What Is Sex Therapy And Sex Therapy Techniques

Sex therapists can draw from any number of sex therapy techniques to address sexuality-based concerns. Regardless of the approach, a lot of the work in sex therapy techniques are based on unpacking narratives and belief systems.
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sex therapist in the office
Have you ever wondered what sex therapists do (or don’t do) and what goes on in their offices?


Sex therapy is a subset of psychotherapy, which is a broad term for talking with a mental health expert to address mental health issues. Sex therapy techniques address problems regarding sexual function, sexual feelings, and intimacy through sex therapy, which can be done alone, in couples, or in a family setting.

Individuals of any age, gender, or sexual orientation can benefit from sex therapy techniques.

Licensed psychologists, social workers, doctors, or licensed therapists who have extensive training in topics relating to sexual and relationship health typically give sex therapy. Sex therapists that have earned certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists have earned a master’s degree and can demonstrate their competency in the field of sex therapy (AASECT).

In the workplace or anywhere else, sex therapists do not have sexual contact with their clients. Physical contact during sexual coaching is not part of orthodox sex therapy techniques.

Sex therapy is usually done for a short period of time and with a limited number of sessions. Treatment plans, on the other hand, are dependent on the issues and objectives being addressed.

sex therapy techniques

Sex therapy may assist you with a variety of sexual issues, from worries about sexual function to relationship problems. You can use sex therapy techniques to address issues such as:

  • Concerns regarding sexual arousal or desire
  • Concerns regarding one’s sexual preferences or inclination
  • Sexual activity that is impulsive or obsessive
  • Concerns about erectile dysfunction
  • Early ejaculation (premature ejaculation)
  • Problems with sexual arousal
  • Orgasm is difficult to achieve (anorgasmia)
  • Intercourse that is excruciating (dyspareunia)
  • Intimacy problems caused by a handicap or a chronic illness
  • Concerns about previous unwanted sexual encounters

How do you get ready?

You can get a referral to a sex therapist from your health care physician, or you can check with a nearby hospital or medical center to see if they offer a sexual medicine clinic. It’s also possible that your health insurer or employee assistance program will provide recommendations.

You can also contact a professional group like AASECT for assistance. Alternatively, check for a licensed and certified sex therapy practitioner on the websites of psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and psychiatrists.

Consider whether or not you would be a good fit for a sex therapist before booking sessions. You might pose queries like the ones listed below.

Education and experience are both important. What is your background in terms of education and training? Do you have a state-issued license? Are you a member of AASECT? What has been your experience with a sexual problem like mine?

Logistics. What is the location of your office? What are the hours of your office?

Treatment strategy. What is the duration of each session? What is the frequency of sessions? How long do you think the therapy will last? What is your policy on rescheduled appointments?

Fees as well as insurance. What is the cost of each session with you? Is my health insurance plan going to cover your services? Is it necessary for me to pay the entire price up front?

Before your scheduled appointment

Make a list of the following items to bring to your appointment:

  • Details about your condition, such as when it began, if it is persistent or sporadic, professionals you’ve visited, therapies you’ve taken, and their effects.
  • Personal information that is absolutely necessary, such as your medical problems and any major pressures or recent life changes.
  • All of your prescriptions, including over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, vitamins, other supplements, and herbal remedies, as well as their doses
  • The following are some questions to ask your therapist regarding your sexual difficulties.

What you may anticipate

You’ll probably start sex therapy by outlining your personal sexual issues. Sexual difficulties are complex, and your therapist will want to understand all of the elements at play. This usually entails a thorough examination of your past as well as any current sexual or relationship issues. You and your therapist will explore methods to resolve your difficulties and enhance your communication and intimacy after your sex therapist has a better understanding of the scenario.

It’s natural to feel embarrassed or anxious while discussing sex and intimacy. Sex therapists, on the other hand, are educated to put you at ease and to detect and explore sexual difficulties.

If you’re in a relationship, it’s typically best to include your spouse in your sex therapist sessions. A series of homework activities will most likely be provided to you and your partner, such as:

  • Exercises in communication with your spouse
  • Mindfulness approaches, for example, include slowing down and concentrating on what you’re feeling during sexual meetings.
  • Reading about sexual health or viewing informative movies on the subject.
  • Changing both your sexual and nonsexual interactions with your spouse

Sex therapy is generally only used for a brief period of time. Some issues can be resolved quickly, in as little as a few visits. However, in most cases, many therapy sessions are required.

You can utilize your home experiences to identify and refine the topics you’d like to concentrate on as your sex therapy proceeds. Remember that physical contact-based sexual coaching is not part of standard sex therapy techniques and is against licensed mental health providers’ ethics.

Other concerns

Remember that sex and intimacy troubles are frequently tied to other underlying disorders like stress, anxiety, or depression. In some circumstances, chronic disease, drug side effects, surgery, or age have an impact on sexual function.

Seeing a sex therapist alone may be adequate, depending on your issues and physical health, or your sex therapist may be part of a team that includes your primary care physician and other health care experts. Medication may be beneficial for some sexual issues. A comprehensive medical examination can assist you in determining the nature of your condition and the treatment choices that are available to you.


You may learn to articulate your issues accurately via sex therapy, as well as better understand your own and your partner’s sexual demands.

Remember that successful sex therapy techniques necessitates mutual trust and open lines of communication with your therapist. If you don’t trust your sex therapist, consider sharing your concerns in a therapy session or finding another therapist with whom you are more at ease.


  • Holloway V, et al. Sex drive and sexual desire. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2015;28:424.
  • Certification overview. American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. https://www.aasect.org/aasect-certification. Accessed Jan. 11, 2019.
  • Code of ethics and conduct for AASECT certified members. American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. https://www.aasect.org/code-ethics. Accessed Jan. 11, 2019.
  • Sex therapy and counseling. The North American Menopause Society. https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/sex-therapy-and-counseling. Accessed Jan. 11, 2019.
  • ACOG committee opinion: Sexual health. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Sexual-Health. Accessed Jan. 11, 2019.
  • Clayton AH, et al. The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health: Process of care for management of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2018;93:467.
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  • Vencill JA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 12, 2019.


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