What Is a Sex Therapist, and When Should You See One?

Sexual issues can be disheartening, but the good news is that you don’t have to go through them alone. More and more people are turning to sex therapists to help them work through their intimacy-related concerns, and for good reason

What is sex therapy, how can it help, and when should you see one? We’re here with everything you need to know.

What Does a Sex Therapist Do?

As a whole, the field of professional therapy is about addressing and improving mental health. Therapists are licensed, trained mental health professionals, like clinical social workers, who have devoted their lives to helping people change for the better.

There are plenty of different specialties involved in mental health. You can see a family therapist, a marriage counselor, or even attend a group therapy session for addiction. 

A sex therapist focuses their attention strictly on providing in-depth psychotherapy (talk therapy) to people going through sexual problems. 

How Do You Know if a Sex Therapist Is a Good One?

It doesn’t matter how committed you are to making changes in your sex life if you don’t have the right sex therapist. While choosing a therapist can ultimately be a little trial and error, there are a few ways to help you stack the odds more in your favor. 

Most importantly, a good sex therapist will do everything to make you (and your partner, if you’re going to therapy together) comfortable. Therapy is about trust, so you have to be able to open up to them without feeling judged to make any progress. 

Word of mouth from people you trust is a great way to ensure you get a good sex therapist. It can help to ask any of your friends who have gone to sex therapy who they’d recommend. You should also check to see if they’re an AASECT certified sex therapist, which means they’ve gotten the training and education they need to be as much help as possible. 

What Kinds of Problems Can a Sex Therapist Address?

What is sex therapy? While it means different things to different people, there are specific sexual concerns that sex therapists can handle. Here are a few ways a sex therapist can help you improve your love life. 

Lack of Sexual Desire

Sexual desire is usually a combination of physical and emotional factors. If you’ve noticed that your interest in having sex with your partner has waned (or gone away entirely), a sex therapist can help! 

They can guide you toward ways to increase your physical sensation during sex (like our Arousal Oil) while also helping you work through any emotional burdens that may be holding your sex drive back. 

Infidelity or Addictions

Infidelity can be extremely hard on a relationship, whether you were the one who cheated or the one who was cheated on. It gets even more complicated if sexual addiction or compulsion is involved. Sex therapy can help you heal from infidelity and find a way to move forward if that’s what you’ve decided you want. 

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Sexual dissatisfaction can also negatively impact your relationship with your partner inside and outside the bedroom. Unfortunately, it can be tricky to open up and talk to your partner about your sexual satisfaction, especially if you’re worried about hurting their feelings. 

A sex therapist can bridge that gap and teach you how to communicate more effectively with them so that you can make your sexual experiences far more mutually pleasurable.

Physical Intimacy

Sometimes the issues in your sex life are with the physical intimacy and not necessarily the sex itself. A lot of times, this can occur as a defense mechanism after experiencing sexual trauma. 

Therapy is crucial to addressing issues with physical contact, and a sex therapist can help navigate what may be a painful time in your life. 

Sex therapists can also help with sexual functioning by helping you and your partner work through physical issues like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. They may also refer to other healthcare professionals if you need additional help with a specific medical condition. 

Sexual Orientation and Expression

As we go through life, we grow, change, and learn more about who we are. Sometimes that journey will take us down unexpected paths, like changes to our sexual expression and orientation. Sex therapy can help you live a more genuine life, embracing who you were always meant to be. 

What Are the Benefits of Seeing a Sex Therapist?

The benefits of seeing a sex therapist can be seen not only in the bedroom. Connecting with your partner and learning how to communicate with them openly helps you improve your sexual activity, satisfaction, and relationship as a whole. It can also help you reduce your anxiety around the act of intimacy and feel more comfortable in your body.

Who Should See a Sex Therapist?

Anyone experiencing problems in their sex life can benefit from seeing a sex therapist. If any of the following sound familiar, here’s your sign to schedule that appointment.

  • You and your partner have stopped being intimate.
  • You’re experiencing performance anxiety.
  • You haven’t been able to reach orgasm.
  • You’re dealing with low libido.
  • You or your partner are having problems with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or other sexual dysfunctions.
  • You’ve noticed trouble getting aroused or have started having pain with intercourse. 

What Does a Sex Therapy Session Look Like?

So your appointment for sex therapy has been scheduled — what now? Knowing a little bit more about a sex therapy session can help you feel less anxious and more confident.

Communication Techniques

What is sex therapy? Ultimately, it’s really about communication. 

Sex therapists will work with you on finding new communication techniques and using them to talk more openly about your sexual health. Ideas like taking a bath with your partner so that you can talk to them without distraction can be a great place to start. 

Educational Content

Sex therapy also involves a huge component of education. It’s shocking how much we don’t know about our bodies and how they work. 

Sex therapists are sex educators and are well versed in human sexuality. They’ll discuss any relationship issues but can also address the physical side of sexual dysfunction. 

Homework Assignments

A lot of times, your sex therapist will send you home with homework. But don’t worry; this isn’t those boring papers you had to write back in high school. Sex therapy homework is a lot more hands-on

It may be that your assignment is to explore your own body so that you can learn about what turns you on or to break out the sexual aides and get intimate with your partner. Sexologists also love to teach people about a tool called sensate focus. 

Sensate focus can help you improve your communication and intimacy around your sex life through touch. But this isn’t just sexual touch. Sensate focus makes you pay attention to the act of touching your partner and having them touch you. It creates a sense of mindfulness around physical intimacy so that you can be more present in the moment when you’re getting it on. 

The Bottom Line

What is a sex therapist? Seeing a sex therapist can help fix problems with your intimacy, both in the bedroom and outside of it. Focusing on your sexual health and wellness is just as crucial as every other part of your life. 

If your sex life is leaving something to the imagination, you don’t have to just deal with it. Take charge and schedule an appointment today.


AASECT Certified Sex Therapist | AASECT

Understanding and Managing Compulsive Sexual Behaviors | PMC

American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists | AASECT

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