Sex therapy is talk therapy aimed at helping individuals and couples overcome challenges that may negatively affect their sexual satisfaction. Talking about your sex life with a therapist may sound scary, and you may not know what to expect in sex therapy.
This blog post aims to provide information about the purpose of sex therapy, how to prepare for your first sex therapy session, what to expect during a sex therapy session, and the role of open and honest communication in sex therapy.
Understanding the purpose of sex therapy
The purpose of sex therapy is to enhance and provide support for several different areas of sexuality. Some of these areas include, but are not limited to:
- Treatment of sexual dysfunction
- Addressing concerns about sexual feelings and intimacy
- Exploration of alternative sexual practices or kink
- Support for gender issues
- Optimizing sexual functioning
- Addressing sexual offending issues
- Building an understanding of mind-body connection as it relates to sexuality
- Improving communication with your partner
- Building skills for pleasure and arousal
- Learning ways to manage anxiety around sex
Sex therapy can provide numerous benefits for couples, including helping them overcome challenges that may negatively impact their sexual satisfaction. By addressing issues like mismatched libidos, sexual pain disorders, or communication problems, therapy can help partners create a fulfilling sex life and enhance their intimate relationships. To learn more about the benefits of sex therapy for couples, you can read our recent article, which discusses the benefits of sex therapy for couples in more detail. The article also provides valuable information on the signs that indicate a need for sex therapy, common reasons couples seek help, and how to navigate the challenges of intimacy in a relationship.
Preparing for your first sex therapy session
Preparing a list of questions or topics you want to cover may help you feel more prepared for your first session. We recognize that sharing intimate information about your sex life may be intimidating, so it is important to know before your first session that your therapist will help you feel as comfortable as possible and create a non-judgmental space.
For your first sex therapy session, please just come into the office and try to relax. You may attend sex therapy alone, or with your sexual or romantic partner. We want to make clients feel as comfortable as possible, even though we will discuss intimate information. Please be prepared for the therapist to incorporate proper terminology for body parts and possibly ask intimate questions to get an idea of what is going on from a medical perspective, emotional perspective, sexual perspective, past trauma perspective and sometimes religious perspective.
What to expect during a sex therapy session
During a sex therapy session, your therapist will ask questions related to your health and sexual background, beliefs and attitudes toward sex, and sexual education you received to address concerns related to your sex life. If you are attending sex therapy with your partner, these questions will be addressed to each of you.
Often clients’ sexual challenges are linked to thoughts and behaviours that clients may not even recognize they are engaging in. Your therapist will work with you to identify these patterns and provide tools and ‘homework’ aimed at helping you and your partner overcome sexual issues.
Please note that homework is completed by clients in the privacy of their own homes, and there will be no physical contact or sexual activity between clients and their therapist.
The role of open and honest communication in sex therapy
Sexuality is a sensitive subject for many people, which may make it initially intimidating to share intimate details about your sex life with a therapist 1. However, when clients withhold information in sex therapy, it can make the treatment less effective and beneficial 1. Insight Psychological’s sex therapists are equipped with extensive training to assist clients with any concerns or questions; nothing is ‘too taboo’. We also offer online counselling sessions, which could be a more comfortable environment for clients to speak to a therapist about sexual issues 2.
Overall, the more information your therapist has, the better equipped they are to create an effective treatment plan and educate or make recommendations that may assist you and your partner create a more fulfilled sex life.
If you want to learn more about sex therapy and determine if it would be a good fit for your concerns, Insight Psychological is here to help. Be sure to tune in to our podcast ‘Up the Rabbit Hole with a Sex Therapist’ where Dr. Cory Hrushka and Brandi Enns talk about all things sex and gender and answer questions sent to us via Ask A Therapist on our website. The podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Music. Call 780-461-1717 or click here to book with one of our Edmonton or Calgary therapists today!
- Love, M., & Farber, B. A. (2019). Honesty in psychotherapy: Results of an online survey comparing high vs. low self-concealers. Psychotherapy Research, 29(5), 607–620. https://doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2017.1417652
- Weir, K. (2019). CE Corner: Sex therapy for the 21st century: Five emerging directions. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/02/cover-ce-corner