About Sex Therapy
Sex therapy offers many of the benefits of couples counselling (see other section), in the context of the sexual relationship. It gives you a safe space to talk frankly and freely about the sexual problem, as you wish to, so that you and your partner learn to communicate openly and think more clearly together about it. This helps you to understand what is causing the problem and how you might move forward to improve the situation. Quite often clients report that the most important aspect of the therapy for them was the support they felt to gain the confidence to talk about difficult sexual matters in front of and with their partner. This is often experienced by both partners as a great relief.
The work can focus on the present, and un-learning unhelpful ways of interacting and learning different ones to improve things; this can sometimes involve practical suggestions and exercises to do at home if appropriate. Alternatively, or in addition, it can draw on past experiences as a way of understanding the causes of the current feelings and ways of behaving, on the path towards changing them. The methods of working are determined by the nature of the problem and your preferences in your couple.
It is important to emphasise that sex therapy is not
about "making you" speak about things, nor about setting an agenda with a fixed "goal". It does not
involve removal of clothing or sexual acts or re-enactments or "practice" in the therapy room. Sexual therapy is about working respectfully and in support of you and your partner, talking together about the sexual problems that you bring. What Situations Can it Help?difficulty talking together about sex
problems reaching orgasm
current difficulties relating to past experiences of sexual abuse
sexual addictions and their impact on the couple
anxiety or distress regarding sex after one partner's illness/surgery and new "technical" challenges for the couple in their sexual activity together
impacts of a disclosed or discovered affairsexual difficulties caused by other stresses or anxieties in daily lifelack of understanding or knowledge about sexsexual worries relating to life stages (getting married, impacts of family stresses, menopause, getting older etc)
What Benefits can be Expected?
At the end of the sex therapy you are likely to have a better understanding of the causes of the sexual problem and greater ability to communicate with each other. You may have released yourselves from old, unhelpful ways of relating and learned constructive, new ones. You may also have a sense of relief, if you have unburdened secrets or aired long-term unspoken problems and worked on them together in the sessions. With these advances you may have solved the problem, or be well on the way to solving it or coping with it, and you are likely to have more awareness, more skills and more space to develop good strategies for coping with sexual problems in the future.