Sexual intimacy can be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences, but for many people, sexual activity lacks pleasure and satisfaction. Sex therapy is a specialized form of counseling that addresses concerns about sexual function, sexual feelings, and intimacy — either in individual therapy or in joint therapy with your partner. Sex therapy can be effective for adults of any age, sex, or sexual orientation.
Sex therapy can help you resolve various sexual issues, from concerns about sexual function or feelings to the way you relate to your partner. Through sex therapy, you may focus on issues such as:
- Concerns about sexual desire or arousal
- Concerns about sexual interests or sexual orientation
- Compulsive sexual behavior
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculating too quickly
- Trouble reaching orgasm
- Painful intercourse
- Intimacy issues related to a disability or chronic condition
- Concerns regarding past sexual trauma
Sex therapy is based on the assumptions that sex is good, that relationships should be meaningful, and that interpersonal intimacy is a desirable goal. Sex therapy is by its nature a very sensitive treatment modality and by necessity must include respect for your values. Certified sex therapists (CST) have demonstrated their competence in sex therapy by becoming credentialed by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). A sex therapist will listen to you describe your problems and assess whether the cause is likely to be psychological, physical, or a combination of the two. This transformative approach to sex therapy aims to understand the psychological, biological, relational, and contextual aspects of sexual problems. By treating the whole person, psychologically and physically, a sex therapist can help a person enhance his or her sexual experiences.
Talking about and exploring your experiences will help you identify the source of your distress and reduce any emotional barriers in order to enhance your sexual experiences. You may also be given homework exercises and tasks to do with your partner in your own time. Through sex therapy, you can learn to express your concerns clearly, better understand your own sexual needs and better understand your partner's sexual needs.