Sex therapy conjures up many images. Famous media personalities talking brashly about sex toys; movies showing how to put condoms on bananas; and, of course, the classic: a patient lying on a couch discussing their feelings. So, you’re probably thinking, no thanks, that’s not for us. We’ll figure it out on our own.
As it turns out, that sentiment is echoed by much of the population across North America. It also turns out that nearly every couple will run into a sexual issue of some sort over the course of their lifetime. According to recent studies, most couples, assuming the above misconceptions about sex therapy, will actually wait up to seven years before deciding to see a sex therapist about their issues. And, the most common comment heard by sex therapists once people finally decide to go? “We should have done this sooner.”
So, What Is Sex Therapy?
Let’s get down to brass tacks. What exactly is sex therapy, and what does a sex therapist do? Well, similarly to other forms of psychotherapy, sex therapy involves discussing sex from a more objective point of view. A sex therapist’s job is to provide you and your partner with a safe environment to discuss and resolve issues regarding your sex life, from the small to the seemingly impossible issues.
What Happens In A Sex Therapy Session?
Often, people have fears about what actually happens in a session with their therapist. Will they suggest something I’m not comfortable trying with my partner? Will they laugh at me? What if they can’t help?
Fortunately, there is nothing to fear. Generally, a therapist will ask you and your partner about your sexual history, childhood, family life, and more, to develop a strong image of what you and your partner’s beliefs, fears, and boundaries are in relation to your sex life. They will often hold separate interviews with the two of you to complete an honest, open assessment of what’s going on for both of you. All of this information will help the therapist to ascertain the root of the problem and to develop solutions for how to resolve them from there.
What Are The Most Common Issues That Sex Therapists Treat?
Sex therapists have seen it all, figuratively speaking that is. Some of the most common issues they encounter relate to how often they engage in sexual activity and frequent low libido. Other areas of focus include:
- Basic sex education
- Sexual dysfunction, including painful sex, orgasm, and arousal
- Erectile dysfunction
- Other health issues affecting sexual desire
- Sexual inhibitions or habits
- Sexual trauma
- Exploring taboo sexual desires
- Enhancement of sexual relationships
Why Should We Consider A Sex Therapist Instead of Figuring It Out Ourselves?
Although you can certainly try to resolve sexual issues without help, there are a few key reasons why it’s beneficial to use sex counselling instead. First and foremost, sex can be uncomfortable to talk about, even if it is with someone you love. It can cause immense anxiety or embarrassment, and it can cause some to be withdrawn or even angry. It can often put a wedge between a couple that doesn’t need to be there, one that can grow overtime.
Seeing a sex therapist will help to ease any anxieties for both parties, provide perspective, and offer objective (and proven) solutions to even the biggest of issues.
How Long Does Sex Therapy Take?
When it comes to sex therapy, there are three tiers, some taking only a few sessions to tackle the issue, others taking up to a few years. The levels are broken into three categories:
- Sexual issues: This would involve a series of homework exercises to resolve performance issues in the bedroom. These tend to take several sessions.
- Relationship-related issues: This could involve power struggles or issues related more to a couple’s relationship, but in a way that negatively affects their sex life. This process can take several more sessions in conjunction with marriage counselling.
- Trauma or abuse issues: These problems tend to be related to deeper intimacy issues, lifelong fears, and past histories that can require a much longer form of counselling—but are still solvable!
All in all, sex therapy is a wonderful option available for couples to resolve sexual issues or even enhance their sex life. Experts are increasingly discovering the importance of sex with regards to our physical, mental, and emotional health, and they encourage couples to resolve any issues just as you would with other aspects of your health. For more information on sex therapists in the Toronto area, contact us at Rosen Counselling. Get started today; you’ll be happy you did!