What is sex therapy?
Sex therapy is a type of psychotherapy focused on the treatment of sexual dysfunction and sexually-oriented problems when there is no medical or physiological reason. It can also be a complement to medical treatment.
What does a sex therapist do?
Sex therapy is provided by sex therapists, who are psychologists, counsellors or healthcare professionals who have completed special training in issues related to sex and relationships. The role of a sex therapist differs from that of a sexual surrogate. A sex therapist does not engage in physical contact as part of sex therapy.
How can sex therapy help me?
Sex therapy allows you to address your concerns about sexual functioning, sexual feelings and intimacy either in individual therapy or in joint therapy with your partner. It can help you resolve various issues from concerns about sexual function or feelings to the way you relate to your partner. Through sex therapy, you can better understand your own and your partner's sexual needs and learn to communicate more clearly. In doing so, you will increase your chances of gaining a more satisfying sex life.
What happens in a sex therapy session?
A therapy session will initially involve you talking about your problem, to help you and the therapist get a better understanding of it. All of the work you do in the therapy room is based on talking. Talking about sex and intimacy may initially feel awkward. Sex therapists are trained at putting you at ease and are skilled at identifying and exploring sexual concerns.
What questions will be asked?
Sexual issues can be complicated so it is important for your therapist to gather information from you in order to get a clear idea of all the factors involved and to determine the nature of the problem. Questions which are usually asked include your current sexual functioning and your sexual, relational and family history.
Once your therapist gains a good understanding of your concern/s, a range of treatment options which may be appropriate for your situation will be discussed. You will receive support to help you decide the approach which best meets your individual needs and circumstances.
What will I be asked to do?
In sex therapy, it is a usual part of the treatment plan for homework exercises to be assigned. These are done by yourself or with your partner in your own time. These exercises and tasks may include things to do or try, to talk about, or to read.
Is sex therapy enough to resolve a sexual concern?
Depending on your concern/s and your physical health, sex therapy may be enough. However, some sexual issues are best addressed by a team that includes the sex therapist, your GP and a specialist. In certain cases medication may be helpful.
Who should attend?
You can attend sex therapy by yourself, but if you are in a relationship, it's usually more helpful to involve your partner.
Is the session confidential?
The information you disclose to your therapist is confidential except where the therapist believes that you or another person is at risk of harm or where your consent is given to share information with another person such as your GP.
How long is the session?
Sessions usually last for approximately 50 minutes. After your first one or two visits, you will have an idea of the number of sessions needed and frequency of appointments.