Couples Counseling Basics

Couples Counseling for Sexual and Emotional Problems

couple in counselingSexual relationships are best maintained when both individuals are actively involved. It’s not a one-way street. It’s important to preserve a physical bond in order to keep a marriage or relationship from becoming a roommate situation.

Couples should find sex fun—a shared pleasure, a stress reducer, and a way to increase intimacy.

In the beginning of most relationships, the sex is great. When the sex is going well, couples don’t pay much attention to it, but when the sexual intimacy starts to decline, that level of dissatisfaction with the relationship increases  from 15 to 75 percent . This is usually when couples reach out for help from someone who specializes in couples therapy—a sex therapy professional like myself, here in Charlotte, NC.

Couples sex therapy is about helping both individuals make sexuality a part of their lives again. Not just intercourse, but closeness in a relationship, marriage, etc.

This closeness, or intimacy, fosters a good connection, which leads to better erotic encounters, including sexual intercourse. As a long time counselor focusing on sexual issues, I’ve noticed an increasing number of couples having sexual dysfunctions and sexual dissatisfaction in recent years, and of special concern is the number of relationships that are currently nonsexual.

Couples Counseling: The Couple is the Client

Hypoactive sexual desire is a common reason for couples to separate within the first two years of marriage. Other common reasons are fertility issues and extramarital affairs. Thus, if you need infidelity help, I’m the local sex therapy counselor in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Couples therapy focuses on the couple. The couple is the client, not the individual. That’s not to say individual work is not done—it is each individual’s responsibility to do their own work.

If it is deemed necessary that more individual work is needed, then an additional sex therapist is required. Couples therapy is most likely put on hold until that individual therapy is complete.

How Couples Therapy Sessions Work

First, I’ll meet with both individuals at the same time. This is to assess if sex therapy is the best place for them to address their concerns, and if I’m a good fit as a sex therapy counselor for them as well.

Next, I meet with each person individually and obtain a sexual health history. These questions are conducted to get a clear, uncensored view of their relational, psychological and sexual development.

We will also discuss attitudes and beliefs about their sexuality. This includes past dating experiences, which allows the person to get comfortable with sharing personal details and to gain confidence in talking to their new sex therapist.

The next time we all meet together again, a treatment plan is presented for the couple in therapy. This is a collaboration of my findings and the couple’s desire and motivation for successful sex therapy treatment.

Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction in Couples

This type of sex treatment is focused on integrating emotional work, education, and a couple’s relationship skills around the sexual dysfunction. Low sexual desire is a sexual dysfunction that I see frequently, and unfortunately, it can lead to an entirely sexless marriage. It can be related to other sexual difficulties in either partner, such as erectile dysfunction, inhibited female orgasm, or vaginismus.

The most important determination for success in sex therapy is commitment to your relationship and to the process. Couples will not succeed in relationship therapy if they are not committed.

Some words of advice? It is no different than any other goal in life we wish to achieve. And what an awesome goal to pursue! A relationship therapist can help you create a healthy and satisfying relationship. Whether you’re in a rebound relationship, having trouble reaching orgasm, masturbating excessively, climaxing too quickly, or constantly watching porn—I’m here to help. These are just some examples of the issues that fall under my area of expertise.