Having Intimacy Issues?
Sex therapy was born in the 1960s, with the work of pioneering researchers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson. They showed us that many intimacy problems could be cured with a combination of education, whole-body massage and applying specific techniques. They understood that some issues with sex are relationship independent, while others involve both partners. New couples have adjustment problems around who initiates, what is done and when. Couples with children may be exhausted and torn between prioritizing children over each other, leading to fights and feelings of relational doom. And, older couples deal with change of life, medications and diseases that can affect their closeness, desire and ability to perform. Throughout life, our sex lives are shaped and changed, and Masters and Johnson first led us to understand this.
Most doctors don’t get a stitch of sex therapy training in medical school. That means that the advice they offer is limited to their own experience in solving sex problems.
This is where a sex therapist comes in. They won’t suggest a threesome to spice up your sex life, but they will bring perspective to things, suggest a path forward, and provide you with tools to make it happen.
Breaking Down the Swing
Here are the most common reasons to see a sex therapist:
Mismatched sex drive is very common. In about two-thirds of cases, men want more sex than women, but in one-third, it’s the other way around. Either way, it can be problematic. Changes in sex drive can also be addressed.
Organic erection problems due to age or ill health are best treated by a physician. However, situational or stress-related ED, which is more of an unreliable but not truly faulty erection, is best addressed with sex therapy.
Early or premature ejaculation is the most common sexual issue in young men, and it’s curable with therapy. No pills, sprays or creams needed. The same is true for delayed or late ejaculation. Just a matter of relearning the swing.
People avoid sex for many different reasons. They can be religious or cultural, stem from neglect or abuse, or be caused by porn addiction or body image issues. Sexual aversion is also common among cancer survivors and among women following pregnancy.
In cases of sexual addiction or fetishes, sex therapy can be very helpful in providing perspective on the behaviors, thoughts and feelings surrounding sexual urges.
Things can get confusing in periods of coming out or during changes in gender identity. Nice to have a pillar of support during these trying times.
Good sex therapists are a dedicated group of healthcare professionals. Checking with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists is a good place to start.