Pleasurable sex is part of overall wellbeing – when sexual difficulties arise this can be distressing and may cause impairment in one or more areas of one’s life. Having sexual difficulties at some point in your life is common and it’s important to know that professional, friendly and effective help is available. You can enter sex therapy by yourself or with your partner(s). Initially sessions are weekly but later in the process the frequency of sessions are usually reduced (unless you want to continue with weekly sessions). The goal of sex therapy is to help clients work through emotional, physical and social blocks to a satisfying, intimate and pleasurable sex life. It is a form of talk therapy so you can expect to speak with your therapist about feelings, thoughts and experiences related to sexual concerns. It’s normal to feel anxious about starting sex therapy. Your therapist will endeavour to create a warm, accepting, non-judgemental and supportive environment so you feel comfortable talking about sex and sexuality.
The first few sessions are usually spent on getting a thorough understanding of the concern and coming up with a treatment plan together with your therapist. As the therapy progresses, your therapist will provide you with education and information about sexuality as most people have not had opportunities to learn about this vital part of themselves. Your therapist may also give you exercises and reading to do at home. If your therapist suspects a physical issue is contributing to sexual difficulties they will refer you to a medical practitioner, and with your permission will likely work together with your medical team to ensure your treatment is comprehensive and holistic. The progress of therapy is regularly re-evaluated to see whether the treatment plan needs to be adjusted and to make sure you are benefitting from the process.
Sex therapy is beneficial for the following:
- Difficulties communicating about sex
- Recovering sexually after injury, illness, surgery and childbirth
- Recovering sexually after trauma and loss (e.g. sexual trauma; miscarriage)
- Navigating sex after an STI diagnosis
- Feeling of sexual inexperience and lack of confidence
- Desire difficulties (e.g. low libido)
- Arousal difficulties (e.g. erectile function)
- Orgasm difficulties (e.g. struggling to orgasm, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation)
- Sexual pain (e.g. pain during shallow or deep penetration)
- Sexual growth, enrichment and exploration