It is understandable that you’d be concerned with what “sex therapy” might entail. We are often asked what a client might expect from sex therapy at LIIST.
Sex therapy is talk therapy with behavioral components. What that means is, in the office, we talk. The therapist never engages in physical contact with you. At first, we talk about the history of who you are as a person, your family history, your dating/relationship history, your sexual history, and then the history of this problem in particular. With talk therapy, we work through any of the underlying psychological causes of your sexual difficulties. With behavioral therapy, we give you guided activities to do at home either with or without a partner. These activities start out very “low impact” and gradually work their way up to your goal. Each step is met with success before moving on to the next one. Especially throughout this process, your feedback is essential in order for us to customize your treatment to you.
Sex Therapy is a sub-specialty of psychotherapy, focusing on the specific concerns related to human sexuality. People of all ages, creeds, health status, ethnic backgrounds, whether partnered or single, may benefit from working with a psychotherapist who specializes in this area. Certified Sex Therapists use specialized clinical skills and theoretical knowledge to help people solve their sexual concerns.
Unlike general therapists, a sex therapist is specifically trained to work with issues including:
• Body image
• Compulsive sexual behaviors
• Female Orgasmic Disorder
• Female Sexual Arousal Disorder
• Fetish & paraphilias
• Gender identity
• LGBQ Issues
• Male Erectile Disorder
• Male Orgasmic Disorder
• Polyamory issues
• Premature Ejaculation
• Sexual Aversion
• Sexuality & chronic illness
• Sexual Desire
• Sexual Enrichment
• Sexual Pain
• Sexual Trauma
• Sexuality & physical ability
• Sexuality & spirituality
• Transgender/Transsexual issues
A Sex Therapist will meet with the person or couple in an office where an extensive history of the concerns will be taken. A Sex Therapist will note both the psychological and the physical components. After this, a treatment plan will be proposed with your involvement in its development. In some instances, a Sex Therapist may work closely with another physician or therapist to establish causes and remedies for the problems.
A Sex Therapist will educate the person or couple about the issue and options for change. This educational process may occur through suggested reading material, watching educational audio-visual materials, discussion with the therapist, and attending workshops.
A Sex Therapist may suggest a regular schedule of office appointments. Often, homework exercises to be practiced in the privacy of one’s home between office appointments will be suggested. The homework may be as general as communication exercises or as specific as actual sexual experiences.
In no instances will a Sex Therapist engage in any kind of sexual activity with a client in any location. To do so is a breach of ethics, and in some states is a crime.
Read more about what sex therapy at LIIST looks like in an interview about sex therapy with Rosara Torrisi by Judith Meer.
Because collaboration is important, we often combine therapy at LIIST with the many allied individual and couples therapists, gynecologists, urologists, pelvic physical therapists and fertility specialists. You can contact our top Additional Resources here (go to the middle of the page).
Most people start off with weekly appointments for about 2-3 months and then move to every other week appointments for another 2-3 months, then either end therapy or move to monthly maintenance sessions for a few months, with the possibility of progressing to maintenance sessions every 3 months, or annual check-ins if desired.