If you’re like most people, at one time or another you’ve probably found yourself wondering, what exactly is sex therapy?
Well, like other more traditional forms of psychotherapy, it is “talk only”. The difference is that sex therapy is specifically focused on helping couples, or individuals, overcome sexual difficulties. The reasons a couple, or an individual, might seek sex therapy are many and varied. It could be anything from communication issues, performance anxiety, inability to reach orgasm, infidelity, aging, and/or different libidos.
Two factors determine if sex therapy is right for you. One, if there are lasting sexual difficulties in the relationship (or individual’s sex life), and two, if both partners are willing to seek help.
The first step of this journey is finding the right therapist. Be sure whoever you select is not only licensed but also specifically trained and accredited in sex therapy. It is also important that both partners feel comfortable working with him or her. There likely will not be any forward momentum if one partner or the other doesn’t feel comfortable with the therapist you choose.
Keep in mind, it is completely normal to feel nervous about going. Most people aren’t comfortable talking about sex with their own partners, let alone with a complete stranger, so you may feel anxious at first. But fear not, sex therapists are trained professionals. They understand that this is a new and uncomfortable experience for most people and will do their best to put you at ease.
Generally, if you are seeking sex therapy as a couple (which for the rest of this article we will assume you are doing), expect to attend your first session together. Following that, each partner will likely meet with the therapist individually. This way, he or she will be able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the relationship from all perspectives. Their goal is to make both partners feel seen, heard, and understood.
A few topics that are likely to come up:
Your history as a couple, as well as each individual’s sexual past
Sexual beliefs and values
Communication in the relationship
Things that may be causing sexual problems, such as pain, trauma, desire, and/or orgasm
The specific sexual concern that brought you to their office
During the first session, it is usual for the therapist to create a treatment plan, which means, expect to be back for multiple sessions. How long a couple needs sex therapy will depend on the couple and the core issues at play, however; there is no one size fits all approach. The goal is to help you move through sexual issues in order to have a fulfilling relationship and pleasurable sex life.
Expect to be assigned homework, something the two of you will be working on alone and at home. Homework will be practical and educational and will require time and energy outside of therapy sessions. Examples are communication and behavioral exercises, experimentation with different ways of touching each other (with or without sex), and sex education videos to help both you understand the anatomy of the body.
There will never be any sexual behavior or touching during a session. Again, a sex therapist will never touch you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way. Instead, he or she will guide both partners to identify, understand, and resolve the core issues of their sexual problem(s), be they fear, communication, or resentment, among many others.
Sex therapy is appropriate for anyone and everyone! Humans are sexual in nature and with our sexuality comes stories and complicated histories. This type of therapy can help individuals and couples heal from sexual traumas, resolve sexual dysfunctions, and open to greater sexual experiences.
Attending sex therapy can help you understand and resolve old wounds and past traumas, as well as grow and expand sexually. This type of therapy aims to help you unionize your mind and body, enabling you to become more embodied and therefore more connected to your own, and your partner’s, sexuality. The only requirement is full and complete honesty and a willingness to show up.
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to online therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. At the moment, all our therapy services are being offered online to comply with social distancing and the stay-in-place order issued by the state of California. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope with overcoming sexual difficulties in your relationship.
Couples therapy for sexual difficulties can be beneficial, with the right therapist. Our compassionate therapists are trained to walk you through the process to help you find healing and peace. Please contact our therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you and your loved ones heal, grow, and love well.