What Is Sex Therapy?

For people who are struggling with sexual or emotional issues, sex therapy can be a helpful resource. It is a form of talk therapy, similar to psychotherapy or counseling, but with an added focus on a person’s physical and mental intimacy.

While there are many reasons a couple or individual may choose to pursue sex therapy, common issues include:

During the first session, the therapist will likely ask questions about a client’s health history, sexual history, sex education and beliefs about sex. The therapist will also listen to a client’s concerns and goals. Sex therapists are trained to work with both men and women, as well as non-binary individuals and people who identify as transgender.

The sex therapist may give the client “homework,” such as practicing ten minutes of sensate focus and/or exploring new ways to connect with their body through touch. There is no physical touching or sexual activity between the therapist and client during sex therapy, but instead it is done outside of the session through activities like journaling, role-playing and/or discussing the results of those assignments.

Sometimes a sex therapist will refer their client to a medical doctor, particularly if there is an obvious physical cause of the sexual dysfunction. This will allow the therapist to consult with the client’s physician and together they can help the client reach their sexual goals while addressing any underlying issues.

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