Sex therapy is a form of counselling that helps couples address and resolve their sexual issues and concerns. A therapist delves into past traumas, relationship dynamics, and emotional barriers to healthy sexuality.

If you and your partner are experiencing mismatched sexual desires, lack of sexual communication, sexual pain disorders or even relationship concerns, a trip to a sex therapist might actually prove worthy of your time. While decision to seek therapy, or not, lies with you, one must know that there is no shame in asking for help. Trained professionals can offer you valuable insight and suggestions to help ease your sex related concerns.

What is sex therapy?

A study, published in Current Psychiatry Reports, observed that 43 percent of women respondents and 31 percent of men respondents suffer from sexual dysfunctions and 30% of women and 15% of men have sexual desire disorders.

Niyatii N Shah, sexuality educator and counsellor, explains how sex therapy works. “Sex therapists have specialised training and education in human sexuality. They may be licensed therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists, with specific training in dealing with sexual issues. They are trained to diagnose and treat sexual dysfunctions and disorders, including issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, vaginismus, and sexual trauma,” she says.

Do you need sex therapy?

There are a few factors which you must consider while opting for sex therapy.

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1. Persistent sexual concerns

This can include problems such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, sexual pain disorders, low libido, or difficulties with sexual communication.

2. Relationship challenges

If your sexual difficulties are linked to communication problems, conflicts or emotional distance in your relationship, sex therapy can help address both the sexual and relationship aspects.

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3. Communication problems

If you find it tough to talk about your desires, boundaries and concerns with your partner, or are facing desire mismatch concerns, then sex therapy can provide you with a great platform to do that.

4. Past trauma

Prior sexual trauma and abuse often post as hindrances in enjoying a healthy sex life. A sex therapist can help you work through this.

5. Lack of Sexual Education

Inadequate knowledge or misconceptions about sex can be sorted out with a sex therapist.

6. Exploration and enhancement

Sex therapy can help you discover new aspects of your sexuality and enhance your sexual satisfaction.

Sex therapy
Sex therapy happens over various stages where the therapist develops an honest communication with a couple. Image courtesy: Pexels

How does sex therapy work?

1. Initial consultation

The process begins with an initial assessment. During this session, the sex therapist gets to know you and your concerns.

2. Establishing trust

Your therapist will try to create a safe space for you to talk about intimate matters without fear of judgment.

3. Goal setting

You and the therapist work together to establish clear goals for your sex therapy. These goals can include resolving specific sexual issues, improving communication, enhancing intimacy, or addressing relationship dynamics.

4. Education and information

The therapist may provide information about sexual health, anatomy, and physiology, as well as dispel common myths and misconceptions about sex. This knowledge can empower you to make informed decisions and improve your sexual experiences.

5. Improvement in communication skills

The therapist may teach you and your partner communication skills to openly discuss your desires, boundaries, and concerns. This may also include addressing past traumas, improving emotional intimacy, and resolving conflicts within the relationship.

6. Exploration and assessment

In some cases, the therapist may assign homework or exercises for you and your partner to do between sessions.

7. Progress evaluation and support

The therapist will regularly assess your progress toward your goals. Once you’ve achieved your initial goals, you may decide to continue with periodic sessions for maintenance and ongoing support.

A couple having sex
Opening up to your sex therapist and talking about your problems will help sort out your intimate issues. Image courtesy: Freepik

Preparing for and following up after sex therapy

Choosing the right therapist is a must if you want to resolve your problems effectively. Niyati Shah tells us how!

“Select a qualified and experienced sex therapist who you feel comfortable with. Consider factors such as their training, credentials, and your own comfort level during the initial consultation,” she says.

Making sure you go with an open mind is another essential preparation that you need to do. “The therapists are there to help, and their goal is to provide support without judgment. Hiding information will only lead to failure to reach your goal or mislead solutions,” adds the expert.

As far as following up goes, reflecting on the session and completing home work assignments are a must. Self care is also crucial at this stage, says Shah. “Therapy can get very intense emotionally and you might be experiencing multiple emotions after a session,” she explains, adding that staying patient and trusting the process is also essential.

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