The idea of seeing a sex therapist may seem intimidating, but it can be a practical, low-risk step toward improving your sex life. People go to sex therapy for many different reasons, but the goal of any sex therapy session is fundamentally the same. Sex therapy seeks to identify and address any biological, psychological, interpersonal, or other life factors that may be impacting sexual satisfaction so that individuals and couples can move past these challenges and have a fulfilling sex life.
If you are wondering if you could benefit from sex therapy, the answer is probably yes. Here are some common reasons why individuals go to sex therapy.
You want to work through relationship issues.
Sexual health does not occur in a vacuum; it is affected by various outside factors and influences. Relationship factors are particularly important when it comes to maintaining a satisfying sex life for all parties in a relationship, and conflict, trust issues, and poor communication can greatly impair a sexual connection. Couples who choose to work through their relationship issues with a sex therapist often find that their sex life improves as their relationship and communication skills improve.
You are unsatisfied with the frequency or quality of sex in your relationship.
There is no “right” frequency of sex, and the ideal amount of sex will vary from person to person. Therefore, it is not uncommon for individuals in a relationship to experience desire discrepancy, a situation in which one’s preferred frequency of sexual activity does not match their partner’s preferred frequency. A sex therapist can help couples communicate about desire discrepancy, voice their wants and needs, and find common ground in their relationship. The therapist can also help the couple address any unresolved issues that may be contributing to a lack of sexual desire.
Those who are not satisfied with the quality of the sex in their relationship can also benefit from sex therapy. If the sex has become too routine or rehearsed for a couple, a sex therapist can provide practical advice for overcoming sexual boredom and rekindling the spark in their sex life.
You have a medical condition that is impacting your sex life.
Individuals with chronic health conditions, sexual dysfunctions, or incurable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are encouraged to seek medical care for the physical aspects of their conditions, but the psychological aspects are often overlooked. If you have a medical condition that has impacted your sexual health, you may experience feelings of grief, shame, regret, and anger. In situations where the condition has drastically changed your sexual function, you may not know how to proceed in terms of cultivating intimacy and maintaining your sexual expression. Sex therapists are well-equipped to help patients with the emotional aspects of such a medical condition and provide them with suggestions of ways to be intimate moving forward.
You have trouble reaching orgasm, and it bothers you.
Sex can be enjoyable and fulfilling without orgasm. However, if you are unable to reach orgasm and it bothers you, you could consider sex therapy. Sex therapists can offer specific suggestions to assist you in learning how to reach orgasm. Additionally, in sex therapy, you (and your partner, when applicable) can work on mindfulness, communication, and other strategies for staying present during sexual activity to increase the likelihood of reaching orgasm.
You would like to talk to someone about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Many individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community face challenges when exploring their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Furthermore, sharing important information about themselves with loved ones and other members of their community can be difficult. A sex therapist can help people embrace their unique identities; express their sexual preferences, interests, and desires freely; and navigate potentially difficult conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity with others.
You need to process sexual trauma.
Past sexual trauma can have a big impact on a person’s current sexual experiences, but people are capable of working through trauma and regaining a pleasurable, healthy sex life. Sex therapists are uniquely qualified to help individuals process the emotions that stem from harmful sexual experiences and find the path toward enjoying future positive sexual experiences.
Fink, J.L.W. (2021, November 27). Do You Need a Sex Therapist? Healthgrades. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/sexual-health/do-you-need-a-sex-therapist
Mayo Clinic. Rullo, J. [Presenter]. (2014, July 30). Sex Therapy at Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Clinic - What to Expect from your Appointment [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqVAH-EQvmA
NCH Healthcare System. (2019, March 16). Sex Therapy. https://nchlibrary.org/person-group-concept/age-concept/adult/45-to-64-middle/prc-20155304/
Watson, L.J. (2012, November 4). Should We See a Sex Therapist? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/married-and-still-doing-it/201211/should-we-see-sex-therapist