HEALTH HARMONY GROWTH BALANCE
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Sexuality is a reality of life. People often seek therapy for issues related directly or indirectly to sex. Talking about sex and sexuality is often part of the experience of therapy. Various difficulties related to sexuality may lead people to seek therapy or the issues may simply arise during the course of treatment. To name just a few examples:
Anxiety about sex
Unwanted sexual impulses or compulsions
Lack of sexual desire
Anxiety or uncertainty about sexual orientation
Conflicting or imbalanced sexual desires between partners
Recovery from sexual abuse or sexual assault
Body image issues
Through sex therapy, you can address concerns about sexual function, sexual feelings and intimacy — either in individual therapy or in joint therapy with your partner. Sex therapy can be effective for adults of any age, sex or sexual orientation.
What is “Sex Therapy?”
Sex therapy addresses the needs of both individuals and couples who have concerns about their sexual desires, relationships, pleasures or performance. Often, couples who have great relationships but want to “spice up” and otherwise improve the sexual side of intimacy will work with a sex therapist as a “sex mentor” to help them gain inspiration, ideas and skills. Other times, sex therapy is one aspect of psychotherapy and couples counseling.
If any aspect of your sex life or sexual relationship is concerning you, or if your sexual connection with your partner isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, then talking to a trained, credentialed sex therapist is probably the best choice you can make. Here’s why:
Sex is never separate from other aspects of who we are, or from the context of our lives and relationships as a whole. Still, if one of your concerns is sexual, then working with someone who has special training, experience, and knowledge about sexual matters is essential.
Most credentialed sex therapists are trained as full-fledged psychotherapists with a Masters or Ph.D. degree, usually in psychology, counseling, or social work. However, they also have additional advanced training in sexology and wide-ranging sex therapy methods. It’s this additional training—as well as ongoing continuing education in the field—that really distinguishes a Certified Sex Therapist from other types of therapists.
Some people, and even some mental health professionals, hold the mistaken notion that sex therapists address merely the functional part of sex—i.e., getting or keeping an erection, having an orgasm, desire and arousal (or lack thereof), sexless relationships, pain with sex, or sexual preferences and identity. While it’s true that sex therapy does deal with these issues, that’s often just the starting point. Our sexuality is connected to every aspect of our selves, and we can’t really split-off body from psyche.
Our sexual self is informed by the culture we grew up in and the community we live in now; it’s affected by the way we learned about sex and our early relationship experiences. Our sexuality influences how we feel about our bodies, our physical health, our moods, and, of course, the satisfaction we find in our intimate relationships. A sex therapist has to be expert at working with all of the puzzle pieces of her clients’ lives—emotional, mental and physiological; past, present, and future—in order to help them fit together.