me” can also help find your ideal therapist, or you can call your local hospital.
For a more personalized recommendation, you can get in touch with your gynaecologist, urologist,
or your health care provider. Doctors often recommend sex therapists to their patients. All you need
to do is ask.
Satisfying sex life is crucial for your overall health. A healthy sex life imparts a great deal of physical
and emotional benefits including better heart health, reduced stress level and lower blood pressure
to name a few. Also, sex is fun and one of the main forms of displaying affection among couples. It
should never be a source of worry and anxiety for anyone. Sex therapy is a safe and effective way for
affected individuals/couples to have open communication and work through challenges towards a
happy, healthy sex life.