What is Sex Therapy Anyway?
Sex therapy has been around for decades, helping women, men, and couples learn how to navigate the huge topic of sex and sexual wellness. I’ve come to understand that most people have limited knowledge about sex therapy and most of what they’ve gathered comes from movies or social media. Unlike the quasi-sex therapist from Meet the Fockers (think Barbara Streisand), sex therapy is not about touching, nudity, and tips and tricks to spice up your sex life. Sex therapy is a legitimate form of psychotherapy whereby the patient(s) seek the help of a health professional to overcome sexual problems or improve sexual feelings and resolve any intimacy issues they may have.
There are a number of reasons why one would seek the counselling of a sex therapist, and in my field, more often than not, I recommend counselling (specifically with a sex therapist) to my patients – here’s why:
As humans, we have multiple systems working in tandem at all times. To treat one aspect or one (dys)function in an isolated manner would be to disregard the human as a whole person. Sounds simple, but the interdisciplinary approach to medicine is a wave that hasn’t fully caught on worldwide, although, it is my belief that the wave is coming and it will be tidal.
We are holistic beings and I treat my patients as such. That means that if a man should come in suffering from erectile dysfunction, I might treat with Shockwave Therapy, Testosterone Replacement Therapy or the experimental injections, but I will almost certainly recommend counselling as well. Whether the premature ejaculation stems from a physical issue or has a psychological origin, physical inevitably seeps into the psychological and the other way around. It’s the basic nature of a mind / body connection; it’s how each pone of us functions on a very fundamental level.
Sex therapy is a great treatment option for those suffering from a plethora of sex concerns, such as:
- Concerns about sexual desire
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculating early (premature ejaculation)
- Difficulty with sexual arousal
- Body image
- Trouble reaching orgasm (anorgasmia)
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Intimacy issues related to a disability or chronic condition
- Conflicts with partners about sexual needs, desires, frequency or specific sexual activities
Not limited to the list above, sex therapy is also a forum for people to talk openly and confidentially about any concerns or questions they may have about sex, their sexual lifestyle, and overall sexual wellbeing. You might not have an identifiable physical issue, but might still be interested in sex therapy, because here’s another thing – sex is a part of our lives and it is important that we understand what it means to us and why. There is a strong interaction between thoughts, feelings, social/cultural factors, behaviours, and biological components. By unpacking each one of these five points, a sex therapist will help you identify your values, your beliefs, and your ideas of what sex is as opposed to what you might have previously though sex should be. That is the first step toward a healthier sexual wellness.
There are many benefits to sex therapy. A few notable goals include:
- Achieving a healthy sexual life
- Reducing anxiety associated with sexual activity
- Learning new skills and healthier ways of approaching sex
- Feeling in control of one’s sexuality and regaining confidence
- Learning concrete strategies for managing uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and harmful behaviours that are impacting sex
- Minimizing pain during intercourse
By understanding and dismantling old attitudes and habits that get in the way of enjoyable sex, sex therapy will help you establish new beliefs that reflect your values so that you can increase sexual arousal, feel less anxious and more comfortable about sex, and ultimately help lead a better, healthier, sexual life. If you aren’t sure sex therapy is for you, call or email to learn more. Put it to you this way, the first step is easy, all you have to do is start talking.