For most of us, sex is an intensely personal interaction. It’s not something to be discussed in polite society. However, the fact is that keeping it a secret can be hurting your sex life. Too often, the discomfort of sharing your sexual feelings (and limitations) is preventing you from experiencing something more enriching.
That’s where sex therapy comes in.
If you are having issues in the bedroom, then it can feel a bit weird to talk to a professional about it. However, the goal is to get you and your partner to feel more comfortable with both each other and the ideas surrounding sex. Doing this will help you get to the bottom of the issue and allow you to resolve it.
Usually, partners that go to sex therapy are highly satisfied with the results. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about sex therapy – what it is, how it can help, and the overall benefits of it.
What is Sex Therapy?
If you’re conjuring up images of a doctor encouraging you to engage in sexual acts with your partner while he or she watches, you are thinking of the wrong thing. Sex therapy is a safe and professional experience that is all about communication and problem solving – not getting freaky.
There are a few different ways that sex therapists operate, but the core concept is that they want to make you and your partner more comfortable and open with each other. As we mentioned, too many people are closed off from having a conversation about sex, which can lead to a host of issues.
Another component of sex therapy is identifying and addressing any physiological problems that could be affecting your sex life. As we age, our libidos can start to wane, and our bodies are no longer able to have the same pep that they used to. A sex therapist can recommend treatments to correct these issues so that you can get the enjoyment you deserve.
What Does a Sex Therapist Do Exactly?
First things first – you should be seeing a licensed professional. The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is the governing body that monitors and licenses sex therapists, so you want to be sure that they are legitimate. If someone claims to be a therapist without credentials, it could be sketchy.
Secondly, you should figure out the kind of problems you’re having that are conspiring against your sex life. Are the issues you face more physical or emotional? Are you not getting the same pleasure as you used to? Is your sex life feeling more like a chore than an act of love-making?
Sex therapy can be broken down into three main categories.
Communication – because sex is such a personal act between you and your partner, it’s crucial that you are both on the same page. However, if you’re embarrassed to talk about your sex life, a therapist can help you learn to communicate effectively. In this case, your sessions are based on talking more than anything.
Physiology – are you experiencing issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or pain during sex? A therapist can help you determine what’s going on inside your body and refer you to a specialist (i.e., a gynecologist) who can figure out how to treat it.
Emotional Therapy – are you hiding things from your partner? Is your sex life not as good as it should be because of something going on in your mind? Sex therapy can help you figure out what’s happening beneath the surface, such as addressing sexual fantasies, anxieties or other psychological issues. Everyone has their own sexual hang-ups, so therapy can help you overcome them.
There are a variety of specific techniques that therapists can use, and some professionals are better suited for one or more of these categories than others. For example, you can go to a sex counselor to work on your communication, or you can see a doctor to find out more about problems with your body.
Benefits of Sex Therapy
As we mentioned, the vast majority (around 93%) of people who go to sex therapy love the results. But why is that the case? Here are a few reasons that it can benefit both you and your partner.
Increased Intimacy – when you’re not able to open up about your sexual desires and preferences, it can lead to problems in the bedroom. Being able to discuss these things in a safe space can bring you closer together with your partner.
Realistic Expectations – sometimes, we underperform or get too anxious about sex because we have a specific idea of what the other person wants. We base our performance on how it “should” go, which is not always accurate. Once again, talking these things out can give you both a better idea of what to expect from each other, leading to greater sexual satisfaction.
Overcome Physical Issues – if your body is conspiring against you, seeing a sex therapist can alleviate those problems. If it’s a matter of taking a pill before sex, then that could lead to a better sex life already. In other cases, it could require physical therapy to improve the situation, but the result will still be the same – more pleasure.
Overall, there is no reason to avoid sex therapy if you’re not getting what you want from your sex life. Talk with your partner about it and see what options are available. Then, find a professional who can help you figure out what’s going on and empower you to do something about it. Once you see the results, you will wonder what took you so long to get started.