What is Sex Therapy?
Classified as a form of psychotherapy, sex therapy is used to treat a variety of mental problems that develop from sex. This includes sexual function as well as concerns about sexual intimacy. In some cases, these sessions may be individual, group, or joint with your partner.
Most of the time, sex therapy is sought by individuals who are concerned about their sexual desires, compulsive behaviors, apparent impotency, inability to reach orgasm, or painful intercourse. In some cases, it is also used in conjunction with other therapeutic treatments for individuals who have suffered sexual abuse.
The primary method is almost always talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy. Through this, the therapist listens and comes to understand the root of the problems that the individual is facing. This then allows the sex therapist to begin detailing potential solutions. Most of the time, medication is not prescribed, unless it is intended to address impotence or pain. In most cases though, the therapist will look more for the psychological root and may combine forces with a doctor who will determine if there is a physical cause for the issue.
As compared to other therapy situations, sex therapy is generally only a limited number of sessions rather than ongoing. It is also likely to involve more “homework” requirements. These include communication exercises, changes in sexual practices, and the like. The therapist does not watch these practices. Instead, he relies on the patient to report back about the responses. If other issues start to develop that may indicate a greater psychological issue, then the therapist may change the strategies. Certified sex therapists typically have additional focuses and professional credentials to assist in other psychological issues and treatment methods. However, that will require an expansion and redefining of your visit’s purpose.
Reasons for Hiring a Sex Therapist
Individuals hire sex therapists for a number of reasons, typically relating to issues regarding sexual performance, inability to enjoy sex, or overcoming sexual abuse. It is also common for individuals trying to overcome compulsive sexual behavior. Most of the time, aid is sought when the situation becomes chronic or interferes with a beneficial and active sex life.
What to Look for in a Sex Therapist
In addressing issues regarding sex, it’s best to work with a certified sex therapist. Sex therapists are licensed therapists who have completed additional training and certification to give them a better basis for appropriate treatment. The ideal sex therapist is one who will put you at ease and help you to understand yourself better. It may help to see a therapist who has a practicing medical background if you are concerned that the cause is related to some physical aspect, but it is not necessary. Your comfort level is essential in this matter, as an inability to share honestly what you are struggling with or how you feel can result in inadequate sessions.
Remember though that a number of scams operate false sex therapy sessions. You should not visit a sex therapist who offers to perform sex with you or to help you overcome it through sex exercises involving other people. The Mayo Clinic makes it very clear that sex therapists are not to have any sexual contact with clients either in the office or anywhere else. Make sure that your therapist is credentialed by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists and/or a related graduate therapy degree. Additionally, unless your sex issue is related only to the emotional aspect of sex, most sex therapists will recommend that you have a complete physical conducted to ensure that there are no medical issues causing the problems.