What Is Sex Therapy, and What Can It Do for Your Sex Life?

In its next column for The Latch, BARE Therapy dives deep into all things sex therapy, including what it takes to become a sex therapist, how to choose the right one for you and what sex therapy can do for your sex life.

What Is Sex Therapy?

So, first thing’s first, what exactly is sex therapy? Sex therapy is any type of counselling or other therapy that addresses a person’s psychological or physical sexual problems. A client may see a sex therapist for any concerns they have as an individual or as a couple(+), concerning their sex life — big or small.

These include issues with self-esteem, sexual health including STIs and genital conditions, stress and anxiety, trauma, communication, parenting or conceiving, illness, surgery and recovery, body image, dysfunction, mismatched libido, cultural differences, disabilities and more. Essentially, if you’ve got even a niggling belief that your sex life could be better than it is, a sex therapist could help.

A common misconception is that sex therapy is hands-on and that the therapist will physically ‘guide’ you. In fact, sex therapy is all about the mind and the focus is on unpacking any inhibitions, self-beliefs, or traumas relating to your sexuality. Sex surrogates, pelvic floor physiotherapists, bodyworkers and other hands-on workers can provide a guided approach that could be complementary to sex therapy if recommended by your sex therapist.

Common reasons to see a sex therapist include if you’re asking…:

  • Why is my partner hornier than I am?
  • Might I be bisexual/gay/pansexual/otherwise?
  • Why does it hurt when I have sex?
  • What can I do if my partner and I are growing apart?
  • Did my childhood experience influence my sex life?
  • How can I feel more sensual?
  • How can I respectfully make love to my partner who has a disability?
  • Why don’t I want to have sex?
  • And more.

What Qualifications Do Sex Therapists Have?

The most recognised way to become a sex therapist in Australia is to train as a counsellor or psychologist, and then do additional study specialising in sex therapy, also known as psychosexual studies or sexology. Specialising in sex therapy requires years of study, contributions to the field and a passion for the subject — all of which make sex therapists well-versed to help people of all cultures with any sex-related issues they may have.

Why Is Sex Therapy Becoming More Prominent?

There’s currently a bit of a sexual revolution happening in Australia, with many sex therapists being profiled in media as they continue to break taboos about stigma related to sexual pleasure and sex positivity. These include the wonderful Georgia Grace, Chantelle Otten, Aleks Trkulja and Dr Christopher Fox, each of whom educates us on sex education through client 1:1s and couples’ sessions or through their own social feeds. If you’re unsure if sex therapy is for you, following their accounts is a great way to wade into the topic and learn more about what it is they do before you book an appointment.

How Do You Pick the Right Sex Therapist for You?

As with any therapy, it’s important to find someone to who you can relate and feel comfortable opening up. Most therapists offer a free consultation to see if you’re a good fit and if the type of therapy they specialise in is right for you. The best therapeutic results come from complete honesty, with yourself and your therapist. You can find a therapist in your area that matches your cultural, ethical, or spiritual beliefs by visiting Psychology Today or typing your preferences into Google.

So, whether you think you could add a little more spice to your relationship or you’re looking to combat some deeper concerns, try speaking with a sex therapist to increase your confidence — and improve your life.

BARE Therapy specialises in helping clients with all relationships – self, intimate, work, family. Follow for tips and advice: @bare__therapy

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