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Sex therapy

Sex therapists are specially trained counsellors who try to help couples handle sexual problems and find ways to overcome them.

Other forms of counselling or psychotherapy may be recommended for issues with sex and relationships.

Sex therapy may not always be available on the NHS, but therapists can be found privately through a GP's recommendation, or through organisations like Relate, the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) or the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine.

What happens in sex therapy?

At an initial appointment a sex therapist will listen to the problems and may ask questions about a couple's physical intimacy, to help them work out how they can achieve solutions.

Sessions are usually for both partners, but it may be possible for just one person to attend if appropriate.

Costs of the treatment and the likely number of sessions required should be explained during this appointment.

The next sessions are usually weekly, every 2 weeks or monthly.

During therapy sessions all that's done is talking - but the therapist may suggest different sexual approaches and techniques for the couple to use - and to report back on progress during the next therapy session.

Problems may turn out to be physical, psychological, or a combination of issues.

Relate makes it clear that anything can be discussed during therapy, and the counsellors will not be shocked.

It says that of couples using its sex therapy services, 93% reported an improved sex life afterwards.

Issues tackled during sex therapy

Sex therapy may help with sexual problems for men and women, including:

  • Lack of desire for either partner
  • Men's erection and ejaculation problems
  • Women's orgasm problems
  • Women's painful sex.

Sexual therapy solutions

Possible solutions offered during sex therapy sessions may include:

  • Explanations of the sexual response cycle and sexual stimulation techniques
  • Identifying other issues that may become sexual problems
  • Talking over past traumatic experiences or emotional issues
  • Talking about attitudes toward sex
  • Making sex enjoyable for both partners
  • Whether non-sexual relationship problems should be addressed by different professionals
  • Relaxing and removing distractions before having sex
  • Communicating about things you like or don't like during sex
  • Learning non-sexual touching
  • Reducing pain during sex.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 06, 2016

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