What is a sex therapist?
Have you ever wondered what is a sex therapist and how they differ from a regular therapist? Why does someone need to see a sex therapist?
According to the American Board of Sex Therapy, sex therapy “deals with the problems of sexual function of people.” So, does that mean that sex therapists show people how to have sex? No – that is what sex surrogates are for! (More about that later.) Therapy consists of counseling, education, instruction and guidance in order to achieve a sexually satisfying life. Sex therapy is completely talk therapy . . . . with some fun homework!
How Is A Sex Therapist Different From A Regular Therapist, Social Worker Or Marriage Counselor?
Sex therapy is psychotherapy focusing on sexual issues. Sexual matters can not be addressed by just any therapist. When studying to be a counselor, social worker or psychologist, there’s only a few classes on human sexuality. A few classes does not make someone an expert. A sex therapist focuses only on sexual problems and helps improve and enhance a patient’s sexuality. Usually, a sex therapist is licensed by their state and can only practice in their state.
Then What Is A (Clinical) Sexologist?
A sexologist understands the science behind sex and the body. They are the best at diagnosing and treating sexual concerns and dysfunctions. Although a sexologist has completed specialized training, they are not a licensed mental health counselor. To be certified as sexologist by the American Board of Sexology, you must hold a doctorate (Ph.D.). However, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. to be a sexologist. If you are in a state where a license is required to practice sex therapy or sex counseling, you may also call yourself a sexologist because they are required to have more hours of education in sexology.
Why Is Sex Therapy Necessary?
Now that we understand the who, let’s discuss the why.
“Sex therapy is the result of relatively recent scientific attention to human sexual function and dysfunction. . . At a time in our society when sexuality is being more openly discussed, we are beginning to realize how uninformed many people really are about this important personal topic,” says the American Board of Sexology. So true. Who was really paying attention in health class when they were barely skimming the surface of the birds and the bees?
There’s so much we don’t know or understand, yet it oddly affects who we are. The experiences you go through and the feelings you have make you who you are. Those experiences and feelings not only affect you, but they also affect your relationships, especially with your sexual partner. Therapy helps you understand who you are and what you expect from your partner. There is no denying that sex is a huge part of the relationship with your partner. Everyone knows where dissatisfaction with your sexual relationship and the loss of intimacy leads . . . .
What Issues Will A Sex Therapist or Sexologist Help You With?
A sex therapist or sexologist can help with many sexual issues:
- Difficulty communicating needs and desires
- Gender Identity
- Intimacy issues because of sexual abuse or rape
- Low libido
- Non-traditional relationships such as polymory
- Sex and aging
- Sexual complusion
- Sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, ejaculatory control difficulties.
- Sexual functioning due to physical disabilities
- Sexual orientation
- Understanding fetishes
Since most of us were goofing off in health class, many people have no clue about the penis or the vagina. There are so many women who don’t know where on their body they feel pleasure, what kind of touch they like, and where and how they like to be touched. Unfortunately, there are many women (and some men) with body image issues or who feel shameful about sexual thoughts/feelings.
A sex therapist can help you be more confident in and out of the bedroom. Once you learn how to communicate, be comfortable with yourself and take risks in the bedroom, you can do it anywhere!
What Is A Sex Surrogate?
Sometimes a sex surrogate is needed to help with the therapy. A sex surrogate educates and shows someone how to have sex to achieve a therapeutic goal. Surrogates offer therapeutic exercises to help the patient, which could include relaxation techniques, talking dirty, social skill, and how to touch someone.
It’s OK To Need Help
Dawn Michael, Clinical Sexologist, The Happy Spouse
No matter who you talk to, as with any therapist, make sure you are comfortable with that person. If it’s not working, try someone else. Make sure to check their credentials and qualifications before you begin.
There’s no shame in getting help. The end goal is to be happy and sexually fulfilled. There’s definitely no shame in that.
If you need to talk to someone, we recommend My Secret Luxury’s resident expert and clinical sexologist, Dawn Michael of The Happy Spouse.