What Is Sex Therapy Like?
This is perhaps the most common question every couple ask before making an appointment with their sex therapist. It is no wonder that a lot of people freak out when they are advised to see a person to ‘talk’ about their private issues because they find it embarrassing or shameful. But you should know that confronting your sexual issues in a healthy and supervised environment often helps in overcoming fears, anxiety and conflicts.
Sexual dysfunction or troubled bedroom life is a fairly common complaint. Unfortunately, media paints a very different picture, suggesting everyone in the world is having a wild, crazy sex life, which is not true. According to clinical research, almost every couple experiences some form of hiccups in their sex life (at some point). Interestingly, in most cases, all you need is, someone trustworthy who can listen to your concerns and advice you accordingly.
Who Are Ideal Candidates For Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy is helpful for individuals and couples who are experiencing difficulties in maintaining a healthy sex life, in the absence of a recognizable medical condition/ explanation.
Here are a few indications for which most individuals are advised to see a sex therapist:
- Poor or low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculatory disorders
- Boring sex life
- Arousal issues
- Sexual dysfunction
- Conflicts regarding the frequency or quality of sex
- Issues in the technique of sex
- Porn addiction
Experts recommend mandatory sex therapy for individuals who are diagnosed (and/or) recovering from a malignant lesion (especially breast cancer, prostate cancer)
It has been observed that issues and challenges in couples vary, depending on factors like age group, age difference between partners, duration/ length of relationship, quality of relationship, sexual preferences, etc. For example, older couples have conflicts mainly because of age-related hormonal changes, menopause/andropause and declining libido; whereas young couples experiences issues due to relationship conflicts, adjustment issues or young kids.
What To Expect From A Sex Therapy?
Unlike conventional belief, sex therapy can be compared to a counseling session, where you can freely discuss your concerns. There is certainly no touching, genital/ physical examination or digging in your past encounters. Here is what you should expect from your therapy session:
- Open and easy communication with your partner: Sex discussions are often considered a taboo (even in some well-educated families and in-love couples). It is also very difficult for individuals to openly discuss their preferences, demands and expectations from their partners (or even their trustworthy friends). But in the company of a person who knows more about the subject matter (such as a therapist) it becomes much easier to share intimate details without the fear of being judged upon. Sex therapists are aware how difficult it is to open up and hence they provide much needed facilitation and encouragement.
- Identification of core issue: It has been observed that unsupervised sex discussions between partners often end up in arguments and fights due to frustration, agitation, anger, resentment, accusations, disappointment, inhibition or hurt. Needless to say that poor approach or tactics further deteriorates the situation. However, under the supervision of a sex therapist, you can actually dig deeper in your relationship conflicts without developing negative feelings.
- Much needed sex education and relationship advice: People who share intimate relationship details with friends or family members often gets a biased advice. But when you discuss such conflicts with a professional in the presence of your partner, you can actually evaluate yourself and your relationship in a much better fashion. Sex therapists also educate couples by providing helpful reading material, assignments and healthy exercises. For example, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations in the bedroom regarding orgasms, frequency of intercourse, duration of each encounter etc. The job of a sex therapist is also to evaluate if the complaints are logical (or make-belief).
How Many Sessions Does It Take To Achieve Desired Results?
The success of sex therapy depends on a number of factors; for example:
- Nature of complaint: For problems such as orgasmic disorder or premature ejaculation, 2 to 4 sessions are sufficient to achieve desired results.
- Complexity of complaint: For more complicated and multifactorial issues such as relationship conflicts, orgasmic dysfunction etc. more frequent sessions are needed to sort out personal problems before addressing sexual issues.
- Chemistry and understanding between the couple: A couple who is really trying hard to solve their conflicts needs less frequent sessions to achieve desired results.
1. Frühauf, S., Gerger, H., Schmidt, H. M., Munder, T., & Barth, J. (2013). Efficacy of psychological interventions for sexual dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(6), 915-933.