Sexual health is an essential part of overall emotional and physical well-being. But if you’re experiencing a sexual problem, the last thing you probably want to do is talk about it. If shame is keeping you from seeking help, know this: 43% of women and 31% of men report some degree of sexual dysfunction. Sex therapy is designed to get to the bottom of sexual issues and reverse them.
Working With a Therapist to Address Libido Problems and Other Sexual Health Issues
Whether you work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or marriage or sex counselor, sex therapy can help with a variety of physical and emotional issues that can interfere with sexual satisfaction, such as erectile dysfunction, low libido, a history of abuse, and others. And it can help you and your partner work through these issues in a supportive and educational environment.
What Is Sex Therapy and How Can It Help?
Contrary to what some believe, there’s nothing strange, deviant, or kinky going on behind the door to a sex therapist’s office. Indeed, sex therapy is not very different from other forms of psychological counseling. Sex therapy is a type of psychotherapy that also takes into account possible physical problems. When a couple comes in with a sexual problem, a therapist will try to figure out how each of them could be contributing to the issue. They examine behaviour, gradually interpret that for the couple, and come up with solutions.
What Happens in a Sex Therapy Session?
Your therapist will help you work through emotional issues that may be contributing to sexual issues, such as erectile dysfunction. If performance anxiety is an issue, sex therapy would typically begin with learning about performance anxiety, then move on to teaching a couple how to establish open lines of communication to discuss sexual wants and needs. The couple may also explore issues causing relationship stress.
When May Sex Therapy Be Recommended?
Sex therapy may be recommended in a variety of scenarios. Here are some of the most common scenarios:
• Personal Conflict Issues Related to Sexuality This includes, for example, sexual trauma or assault. Therapists recommend seeking individual therapy first to cope with these issues, then gradually including your partner as needed.
• Conflict About the Relationship A common example here would be a partner experiencing sexual boredom. In this case, it’s better to seek therapy alone first so that you can better understand yourself and your own sexual concerns, then incorporate your partner.
• Compulsive Sexual Behaviour (CSB) Once again, in this scenario it’s better for the person with the compulsive behaviour or the partner to see a therapist alone first, then bring in the partner. Sometimes, personal emotions of betrayal, guilt, or fear may need to be explored before incorporating your partner. The one suffering from CSB may also experience a wide range of emotions, such as fear, shame, and anxiety.
Addressing your personal emotional experience is important prior to bringing and dealing with your partner — this may enhance communication.