What is Sex Therapy?

According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.”

 

A fulfilling sex life with self and/or partners is healthy, natural, and deserved.  When sexual “dysfunction” or disconnect occurs, it affects an essential part of one’s wellbeing. Sex therapy is a specialized type of talk-therapy designed to help people address factors impacting sexual satisfaction and wellness. Sex therapy can be utilized and effective with individuals, couples, and relationship systems of any age, gender, sexual orientation, race, spirituality, relationship status, and ability.

 

There are many common concerns within the realm of sexual wellness, including:

  • low or excessive libido

  • lack of interest, desire, or arousal

  • anxiety or fears around sex

  • sexual pain

  • inability to reach orgasm

  • premature ejaculation

  • low confidence

  • erectile dysfunction

  • emotional or physical disconnect

  • past unwanted sexual experiences

  • distress or shame of sexual thoughts or behavior

 

There are many ways in which one’s sexual wellness and functioning is influenced, including medical, psychological, personal, or interpersonal factors. Along with thorough assessment of experiences, symptoms, and history, a sex therapist will assist individuals and partners to:

  • identify goals, challenges, and impact

  • communicate and express emotions

  • increase knowledge about sexual functioning

  • better accept and manage concerns and create change

  • connect to other professionals to address symptoms or causes

 

Sex therapy is an integrative approach that can be short or long term, but every session is held with the intention of support, education, and empowerment. Sex Therapists undergo extensive additional training in human sexuality and sex-positive approaches to hold that title. These mental health practitioners can be licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists. The Certified Sex Therapist (CST) title is a protected credential through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapist (AASECT). Sex therapy is held to the same standards as general talk-therapy regarding ethics, structure, and treatment process.

 

Overall, if you are looking to enhance your sexual wellness and satisfaction, talking with a sex therapist may be a good place to start.

Virtual therapy available to
Michigan residents.
586-930-6500
Sara Marino, LMSW, LMFT, CST, ADS
Therapist + Owner
pronouns: she/her/hers

© 2020 by Eternways Counseling Services LLC

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