Sexuality and Intimacy Issues
We are proud to offer top quality counselling in sexuality and intimacy.
Simply put, sexuality therapy (also known as sex therapy) is the treatment and exploration of sexual dysfunction and optimal functioning.
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, Counsellors, and Therapists (AASECT).
Sex therapy is one of our primary areas of specialty at Insight, so we have AASECT certified therapists (or those in the process of obtaining certification) and therapists with specializations in this area ready to assist you. Please note, Certified Sex Therapists do not have sexual contact with clients.
The most common reason to participate in sex therapy is for the treatment of sexual dysfunction issues such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, lack of sexual desire, sexual pain disorders, anorgasmia (the inability to achieve orgasm), etc. However, sex therapy also includes working with concerns about sexual feelings and intimacy, less common alternative sexual practices, gender issues, sexual offending issues, or work on optimizing or exploring new experiences. Sex therapy can also involve counselling for sexual offending behaviour, sexual abuse, and trauma.
Sex therapy can be effective for individuals of any age, gender, sex, sexual experience, or sexual orientation.
Questions surrounding sexual therapy
People have common questions or thoughts that may lead you to seek the support of a sex therapist, such as:
- How can I revive my partner’s declining sexual interest?
- How can I make lovemaking more intimate?
- How can I tune in to what my partner wants?
- How can we bring back our sexual desire?
- Do I have a sexual problem?
- Are my children or I at risk of being sexually abused or assaulted?
- What should I teach my children about sexuality?
- What is stopping me from enjoying a healthy sex life?
- What is my gender orientation or preference?
- How is my history of sexual abuse impacting me now?
- Is my Kink a problem or am I mentally ill because of what I’m doing?
We can help you to answer many of these questions!
Sexual dysfunctions issues are rather common. To be defined as a dysfunction, the issue must cause significant impairment in your relationship, job, physical health, or mental/emotional health. This can also include the inability to fully enjoy sexual relations.
Typically, sexual dysfunctions interfere with one or more of the 4 phases of sexual response (excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution), and make it difficult for you to enjoy or to have sexual relations in an authentic way. Sexual issues can also impact your well-being by bringing on depression, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy.
Common Sexual dysfunction issues
- Male issues (erectile dysfunction, low libido, premature ejaculation, etc.)
- Female issues (inability to achieve orgasm (anorgasmia), female genital pain issues)
- Sexual arousal issues
Intimacy and relationship concerns
A healthy and satisfying sex life often includes genuine intimacy. This doesn’t necessarily mean that sex can’t be pleasurable without intimacy, but most couples desire a deep personal connection as the base for their sexual experiences together.
A lack of intimacy can stem from other problems that couples may face such as communications issues, infidelity, or stress. Getting to the source of these problems is a great first step in achieving the intimacy that you desire with your partner.
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.
Symptoms & signs of sexual dysfunction and/or intimacy issues
- Avoidance of sexual activity
- Lack of trust
- General or social anxiety
- Avoidance of intimate relationships
- Low self esteem
- 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, or when the behaviours of sex compulsion (Out of Control Sexual Behaviours) cause distress in your life or in your relationship, then it’s time to seek help.
Sexuality and intimacy issues treatment methods
There are several treatment methods used to treat sexuality and intimacy concerns. Depending on your individual circumstances, your therapist will talk with you about the best treatment approach for your unique needs. Some that are commonly chosen include:
- Gottman couples therapy believes that couples need to be able to work on becoming better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. The foundation of Gottman couples therapy is based on Dr. John and Julie Gottman’s 40+ years of clinical experience and research that is based on interventions and exercises that are structured, goal-oriented and scientifically based.
- Person centered therapy differs from more traditional therapeutic approaches in the belief that, while the therapist has expertise in many areas, the client is the expert on themselves and their lived experiences. People are essentially trustworthy and have a vast potential for understanding themselves while also being able to ultimately resolve their own problems when guided properly.
- Crucible approach therapy. Crucible® Therapy or the Crucible Approach is an integrated therapeutic approach that started out as an integrated treatment for sex, intimacy, and relationship problems. With couples, the therapist will ultimately push them outside of their comfort zone and develop new comfort zones by becoming more emotionally mature.
- Emotionally focused therapy is based on observations and experience. It looks at emotions and emotional intelligence, which helps support stronger and more secure relationships by helping better understand how our actions impact others, and how our emotions drive our interactions.
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. 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. Some sexual dysfunction issues can threaten your physical health or be a sign of physical health problems. A sex therapist can refer clients to physicians or specialists if the primary concern is not psychological.
Insight has therapists who specialize in gender identity, sexuality, and intimacy. If you are struggling, please contact us and we can help you find a therapist that’s right for you.