Learning More About What A Sex Therapist Actually Does

What does a sex therapist do?

Sex therapists are specially-trained psychiatrists, therapists and clinical social workers who help couples reach their intimacy potential through talk therapy and homework.

We provide education regarding healthy sexual beliefs, and guidance in learning new, mutually satisfactory sexual behaviors. We address the intimacy fears, sexual myths, and misinformation that can cause sexual problems.

Treatments involve applying tools from biology, medicine, psychology, epidemiology, sociology, and criminology. In our training, we study sexual development (puberty), sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual relationships, and typical and atypical sexual activities and interests. We learn about sexuality across the lifespan, and among the mentally and/or physically disabled.

Sex therapists help to resolve sexual issues by addressing them directly. Our work differs from marriage therapists in that we utilize in depth knowledge about sexuality within the marriage or couples arena.

We are experts in the physiological workings of human sexuality, and collaborate with physicians to address all the causes of a couple’s sexual concerns.

What Problems Can A Sex Therapist Address?

Sex therapy can address:

  • Male and female desire and arousal
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low libido or lack of sexual confidence
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Out of control sexual behavior
  • Infidelity
  • Depression
  • Sexual anxiety and trauma
  • Asexuality
  • Fears of intimacy: rejection, fusion, conflict
  • Breakups, rebounds, and codependent relationships
  • Creating or re-establishing trust
  • Coping with a sexless marriage
  • Improving marriage communication
  • Separation and divorce issues
  • Toxic relationships

The Perspective

Sex therapists address sexual issues from a scientific, not ideological perspective. We accept all sexual orientations and gender identities.

We have several ways to treat each issue, and tailor the treatment to the couple. Treatment is focused on integrating the couple’s relationship skills, emotional work and education around the sexual dysfunction.

We know sexuality can have ill effects on individuals, and strive to enhance sexual health in order to improve all aspects of our clients’ lives.

The Sex Therapy Process

  1. In my practice, the process starts with an initial meeting to determine whether sex therapy can be helpful in your situation, and if we are a good fit.
  2. Next, I do nutritional and health assessments to find out if there are underlying physical problems that may be contributing to your sexual concerns.
  3. Then I have a separate meeting with each partner to get a sexual health history. We discuss attitudes and beliefs about your sexuality. You tell me about your dating experiences. This allows each person to get comfortable with sharing, and provides a clear, uncensored view of your relational, psychological and sexual development.
  4. In the next meeting, I present a treatment plan to the couple. This blends my findings and your desire and motivation for treatment.
  5. If the treatment plan is agreed upon, homework is assigned and the real work begins. Each session, we assess how things are going and what changes need to be made to the treatment plan.

Goals and Results

The goal is never to coerce a person who wants less sex into wanting more. It is to make sexuality a part of your lives again; not just intercourse, but true intimate connection.

Couples therapy focuses on the couple. The couple is the client, not the individual. That is not to say individual work is not done; each individual is responsible for their own work.

If it is deemed necessary that more individual work is needed, then an additional therapist may be required. Couples therapy may be suspended until that therapy is completed.

The most important determination for success in therapy is a commitment to your relationship and the process. Couples will only succeed if they are committed.