Couples Counseling for Sexual and Emotional Problems
Sexual 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 merely 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 it is going well, couples don’t pay much attention to their sex life, but when the intimacy starts to decline, the level of dissatisfaction with the relationship can increase up to 75 percent. This is usually when partners reach out for help from someone who specializes in couples counseling—a sex therapy professional like myself here in Charlotte, NC.
Couples sex therapy is about helping both individuals make sexuality a more satisfying part of their lives. Not just intercourse, but closeness in the relationship.
Closeness, or intimacy, fosters overall 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.
A sexless union is defined as one where there are fewer than 10 sexual encounters between the couple in a year. An estimated 20% of couples fall into this category. Why is this a problem? Because no sex is often the sign of deeper problems in the relationship—like resentment or boredom– which can lead to separation or divorce if not addressed.
Couples Counseling: The Couple is the Client
Hypoactive sexual desire (the lack of 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. If you are facing infidelity, I can help.
Couples counseling 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 than is normally done in sex therapy, then an additional therapist is required. Couples therapy is usually 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 see each person individually and obtain a sexual health history. These questions are conducted to get a clear, uncensored view of each partner’s 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 to each other and the therapy.
Sexual satisfaction 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.