Top 4 Myths About Sex Therapy DEBUNKED!!
Sex therapy is a specialty:
The field of sex therapy is a highly specialized area of talk therapy or psychotherapy that focuses on the assessment and treatment of various sexual concerns or issues such as low arousal, performance concerns, inability to orgasm, pain during intercourse etc. A sex therapist is a specialist in treating sexual issues and usually has advanced & specialized post graduate training in sexuality. Professionally trained sex therapists possess advanced knowledge of the anatomical & physiological responses of the sexual response cycle, are skilled at providing psychotherapy and have expertise in relationship/couples counseling. Despite the fact that sex therapy is a specialty within the field of psychotherapy, several myths and misconceptions exist about sex therapy & sex therapists.
In my professional and personal network, anytime I share that in addition to being a licensed psychotherapist, I am also a trained sex therapist, the reaction of my audience is always either shock or curiosity about what exactly it is that I do.
Here are a few common misconceptions that I have encountered about sex therapy & sex therapists.
Myth # 1: Sex therapy involves a sexual relationship between the therapist and the clients.
Sex therapy is talk therapy and does not involve any type of sexual/physical relationship or touch between the therapist and the clients. In fact, if you are seeing or have seen a professional who claims to be a sex therapist and your sessions involve touch or sexual contact of any kind, that professional is in violation of the ethical and legal guidelines that govern mental health professionals, including sex therapists. Professional sex therapy and psychotherapy never involves sex or intimate physical contact.
It is also important to understand the difference between a sex therapist and a professional surrogate partner. The latter is sometimes a part of the treatment team and works in conjunction with a sex therapist. A professional surrogate partner’s work with a client involves sensual & sexual touching, in addition to helping the client build self-awareness in terms of emotional & physical intimacy skills.
Myth # 2: You have to be in a relationship to seek sex therapy.
Sex therapy benefits both couples and individuals that may or may not be in a committed relationship. In my practice, I work with couples experiencing sexual incompatibility issues as well as individuals that are not in a relationship, but are wanting to explore their sexuality in terms of their attraction template. I also work with individuals that are experiencing sexual difficulties such as difficulty with reaching orgasms or low sexual desire and for sex therapy to be effective, it is not required that they are in a relationship.
Myth# 3: In sex therapy sessions, a sex therapist observes clients having sex.
Sex therapy uses various clinical approaches of psychotherapy to help clients identify and modify thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that are contributing to the sexual difficulty. A part of the treatment is focused on behavioral exercises that are prescribed for the couple or individual to engage in and practice, in the privacy of their home. A sex therapist NEVER watches clients having sex in person or via video.
Myth # 4: A sex therapist will be too embarrassed to deal with my issues.
Most therapists recognize that it is not easy for clients to talk about their problems or feelings in therapy. It is even more difficult for clients to open up and confide in a sex therapist due to the very intimate nature of their issues. A lot of clients are also preoccupied with feelings of anxiety or perhaps even shame due to their sexual issues. They mistakenly believe that the sex therapist would be embarrassed or uncomfortable to hear what they are going through and would not be able to help them.
As a professionally trained sex therapist, there is nothing that I have not heard before and I always reassure my clients that my office is a judgment-free and failure-friendly space. I appreciate the courage that my clients show by seeking sex therapy as well as general psychotherapy and part of my job is to make them feel comfortable and safe enough to be able to discuss their problems without any fear of judgment.
Written by: Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.C.C. specializing in sex therapy, couples therapy & marriage counseling, premarital counseling, individual relationship therapy & LGBTQQI couples counseling at Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. in the East Bay, in Dublin & Oakland.
If you or your partner would like to enhance your sexual connection or need help with a sexual issue or concern, sex therapy at Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. in the East Bay can help. Dr. Clark has advanced & specialized training in sex therapy and she has helped many couples & individuals resolve their sexual difficulties.
Call 925-400-3541 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free phone consult. You can also fill out the contact form and you will be contacted within 12-24 hours.