What is Sex Therapy you ask?
What it is....
At our practice, and in most clinical settings, sex therapy is a form of therapy intended to help individuals and couples resolve sexual difficulties, such as performance anxiety or relationship problems.
The reality is...
that most therapists have either no or very little training (one class, maybe) in human sexuality. More undergraduate programs in psychology consistently offer human sexuality classes actually, so if you are seeking a sex positive approach to sexuality specific and/or relationship issues, someone specializing in treating sexual issues is the best bet to tackling your concerns. It is a well-known phenomenon for clients to have a therapist for years and have no conversations about sexuality. This is not because the therapist wasn't skilled necessarily. They may be extremely competent. Directly speaking, the helping professions marginalize the topic of sexual issues just like much of the rest of the world. Although this is improving it is a process that is far from complete and slow moving.
Clients meet in the therapist’s office. Some choose to attend sessions alone; others bring their partner with them. Session frequency and length usually depend on the client and the type of problem being addressed. Options to meet from 50 minutes to 13.5 hours in a weekend is the vast timeframe continue that is possible depending an individual or couples' needs. All clients will fill out a 16 page sexual history before their initial 1.5 hour consult. During the first session, initial treatment goals will be established.
It’s normal for clients to feel anxious when seeing a sex therapist, especially for the first time. Many people have trouble talking about sex at all, so discussing it with a stranger may feel awkward. However, most sex therapists recognize this and try to make their clients feel comfortable. Often, they start with questions about the client’s health and sexual background, sex education, beliefs about sex, and the client’s specific sexual concerns. Th integration of the comprehensive sexual history completed before the first session is administered this way to increase comfort talking about sex, which is such a vulnerable act for so many.
Sex therapy is NOT sex surrogacy...
It’s important to know that sex therapy sessions do not involve any physical contact or sexual activity among clients and therapists. Clients who feel uncomfortable with any aspect of therapy should speak up or stop seeing that particular therapist. Therapists are trained to address whether or not they are a good fit for clients so a discussion about comfort will likely already be part of the discussion, so addressing such matters should be integrated into the process.
Homework is a possibility....
Sex therapists usually assign “homework”—practical activities that clients are expected to complete in the privacy of their own home.
Such homework might include the following:
• Education: Oftentimes, clients do not receive adequate sex education while they are growing up. As a result, they may not be aware of anatomy and how the body functions during sexual activity. For many clients, sex therapy starts here. Therapists might assign books or web content to read or videos to watch. They might also suggest that clients use a mirror to learn more about their body, while during therapy sessions, psychosexual education will be provided.
• Communication strategies: Clients may practice asking for what they want or need sexually or emotionally in a relationship.
Success with sex therapy often depends on how committed clients are to the process. If clients are willing to put in the effort, either alone or with a partner, they may reach their sexual goals.
• Experimentation: Couples who feel they’re in a sexual rut may try different activities, such as role playing or using sex toys, to increase their desire. Other couples may need to adjust their sexual routine or positions, especially if one partner has a health condition that requires such changes.
• Sensate focus: This technique for couples is designed to build trust and intimacy while reducing anxiety. Couples progress through three stages, starting with nonsexual touching, progressing to genital touching, and, usually, ending with penetration.