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Sex therapists – what are they, and why should you go to one?

Sex therapy is an incredibly beneficial thing for couple and individuals alike. This is a form of talk therapy that helps you address any psychological, medical, and personal issues or factors that impact your sexual life and sexual satisfaction. Oftentimes, we don’t realize that the past traumas in our lives affect everything from our mental, physical, emotional, and sexual health!

In sex therapy, you are able to learn how to move past these traumas and challenges to have a more satisfying and healthy relationship, and a more pleasurable sex life with your partner or others. 

One common issue that sex therapy addresses is sexual dysfunction. 

Some forms of sexual dysfunction include erectile dysfunction, lack of sexual interest, low libido, low sexual confidence, lack of bodily response to sexual stimulation, not being able to orgasm, and even an overactive sexual libido! Fetishes that you don’t want to experience but seem to pull you, disturbing or distressing sexual thoughts, or the inability to control your behavior sexually can also be addressed. These issues can and should be worked through together.

Remember that a healthy sex life is natural, and that intimacy sexually, physically, and emotionally are fundamental things in human nature. However, when you experience sexual dysfunction, that fulfilled sex life is disturbed and can affect other areas of your life. Sex therapy is phenomenal for helping couples who share different libidos or fetishes a well. It’s so key to be able to have and increase your sexual satisfaction with your partner for long term success in your relationship. 

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So how does sex therapy even work?

Just like regular therapy, sex therapy allows you to talk through your emotions, experiences, and feelings either with or without your partner. You are able to have uninhibited conversation and dialogue with a non-biased third party and are able to learn mechanisms to cope and help the way you act and respond to improve and allow for a healthier sex life overall.  

When you first begin to meet with your therapist, usually they talk to you, or you and your partner to identify the challenges you face and obstacles you need to overcome to improve. They are an unbiased third party, so they aren’t there to take anyone’s side, and they will not be demonstrating how to have sex. This should be obvious, but just in case!

Sex therapy is educational and supportive, and meant to teach you to manage and better yourself to assist in overcoming the concerns and problems that may be leading to sexual dysfunction in your life. This is a comforting environment that allows you to truly open up and explain what’s bothering you and get to the core of the problem. Your therapist may refer you to a doctor if the issue is related to a physical sexual concern, such as lack of ability to get wet or have your penis get hard. Your therapist and doctor may even work together to find out exactly what the issue is, and how to make an effective action plan for you. You can then put this in to action to overcome these issues and improve your sex life. 

Who needs sex therapy?

A good way to answer that question is to see what is affected by how you feel right now. Are you and your partner frustrated because you aren’t having sex enough? Is your mood affected by your lack or abundance of sex? If these are a yes, it’s probably a good idea to see a sex therapist. You may be surprised by how much of your emotional and mental health can be affected. A sex therapist will allow you to learn how to more effectively communicate with your partner as well.  

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Finding a sex therapist is easy!

Sex therapists can be licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage or family counselors, or social workers. You can also ask your insurance company for a list of approved sex therapists. Go through the list and remember that the first one may not always be the right one for you. Don’t give up! You can also ask your primary care physician or gynecologist for a recommendation, as many of them will know who you can go to. 

Remember these key things:

Compatibility

Just like you and your unique personality, therapists are also unique. Your therapist will only be as successful as you allow them to be. You must communicate well, and not feeling comfortable with your therapist will prevent your success. You also have to trust them so that you can open up fully. 

Should you bring your partner?

You can go to sex therapy alone, or with your partner. If you and your partner have a hard time communicating, going together can help you build a stronger bond and connection, and allow them to see what issues you may have and what they may need to do. Going alone is also okay if you are the person with the problem and don’t feel the need to include them. Talk it out with them and see if they’d like to be involved. You may be surprised at their eagerness and enthusiasm to help you overcome this obstacle. 

Does my insurance cover it?

Not every type of health plan offers psychotherapy coverage, so it’s important to ask. Find out your individual payment costs, and how many sessions they allow, as some plans do have limits. Also confirm how much the session will be out of pocket for you both with and without insurance. 

At the end of the day, it is important to prioritize working through any sexual health issues you may be having. Insecurities can also create sexual dysfunction, so having someone to work through them with is important. 

Sex therapy is very helpful for individuals and couples alike to learn how to have open and honest communication. Working together through any issues together can help you have a healthier and happier sex life.