Sexuality & Intimacy Issues
Human sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life – but it can be rather complicated!
What is sex therapy?
Simply put, sex therapy is the treatment of sexual dysfunction. Sex therapy is usually provided by psychologists, social workers, physicians, or licensed therapists who have specialized training in issues related to sexuality and relationships. Certified Sex Therapists have graduate degrees and have demonstrated their competence in sex therapy by becoming credentialed by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). Sexual therapy is one of our primary areas of specialty at Insight, and we have AASECT certified therapists (or those in the process of obtaining certification).
Sex therapy is not only the treatment of sexual dysfunction (commonly identified as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, lack of sexual desire, sexual pain disorders, anorgasmia etc.) but also includes working with concerns about sexual feelings and intimacy, less common alternative sexual practices, kink, gender issues, sexual offending issues, or work on optimizing or exploring new experiences. Sex therapy can also include distressing sexual behaviour, sex addiction (Out of Control Sexual Behaviours), sexual abuse and trauma.
Again, although there are many areas that fall in the sex therapy arena, the term sexual dysfunction is only one small part of the areas worked on. Sex therapy can be effective for individuals of any age, gender, sex, sexual experience, or sexual orientation.
A fear of intimacy is very real. It can be caused by any number of issues, including a low libido, suffering from sexual performance issues, or having sustained a sexual trauma early in life. Social phobias, such as social anxiety disorders, or fears of feeling vulnerable or abandoned, can cause intimacy issues as well.
Signs & Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction and/or Intimacy Issues:
- Avoidance of sexual activity
- Lack of trust
- General or social anxiety
- Avoidance of intimate relationships
- Low libido
- Painful sex,
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Vaginismus (female genital pain disorders)
- Premature ejaculation
When is it time to get help?
If any aspect of your sex life or sexuality is causing your grief when it used to produce pleasure, if you have been the victim of sexual abuse or assault and you are having trouble coping, when the behaviors of sex addiction cause distress in your life or in your relationship, then it’s time to seek help. Be wary of professionals who claim that “sex addiction” is a valid diagnosis and claim that affairs, engaging in kink, or watching pornography are hallmark signs of addiction. These professionals are not Certified Sex Therapists and are trained in a different model that is not currently accepted by psychologists and psychiatrists in our diagnostic and treatment manual.
Some sexual dysfunction issues can threaten your physical health or be a sign of physical health problems. A sex therapist can refer you to physicians or specialists if the primary concern is not psychological. Sexual issues can also impact your well-being, bringing on depression, anxiety, addictions and feelings of inadequacy. As a note, Certified Sex Therapists do not have sexual contact with clients.
Treatment methods for sexuality and intimacy issues
- Psychotherapy is a broad term that encompasses numerous styles of therapy and employs verbal or nonverbal communication with a client to help get to the root of the problem, behavioral issues, personality disorders, and various other types of emotional distress. This form of personal counselling is based on an interpersonal relationship, as opposed to the alternative chemical or physical forms of therapy. As the therapist creates dialogue, you are able to learn more about your moods, behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Understanding these factors helps you to control your life and handle certain situations healthily.
- Crucible Approach Therapy One of the main focuses is on helping clients reach their sexual potential by increasing their overall capacity for both intimacy and passion while at the same time resolving any of their unresolved sexual problems. Additionally, the crucible approach emphasizes personal growth and the family therapy concept called Differentiation, which originally came from Bowenian family therapy. Differentiation focuses on helping individuals tolerate anxiety while facing issues head on, all the while improving their ability to self soothe while they hear and say difficult things. Differentiation also involves improving the ability to hold onto one’s self while maintaining the relationship.
- Group Therapy especially for male sexual dysfunction may be helpful to reduce the stigma and feelings of isolation you may be experiencing.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
You can gain control of your sexual and mental health again! Meeting with a therapist who is trained, experienced or has expertise in the areas of sexual concerns can make a significant difference in your life. Be wary of professionals who claim that “sex addiction” is a valid diagnosis and claim that affairs, engaging in kink, or watching pornography are hallmark signs of addiction. These professionals are not Certified Sex Therapists and are trained in a different model that is not currently accepted by psychologists and psychiatrists in our diagnostic and treatment manual. We may suggest family therapy so that your close relations will be maintained and/or marriage and relationship counselling if you’re in a relationship.