Sex therapy is a subspecialty of psychotherapy, focusing on specific concerns related to human sexuality. People of all ages, creeds, health statuses, ethnic background, whether partnered or single, may benefit from working with a psychotherapist who specializes in this area. Often, it is considered to be a sensitive subject for many individuals and partnered relationships.
Sexual health issues have a profound effect on a patient’s quality of life including objectively measured decreases in physical satisfaction, emotional satisfaction, and general happiness. Sexual problems are associated with feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, and depression, and frequently impact patient’s relationships and mood states. Once a proper diagnosis has been established, treatment can be provided by professionals credential by The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) (http:www.aasect.org), with the goal to have a more satisfying quality of life overall.
It is estimated that twenty to thirty million American men suffer from sexual health issues. Despite significant progress in sexual medicine research and traditional clinical therapies in recent years, sexual problems still remain among the most frequently overlooked and mismanaged patient complaints. Few healthcare professionals have the opportunity to be trained in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions. Certified AASECT Sex Therapists are trained above and beyond didactic information and are expected to complete several years of supervised (by way of direct observation or video recording) clinical training (generally at a postgraduate level) in the practice of sex therapy with a wide array of clients. This education includes therapy with individuals, couples, groups, men and women, and sexual minorities learning to deal with a broad range of DSM disorders and other sexual concerns. What makes sex therapy unique is the knowledge about human sexuality and sexology that practitioners must acquire during the training process.
Issues treated by AASECT Certified Sex Therapist
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fear of intimacy
- Premature ejaculation
- Desire discrepancies
- Coping with changes in your body and sexual life as you age
- Exploring LGBT-related issues
- Painful intercourse
- Coping with sex and chronic illness, pain, or cancer
- Difficulty maintaining erections
- Discomfort with your body image
- Couples therapy for sexual problems
- Sexually compulsive behaviors and sexually anorectic/avoidant behaviors
- Addressing unique sexual concerns
- Lack of sexual desire
- Surviving and thriving after negative sexual experiences
- Performance anxiety related to intimacy
- Establishing realistic sexual goals for yourself and your relationship
Sex therapy assists people in gaining a deeper understanding of their own sexuality and how it affects their lives and their relationships. The purpose is to help individuals and couples learn how to communicate their sexual needs and desires, and deepen their sexual lives either as an individual or as a couple. The process can appear frightening and at times confusing. Treatment outcome primarily is dependent upon an individual’s willingness to bring about fundamental change with a clear intention about what one personally wants to gain from the process.