Why do people sometimes need Sex therapy?
Most of us would like our sexual relationships to be loving, fulfilling and exciting. But sometimes things can interfere with our ability to enjoy sex. Over the course of our lives we may suffer from stress, depression, or physical illness. We may experience traumatic events or suffer side-effects caused by certain medicines. All sorts of situations can eat away at our self-esteem and contribute to a loss of desire and an ability to function sexually. This is when a sex therapist can help.
What does Sexual therapy involve?
Sexual therapy is about meeting with a therapist to talk through your problems. In that respect it's no different from other types of psychotherapy. It involves meeting on a regular basis and working through issues. Part of the therapist’s job is to ensure you feel at ease talking about potentially difficult or embarrassing issues, so that you can discuss them openly. What the sex therapist can bring and share is an expertise in the ways that human sexuality functions and knowledge of the challenges that we face in relationships. Sexual therapists are trained to help identify the psychological origins of sexual issues and to work with clients to find solutions. Sometimes this will involve working closely with other professionals, such as medical professionals with an expertise in sexual medicine. Sexual therapy sessions do not involve any physical or sexual contact between the client and the therapist.
What sorts of problems can we help with?
There are a whole range of sexual issues that people seek help for. These can include:
• Erectile dysfunction, including obtaining or maintaining an erection or controlling when an ejaculation happens
• An inability to reach orgasm, either with a partner or alone; 'faking' orgasms to avoid feeling ashamed or hide other problems
• Lack of sexual desire and loss of sexual pleasure, perhaps caused by an inability to relax and feel comfortable during sex or concerns about your or your partner’s ‘performance’
• Involuntary spasming of the vagina, commonly known as Vaginismus
• Physical pain during intercourse, which could be the result of medical conditions
• Memories that impair sexual functioning caused by past experiences of abuse, rape or sexual trauma
• Relationship problems, such as a lack of intimacy or an unresolved conflict
• Differences in opinion on ‘open’ relationships or the ideal frequency of sex
• Questions you may have about your own or your partner’s sexuality which may be difficult to bring up
• Issues related to sexual fantasies or particular desires that may form part of your or your partner’s hopes and expectations, but which may not be shared
• Changes in your or your partner’s body that may follow the birth of a child, or occur as part of the ageing process, that impact on desire