You may have questions…
- What is sex therapy?
- How do I know if a sex therapist can help me/us?
- What happens in sex therapy?
- Is sex therapy covered by my insurance?
- How do we know whether we have an individual or a couples problem?
- What if I’m worried that my partner might be hurt or angry by what I am thinking or feeling?
- What if my partner/spouse won’t come to counseling with me?
What is Sex Therapy?
As defined by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, “Sex Therapy is a sub-specialty of psychotherapy, focusing on the specific concerns related to human sexuality.” What this means is that sex therapy is talk therapy, where the issues that you talk about are sexual concerns. Sex therapists have acquired scientific knowledgeable about sexual functioning, and are trained in ways of helping people deal with sexual problems. My goal in sex therapy is for you to be happy and satisfied with the sexual aspects of your life and relationships.
How do I know if a Sex Therapist can help me/us?
Anyone who is concerned with some aspect of their sexual experience or feelings can benefit from sex therapy. Some issues I can help you with include: experiencing low or no sexual desire, difficulty in becoming sufficiently aroused, performance issues, worries about achieving orgasm too quickly, too slowly or not at all. Sometimes people have concerns about what is “normal”.
Perhaps you are a couple who are unhappy with your intimate relationship for one reason or another. Often, couples find that they have differences in their sexual desire or preferences. They may have different ideas about frequency, emotional intimacy, or sexual style. A sexual relationship that was satisfactory in the beginning may develop problems later on, as a result of children, job and life stressors, medical issues, or aging. Sometimes couples have stopped being sexual for one reason or another, and one or both would like to re-establish their physical relationship.
I work with both individuals and couples to resolve these and similar issues, in order to achieve greater satisfaction and intimacy.
What happens in Sex Therapy?
Because sex therapy is essentially a specialized focus of therapy, your experience of going to a sex therapist will be very much like any other therapy experience. We will start by discussing what issue you would like help with. I will ask you about what is happening (or not happening) now, and how you would like things to be different. I will also get a thorough sexual history. If I am working with a couple, I will start by meeting with both of you together, then I’ll meet with each of you individually. It is important that I understand you, so that I can tailor the therapy to meet your specific needs.
We will have clearly stated goals, and will be working to implement the specific changes that you would like in your life. Sometimes I will also communicate with other professionals involved in your care, such as your physician or other counselor. We will spend some time in the session talking about ideas and feelings about sex, but you will also have “homework assignments” that you will do in the privacy of your home. These may be written or communication exercises, or may be specific experiences that will help you to progress toward your goals.
One thing that will NOT occur: no sexual activity of any kind will occur in my office, nor will I see you outside the office, or ask you to video any sexual acts. Your will never be pressured to discuss anything you are not comfortable with, and all discussions will always be respectful and appropriate.
Is Sex Therapy covered by my insurance?
Because sex therapy is just a specialty of psychotherapy, it may be covered if you have other mental health benefits. As with other mental health treatment, you will only be covered if we are treating a covered mental health disorder. Many people who would like to improve their intimate relationships do not have a diagnosable disorder, or do not want to be labeled with a disorder unnecessarily. In such cases, there is often a decision not to involve the insurance company in their therapy.
At the present time, I am not in-network with any insurance companies; however, you may still be able to recoup some of the cost through out-of-network benefits. I can help you to determine the answer to this question during your initial no-obligation phone consultation.
How do we know whether to do individual or couples counseling?
Anytime either person in a relationship is unhappy with some aspect of their sexual experience, it is a problem for the relationship. Although sometimes individual issues are the underlying source of the difficulty, usually both partners need to be involved in the solution.
What if I’m worried that my partner might become hurt or angry by hearing what I am thinking or feeling?
Many people who have this concern are pleasantly surprised to find that their partner is open to hearing what they have to say, when discussions are conducted in a therapist’s office. Perhaps you’ve tried to have these conversations in the past and have found that talking about your thoughts and feelings just led to tears, anger, or blame. Perhaps there is such a history of talks gone wrong, that the whole subject is off-limits in the relationship.
I have years of experience in creating a safe place for couples to talk about sensitive subjects. If you have a topic that you don’t feel comfortable raising with your partner, we can discuss it ahead of time, and make a plan for presenting it in a safe, and non-threatening way. One of the things I want you and your partner to gain from therapy is how to talk about sexual issues openly and comfortably. Good communication is the first step to good sex!
What if my partner/spouse won’t come to counseling with me?
Although sexual problems experienced by couples can best be solved by both people working together with the same expectations and understanding, I realize that for one reason or another, sometimes both people are not available to come to counseling. In my experience, having one partner gain more understanding of the dynamics involved in the situation, and become prepared to try something different in the relationship is useful, too. I have often counseled individuals, who have been able to make significant changes in their relationships, sometimes without even discussing their intentions with their partners.
When one person does something different, it will create change in the relationship.