What Is Sex Therapy
Many people joke that they don't need to see a therapist because they have friends to rely on. Sometimes, though, working through harder stuff requires the help of an unbiased trained professional. And if your issues happen to be about sex, then a sex therapist might just be the thing you need. Not sure if you're ready for therapy? Here are six signs it's time to see a sex therapist:
1. You and your partner have mismatched desires
Maybe your partner has a higher libido than you do, or perhaps you want to explore BDSM, but your partner doesn't. This is where a sex therapist can help. They can help you and your partner explore options and learn how to compromise in the bedroom so that everyone is happy. It could also be that your partnership isn't working due to fundamentally incompatible desires, in which case a sex therapist can guide you through bringing it to a respectful end.
2. You want an open relationship
If you and your partner are thinking about opening up your relationship, a sex therapist can help establish boundaries, so both of you feel safe and fulfilled. This could mean anything from having a one-night stand once a year to dating multiple people at once. The goal is for both partners to feel respected and understood.
3. You're exploring your sexual orientation and/or gender identity
Exploring both your gender identity and sexual orientation safely can feel like a daunting task. But a sex therapist can help you navigate these questions, reassuring you that there is nothing wrong with you, and aid you in critical self-discovery. This can be especially helpful if you're in a relationship and have been keeping such thoughts from your partner out of fear.
4. You're working through sexual trauma
Enjoying sex after experiencing sexual trauma may seem impossible, but a sex therapist might help get you there. Recovering from sexual trauma is different for everyone. Most sex therapists are trained to meet clients where they're at and help them move forward to have fulfilling sex lives.
5. It's physically difficult for you to have sex
If you're experiencing pain or physical difficulty when you try to have sex, it's essential to first rule out any physical conditions before seeing a sex therapist. Tons of things can cause painful sex, like UTIs, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. But if there are no medical issues at play, a sex therapist can help you explore psychological components that could be causing pain, such as anxiety about having sex.
6. You're overcoming sexual shame
A sex therapist can help you overcome things that bring you shame, even if that emotion is unwarranted. When you feel shameful, especially about sex, you might feel like you're not normal or worthy of having a healthy, satisfying sex life. But a sex therapist can help you work through all that so you can actually enjoy sex.
So, how do you even find a great sex therapist?
Finding the right therapist is a lot like dating. Despite their credentials, therapists are people, too. You might meet therapists you don't get along with personality-wise, but when you find the one, you'll know. To get started, browse therapist profiles on Psychology Today, or if you have insurance, ask your insurance company for some referrals.
- "6 Signs It Is Time to See a Sex Therapist," Huffington Post, November 5, 2016.
- "8 Signs a Sex Therapist Might Improve Your Life," Self, October 26, 2018.