Why Visit A Therapist?

Seeking professional assistance from a therapist is a sign of courage and indicates a willingness to deal with life's challenges. Effective therapy helps you:

* Resolve a variety of issues

* Discover and develop new options

* Make choices that lead you to actions that enrich your life.

Some therapists are relationship specialists and offer counseling for more satisfying and productive relationships and social adjustment. Other therapists have additional expertise in certain specialties. Among these are sex therapists who give specific attention to the way that sexuality (or its absence) affects people's lives and their relationships.



How Does Sex Therapy Work?

People in sex therapy talk with their therapist about their sexual concerns and the changes they desire in their sexuality and in their relationships with others. Sex therapy is intended to help people clarify goals, resolve sexual difficulties, and reach greater levels of sexual satisfaction and fulfillment. The sex therapy process addresses a wide range of issues which influence sexual relationships. It may also affect nonsexual relationships in your life.

It is not necessary for you to be in a relationship to participate in therapy that addresses relationships and sexuality. In fact, sexual concerns sometimes prevent people from having satisfying intimate relationships.



What Makes Sex Therapy Different From General Therapy?

Modern sex therapy has developed far beyond recommending a few changes in sexual techniques. A competent sex therapist will not set aside sexual issues that concern you with comments such as, "Let's just deal with the relationship and the sex will work itself out." Since the general relationship and the sexual relationship affect each other, both are directly addressed in this kind of therapy.

During therapy you and your therapist will talk about your concerns. This often includes discussing past experiences which may relate to your current difficulties and goals. At the same time, this approach deals very much with the here-and-now by helping you resolve the past by dealing with the present. Sex therapy utilizes information from many aspects of people's lives - which can include their jobs, families, friendships and committed relationships.

There is no predetermined number of sessions or timing for these sessions. Some people get what they want in a single session. Others spend a year or more. Most accomplish what they want somewhere in between. The frequency and duration of appointments is jointly determined by the client and the therapist, where the client has the ultimate say over the pace, the focus of growth, and the changes made.



What Issues Does Sex Therapy Address?

In some cases, the source of sexual difficulty may be fairly obvious (such as when medical conditions and illness prevent or diminish pleasure). In those instances, it's important that you receive the latest treatment that combines medicine and psychotherapy most effectively. For those cases, medical consultations and referrals are important parts of treatment.

For many people, the reasons for their particular sexual situation and relationship dilemmas may not be as clear. Sexual communications may be riddled with difficult pitfalls. A vague sense of being sexually unfulfilled exists. Attempts to make changes may have resulted in conflict or a long-standing stalemate. Past experiences may have intruded on the current situation. Attempts at solutions haven't succeeded.

Relationship problems are frequently responsible for sexual difficulties, but the reverse is also true. So, marital and sex therapy are often effectively combined in a comprehensive treatment process to deal with all these types of concerns.

Some of the most common concerns discussed in sex therapy follow, although many related issues are also appropriate for treatment.


Difficulties Related to Sexual Functioning:

Overcoming lack of sexual experience; avoidance of sex; lack of sexual desire; male erection problems; quick ejaculation; delayed ejaculation; female arousal problems; female difficulty or inability to reach orgasm; painful intercourse; and inability to have intercourse.

Difficulties Related to Past Experience:

Recovering from sexual assault; sexual harassment; chemical dependence; sexual inhibition; sexual exploitation as a child and other coercive behaviors.

Issues That Couples Face:

Resolving intimacy obstacles; commitment dilemmas; conflict over sexual frequency; conflict over preferences and behaviors; sexual boredom; the impact of children; and decreased sexual desire.

Issues of Sexual Self-Development:

Overcoming undesirable habits and sexual guilt; enjoyable sexuality in an age of sexually communicable diseases; exploring and integrating sexual orientation; dealing with troubling thoughts or uncommon behaviors; handling sexual issues of aging; managing compulsive behaviors; and ceasing non-consensual behaviors such as exhibitionism and voyeurism.


What Does Sex Therapy Help You Accomplish?

Sex therapy helps people utilize their issues and problems to examine their lives and to develop and experience passionate and fulfilling relationships. By tailoring the treatment plan to specifically fit each individual's needs, the competent sex therapist respects individual values and lifestyles and assists people as thev resolve their difficulties by integrating their attitudes and their actions.

Professional sex therapy provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for individuals and couples with sexual difficulties. Most people are relieved to know that their problems can be resolved and their relationships improved.