9 Signs You Could Benefit From Sex Therapy

Updated: Apr 20


A couple sits with a sex therapist for a sex therapy session

Attending therapy, although becoming more normalized, is still sometimes stigmatized. It has the potential to be even more nerve-wracking when you’re seeking it for sex or intimacy-related problems. So, what’s the deal with sex therapy, and can it really make a difference for you?

Key takeaways:

  • Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that helps you process challenges related to sex and sexuality in a safe space.

  • Sex therapists receive additional and specialized training to assist people.

  • There are many reasons to go to seeking sex therapy; some of the more common ones include mismatched libidos between couples, painful sex, performance anxiety, issues with sexual identity, and difficulty orgasming.

  • You can attend sex therapy whether you’re single or coupled.

  • It can help you improve your sex life and have one that’s more fulfilling and satisfying.

Sex is a natural and normal part of human nature. Humans – and even some animals – can have sex for pleasure. Understandably, it can be distressing when your sex life becomes a struggle or otherwise dysfunctional. If it isn’t satisfying, then it may be time to consider sex therapy.


First of all…what is sex therapy?


Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that helps you explore your sexuality in a safe space. It focuses on addressing a wide range of concerns. Commonly seen concerns include sexual identity, sexual trauma, intimacy challenges, and difficulty orgasming. Sex therapists undergo additional and specialized training to be able to assist with these sensitive and complex issues. You can attend whether you’re single or coupled.


Here are some of the many issues sex therapists can help address:

  • Sexual wellness

  • Sexual addiction

  • Body image issues

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Performance anxiety

  • Alternative lifestyles

Let’s talk about some signs that you’d benefit from attending sex therapy.


- You get performance anxiety

Anxiety can have physiological effects and erectile dysfunction (ED) is one example. Some men become anxious about pleasing their partners, and then have difficulty performing. While erectile dysfunction can be caused by underlying medical causes – and medical causes should always be ruled out first – anxiety is one of the leading causes of ED.


-Sex is painful for you

Painful sex can be caused by several issues, including chronic illnesses like endometriosis, adenomyosis, PCOS, fibroids, or other issues. If sex is physically painful for you, you should see a doctor first to rule out anything going on medically. Painful sex can cause psychological distress and anxiety, which can lead to sex being even more painful as the body tenses up in anticipation of the pain. A sex therapist can work in tandem with your medical team to help you find ways to enjoy your sex life again.


- You and your partner have mismatched libidos

Having mismatched libidos is very common – one study showed that 80% of couples have experienced it at some point. That doesn’t mean that you and your partner are incompatible or that your partner doesn’t find you desirable. Many things can affect libido, including physical and mental health challenges, stress, medical conditions, parenting, other responsibilities, and more. It’s also natural for libidos to fluctuate. A sex therapist can help you and your partner learn how to navigate these fluctuations.


- You’re questioning your sexual identity

Sexuality and gender are fluid. Binary gender is a social construct, as are the dated gender roles that come with it. Attending therapy with an LGBTQA+-friendly therapist can help you process your identity, who you are, and your place in the world.


-You feel uncomfortable, awkward, or shameful about sex

Sex is definitely a taboo topic in our society, despite our society being as hypersexualized as it is. Regardless of the source of shame – purity culture, religion, past trauma, being “slut shamed,” – a sex therapist can help you work through and resolve any feelings of shame you have around sex.


- You have a history of sexual trauma

Trauma recovery is a highly individualized process. While you may opt to see a general therapist for your mental health after it, if your trauma was sexual in nature, seeing a sex therapist may be helpful for you, too. A sex therapist can help you learn to enjoy sex again following your traumatic experience(s), as well as process them healthily and safely.


- You have difficulty orgasming

Research has shown that only 10% of women can reach climax easily. That means that the other 90% have to work toward it, which can be difficult if you’ve never learned how to orgasm. Sex therapy can help you learn how to orgasm – and how to improve.


- You and your partner want to explore alternative lifestyles together

It’s normal to have sexual fantasies; some couples even share them and decide to act on them, leading them to try out alternative lifestyles. Sex therapy is highly recommended before opening up the relationship, as it can help you and your partner establish better communication and boundaries with each other so that any forays into experimentation are successful. Leading an alternative lifestyle requires a high level of trust, intimacy, and commitment from both partners.


- You’re interested in learning how to make sex more enjoyable