Sex therapy helps both individuals and couples identify improvements they would like in their life in a safe and structured way. Often couples cannot solve these issues on their own as fear, anger, hurt, disappointment and inhibition can get in the way. As a sex therapist, nothing is off-limits and nothing is taboo to talk about and I am aware that may people can feel anxious talking about this intimate subject.
Common issues worked with include:
- Sexual recovery after substance abuse
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature, delayed ejaculation
- Painful sex (Vaginismus, vulvodynia, dysparenuia)
- Orgasmic disorder
- Loss of desire
- Mismatched libido
- Fear of intimacy
- Erotic recovery after an affair
- Talking to kids about sex
- Sexual compulsions
- Body image
Some sexual problems can be purely physical as a result of an illness or a side-effect of medication yet others can be psychological originating from sexual trauma or negative childhood social conditioning. Shorter-term issues can be pre-mature ejaculation, difficulty with orgasm. Longer-term issues can result from trauma, childhood history of neglect, abuse or not feeling connected to others. There is often a myth that good sex should always come naturally if love is present however in reality, this is not always the case and sexual problems can affect everyone at some stage in their life.
I have attended various sexuality therapy conferences and done comprehensive research in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Sex therapy is offered on an individual basis or with your partner and is tailored to your individual needs.
Just as affection, romance, passion and chemistry lead to sexual activity, so too can sexual activity can lead to affection, romance, passion, and chemistry. A healthy sex life ensures that a couple remain connected both physically and emotionally. Sometimes it may not necessarily be the sex itself that is important but the everyday kissing, hugging and touch that contributes to relationship satisfaction. Sex is ultimately about intimacy, pleasure, sexual expression and creating a bond between partners. Sex is not just good for the relationship but also for the individual. Fulfilling sex has shown to help people sleep easier, create a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, increase bladder control and assist in pain control and reducing stress. Orgasm can release endorphins that reduce stress, create feelings of intimacy and relaxation and provide an antidote against depression. Having a healthy sex life can also increase confidence and self-esteem.
It is common for couples to have sexual problems at some point. After the honeymoon period wears off, after baby is born, after menopause, after old resentments are not resolved, sexual incompatibility may become apparent. Sex therapy opens the lines of communication between couples. Sex therapists are trained to help couples feel comfortable talking about sex. In today’s society, it can be embarrassing for men to admit they have sexual dysfunction or taboo for women to disclose low libido/sexual desire. Unfortunately, most doctors and counsellors do not undertake specialised sex therapy training. The sooner a couple gets therapy, the less disappointment, hurt, anger and resentments can accumulate.
Seeking professional help is the first step in resolving sexual issues. Sex therapy can be done individually, as a couple or using a combination of both. Sessions typically last 55-60 minutes and can be weekly or more intensively by arrangement. There may be homework exercises and written assignments.
When selecting a sex therapist, it is important to consider whether they have relationship counsellor/couples therapist experience as some issues can be the result of relationship dysfunction. Either way, if one person in the relationship is willing to seek help, then it can make a difference if that person has the desire to make and change.
Sex therapists uncover many different reasons for sexual dysfunction including:
- Body image
- Prior negative experience
- Underlying relationship problems
- Stress from children, work, in-laws
- Medical issues such as diabetes, blood pressure, hormonal issues, cancer treatment, infections, menopause
- Physical trauma in the genital area, twisted testicles, childbirth
- The side effect of prescription medication,
- Alcohol and drug abuse