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Sex is an important part of any romantic relationship. It is integral in forming strong bonds between partners and reinforces the feelings of togetherness. Sex fosters intimacy and addresses a human’s need to be loved, to be appreciated, be needed and to belong. Many couples will not have any problems with their sex lives, but there are also many couples who might grapple with related issues. In most cases, the problem stems from one partner but this does not mean that there are no issues to be discussed with the other. This is where sex therapy comes into play—it serves as a neutral ground by which partners can discuss their sexual problems if they have a hard time communicating it amongst themselves.
Sex therapy is a psychotherapy that deals with sexual issues between partners. Sex therapy doesn’t discriminate on basis of sexual orientation: ideally it should cater to all, whether heterosexuals, homosexuals, transsexuals or transgendered. The therapy is usually conducted by licensed therapists, physicians or psychologists. Before consulting with one, it is best to make sure that they are accredited by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).

Sex therapy does not include sexual contact with the client—this is not a part of mainstream sex therapy. It is also usually just conducted in the short-term. Some clients prefer to just spend one on one time with the therapist, but most therapists will want to see both partners in order to address issues more. Even if there wasn’t any sexual issue with the other partner, issues such as feelings of neglect, emotional abandonment and feelings of rejection may have to be confronted.

It can be quite hard to discuss negative feelings about sex between partners. It is usually okay to talk about the good feelings associated with sex but when it comes to criticism, it can be a tricky subject. This is why the therapist acting as a mediator can pave the way to better communication. And sometimes, that’s all that’s needed: better communication. Some of the concerns that are commonly covered include:

  • The lack of sexual desire or problems with getting sexually aroused
  • A person trying to figure out conflicting feelings towards sexual orientation or sexual interests
  • Compulsive sexual behaviors
  • Incompatible sexual styles
  • Problems on reaching orgasm
  • Problems on concentrating on the partner during sex
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction

At first, clients may feel uncomfortable and uneasy about discussing the most intimate moments of their lives. However, they should keep in mind that this is what the therapist is trained to do, and any detail the client is willing to share only broadens his understanding of the problem—and the quicker it is to find a solution. It is a also a sex therapists’ job to ensure that you are able to identify the problems in your sex life clearly, to make you better appreciate your own needs, and to enable you to feel entitled to express what you want with your partner. Most of the time, a sex therapist will give you individual or partner assignments that you will need to do, for discussion during the next session.

When trying to find the right sex therapist, there are some factors that you might want to consider. One of them would be to make sure that you are talking to a licensed sex therapist—you can feel free to ask for certifications from your doctor, or better yet, look for referrals on AASECT prior to visiting a therapist’s office. You should also take into account the charges that apply with the session, and if this applies for one partner or both. It’s also best to think of convenience, such as how near the office is to your place, and what the office hours are. You might also want to visit his office to make sure that you are comfortable with the environment before committing.

It is best to approach your sessions with an open mind and to view your therapist as someone you can trust. By being honest and forthcoming about the issues that you face, no matter how embarrassing it might make you feel, the better the outcome from this exercise will be.