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Here's Everything You Need to Know About Sex Therapy

A couple gazes at each other with desire while lying in bed after successfully completing sex therapy

If you’re struggling with issues surrounding intimacy, opening up to a total stranger about it probably sounds really unappealing, but sex therapy is actually tremendously helpful in resolving challenges in the bedroom and beyond. Here’s what you should know.

Key takeaways:

  • Almost half of women and 31% of men live with some type of sexual dysfunction.

  • Many factors affect your sex life, including your physical and mental health, stress, trauma history, parenting responsibilities, and other factors.

  • Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that helps you explore your sexuality in a safe space.

  • It addresses a wide range of concerns that include sexual identity, sexual trauma, premature ejaculation, performance anxiety, intimacy challenges, and difficulty orgasming, among others.

  • Finding a sex therapist who is a good fit for you and the issue you’re seeking help with is important.

  • Preparing for your appointment can help you make the most of your time with your therapist.

  • Your treatment plan will be a collaborative effort between you and your therapist.

Talking about intimacy issues can seem intimidating and isolating – it might seem like everyone but you has a satisfying sex life. But, that’s far from true. Sexual dysfunction is actually pretty prevalent, affecting nearly 43% of women and 31% of men.

There are many reasons people struggle sexually, from physical and mental health issues to stress, trauma, parenting responsibilities, and more. Sex therapy can help you get back on track if you’re feeling a bit burned out in the bedroom.

So, what even is sex therapy? Who can benefit from it? And, what should you know about it before you start? We explain.

What is sex therapy?

Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, that can help you explore your sexuality in a safe space. Despite its name, there’s no sexual activity involved with your therapist – that would be wildly inappropriate and unethical.

Sex therapy can help address a wide range of concerns that include sexual identity, sexual trauma, intimacy challenges, and difficult orgasming. You don’t have to be in a relationship to get it either – anyone can attend at any time.

Sex therapists receive specialized training to assist with a variety of issues. Some of the many areas sex therapists address include:

Starting sex therapy may sound intimidating – but it’s far more uncomfortable to keep living an unfulfilling and unsatisfying sex life.

Reasons for sex therapy

There are many reasons someone seeks out sex therapy. It can be due to sexual dysfunction issues, such as difficulties orgasming or challenges in your current sexual relationship. Areas of concern may include:

  • Erectile functioning

  • Performance anxiety

  • Premature ejaculation

  • Impulsive/compulsive sexual behavior

  • Difficulty with sexual arousal/low libido

  • Difficulty orgasming (anorgasmia)

  • History of past sexual trauma, such as rape

  • Intimacy issues due to disability or chronic conditions

  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)

  • Concerns about sexual desire/arousal

  • Concerns about sexual interests/sexual orientation

If you pursue sex therapy, your therapist will meet with you to discuss your concerns and develop a treatment plan.

Finding a sex therapist

If you’re interested in seeing a sex therapist, you can ask your primary care doctor for a referral. You can also check with your local mental health center or your gynecology clinic. Your health insurance provider or employee assistance program is also likely to be able to offer recommendations for an in-network sex therapist.

It’s important to find a therapist who is a good fit for you; after all, you’ll be discussing your sex life with this provider, and you’ll need to be comfortable being vulnerable with them.

Here are some questions you may want to ask a prospective provider:

  • Education/experience: Request their education and training background. Are they licensed? Are they credentialed by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT)? Do they have experience treating the specific issue you’re seeking help with?

  • Service delivery: What type of services are they offering – telehealth or in person? Do their hours work with your schedule?

  • Treatment: How long is each session? How often do sessions occur? How long does treatment last for the issue you’re seeking treatment for?

  • Fees and costs: Do they take insurance? What is the co-pay? If insurance isn’t accepted, what are the fees you will be responsible for?

Once you know what to expect, you can make a more informed decision about choosing the right professional for you.

Preparing for your appointment

As with anything, preparing for your appointment will help you make the most of it. Here are a few things you can do beforehand:

  • Make a list of medication you’re taking: Include any prescription medications, herbal supplements, over-the-counter meds, or vitamins. This is important because these things can impact your libido.

  • Come prepared with a detailed list of your problems: Include when they started, other professionals you’ve seen about it, and treatments you’ve tried.

  • Prepare important personal information: Prepare info such as your medical conditions or any recent life changes or stressors.

  • Have questions to ask your therapist if you think you need to.

By preparing for your appointment, you can make the most of your time together with your therapist.

Treatment goals in sex therapy

Just like with any other form of psychotherapy, your therapist is a co-collaborator who will partner with you to set appropriate goals for your unique treatment. Here’s what goals during sex therapy can look like:

  • Become confident, curious, and joyous in your sexuality

  • Learn how to improve intimacy with your partner

  • Explore your sexual identity and orientation

  • Heal from sexual abuse and trauma

  • Get to the root cause of issues driving sexual concerns

  • Address stigma, shame, or fear you may have around sex

Finding a therapist who is the right fit and that you feel comfortable with is vital, so that you can allow yourself to really open up and be vulnerable about your experiences and challenges.

Get support from a qualified sex therapist in the South Florida area

Struggling with your sex drive is not how you want to live your life. Getting support from qualified professionals can help you create change. Starting sex therapy can help you explore your challenges in the bedroom and beyond, including why you may be struggling to orgasm, issues with low libido, or other sexual issues, such as inappropriate sexual arousal. It will put you on the road to enjoying a fulfilling, satisfying, sex life.

The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to get started in therapy to help facilitate healing within yourself and your interpersonal relationships, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 786.571.4636 for a free 20-minute consultation.

We are here to help you improve your mental health – and your sex life – and support you through this tough time.

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