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What happens at a Sex Therapist appointment?

A Sex Therapist works largely just like any other therapist. You can expect to fill out a form about confidentiality called Informed Concent and some other background information.
Many clients like to take time in advance to explain about their particular concern, usually asking if it falls within the spectrum of sex therapy. If your concern is about sex, sexual function or sexual concern, chances are a Sex Therapist can help. In most cases a Sex Therapist will work with both members of the couple if the client is in a sexual relationship.

A Sex Therapist is bound by the same ethical rules as other therapists about confidentiality, boundaries with clients and maintaining a professional relationship. There is no touch or sexual activity that occurs at a Sex Therapist office. There is no removal of clothes or inspection or manipulation of body parts.

There is a lot of re-education about sex and how our bodies function. There will likely be correction of misconceptions about sex, messages we have picked up during our upbringing will be identified and sometimes modified. There will be extensive information and sexual history gathering. A Sex Therapist may assign homework, books, recommend assistive devices, referrals to other professionals and do trauma recovery.

Sex Therapists are trained to talk to people about sex.  They will do so in a clinical and respectful manner using appropriate language. It’s a lot easier to talk to a Sex Therapist than you would expect, after all, we want to help you get your sexy on.

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What kind of concerns can you bring to a Sex Therapist?

Sex therapists diagnose and treat a variety of concerns. Many individuals and couples experience a drop of and a lack of desire in an otherwise good relationship. For women it’s called “Female desire Sexual Interest/Arousal disorder” and for men it’s called “Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder”.

Because human sexual arousal is a complicated process that involves many different mechanisms, it’s not always easy to pinpoint one culprit. Many times the “reason” is a combination of factors such as; hormonal imbalance and physiological issues. It could be  endometrioses or scar tissue after giving birth, foreskin that is too tight to name a few. Many sexual issues have come about because of a yeast infection that has been passed back and forth between partners without them ever being treated for it at the same time. Our general health can also play a factor in our sexual response.  Things like blood pressure, hypothyroidism, diabetes and aging.

Psychological factors tend to be a part of the issue, anxiety is the polar opposite of sexual desire and depression can dampen desire as well. Stress, lack of sleep and relationship issues will affect your ability to experience normal sexual desire.
A good place to start to think about your ability to desire sex is, do you still have sexual fantasies? Do you still (ever) masturbate? Does the thought of having sex with your partner seem like a lot of work? Those are the kind of questions a Sex Therapist will ask you help you find your sexy back!

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What does a Sex Therapist actually do?

There are few things in life we are less comfortable with talking about as our sex lives. A sex therapist creates a safe space to talk about everything you always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask. The most common question I get is “…is this normal?” Chances are they are very normal, they just have not had a chance to experience normalcy because most people are not in the habit of talking about it.

Sex Therapists are specially trained in analyzing and treating the complexity and layers of sexual concerns. They can additionally teach their clients to enhance and expand their current level of sexuality.

Sex is a complicated phenomenon, involving bodily functions, expectations, history of experiences, even some unconscious psychological messages and has enormous power to affect our self-image. Multiply that complexity by two (or more) people interacting and now we have multiple variables that can interact in unforeseen ways. Don’t believe anyone who tells you sex should be simple, there is nothing simple about it.

Most people grew up with inadequate sex education and sex therapists will spend a fair amount of time re-educating their clients about the specifics of their particular concern.

A sex therapist will diagnose the concern and suggest an appropriate level of clinical intervention. They have knowledge about when to refer clients to doctors, physiotherapists, assistive devices and other resources that can assist them reach their therapeutic goals.