What is Sex Therapy?

Chelsea Wakefield Private PractiseWhat is Sex Therapy?: One of the greatest joys of life is experiencing an emotionally fulfilling and erotically satisfying sexuality. Unfortunately, this is an area of much confusion, fear, shame and struggle for many people.

 

 WHAT IS SEX THERAPY?

chelsea wakefield sex therapist

One of the greatest joys of life is experiencing an emotionally fulfilling and erotically satisfying sexuality. Unfortunately, this is an area of much confusion, fear, shame and struggle for many people.  Sex therapists have specialized training in issues related to sexuality.  Sex therapy is clothing on talk therapy.  There is no touch involved.

Most people have some degree of concern or inhibition about this very sensitive and personal area of their lives.  In sex therapy sessions a person or a couple has an opportunity to explore their sexual and relationship history, feelings, thoughts, relationship dynamics, arousal patterns, attractions, skillsets, on-line behaviors, fantasies, and erotic identity.  Many people harbor insecurity or shame about their sexuality or history and may never have had a safe place to discuss these feelings and concerns. Perhaps you wonder if you are “good enough.” to please a partner.  Perhaps you have ever had an orgasm with a partner.  Perhaps you love your spouse but have despaired of ever having the sex you wanted.  Perhaps your sex life was great at the beginning, but is now stale or non-existent. Perhaps sex has become work when it used to be play. Perhaps you have a history of sexual abuse and it continues to block you from opening your body to pleasure or your heart to another person. There are many myths about sexuality and sex therapy is place to discover whether your ideas, practices and expectations about sex are realistic or “normal.”  Sex therapy is also a place to discuss the meaning of sex and discover how to integrate your sexuality into your life in a way that is life-giving and satisfying rather than compulsive or self-destructive.

Couples come to sex therapy with a variety of concerns such as disparities of desire, loss of attraction, boredom, differing arousal templates, affairs and attractions, sexual dysfunctions and changes that occur as we age. Medications can interfere with sexual function and arousal. Being a parent can derail your erotic life. Physical pain, lack of orgasm, relationship disappointments and resentments, trust issues, illness are all factors in a floundering sex life. Amazing erotic experiences don’t happen like they do in romantic movies…and people don’t look or function in real life like they do in pornography.  Understanding your personal erotic template and having enough self-acceptance and confidence to reveal yourself to a partner and navigate the relational interplay is fundamental to achieving true sexual and relational satisfaction. Redefining what we need and want in our sexual and relational lives will change over time and adapting to the changes in our bodies and life situations is important as we age.  Humans are multi-faceted beings, each of us house an “inner cast of characters.”  Devoting time and attention to our sensual and sexual selves is important in the achievement of our full human potential and having a sense of satisfaction and wholeness in life.

Click here o download these FAQS as a Word RTF document

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS and CONCERNS:

WHAT IF I NEVER WANT TO HAVE SEX AGAIN?

Let’s talk about it.  Many clients who have lost desire or become sexually avoidant fear coming to sex therapy because they worry that they will be criticized, shamed, blamed or pressured. That will not happen here.  Clients are often surprised at how their feelings of desire mysteriously reappear when the full picture is outlined and pivotal issues are brought to light and addressed.

SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR FIRST

Many people do, and I have several doctors that refer to me, but it is not necessary to do so before we meet.  We can talk about what makes sense in your situation. I work in collaboration with a number of health care professional that can address the physical and health aspects of sexual concerns.

WHAT IF MY PARTNER WON’T COME TO THERAPY?

There are many things that can be worked on from your side that may improve a situation that appears hopeless.

WILL MY CORE VALUES BE RESPECTED?

Yes.Chelsearespects clients with conservative religious values, alternative relationship styles, as well as the full spectrum of sexual identities.  Designing treatment solutions that are respectful of core values is a core value of her work.

WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF SEX THERAPY?

In most cases, if your sexual issues are related to anxiety, stress, loss, depression, sadness, life adjustment or problems in the relationship then your insurance will probably cover services.  Deductibles and copays apply.  We can talk about which diagnosis best applies to your situation. If you speak to your insurance company, to ask them about coverage, ask about “mental health therapy” rather than “sex therapy.”

WHAT IF IT’S MY HUSBAND THAT IS THE SEXUALLY AVOIDANT ONE?

This is more common than you think.  If the low desire partner is the man, it rarely gets talked about.  One of the myths of sexuality is that men want sex all the time and any way they can get it.  One of the great American secrets is the many women in low sex or no sex relationships, grieving the loss of their erotic life and wondering what is wrong with them.  If this is your situation, come in and let’s talk about what can be done.

I’VE NEVER HAD AN ORGASM, ALONE OR WITH A PARTNER.

You are not alone.  If you are an adult woman who has never had an orgasm, it can become a shameful secret than you don’t want to talk about, even with your best friend.  You may be wondering what the big deal is, or what is wrong with you.  You may have been faking orgasms for years.  Most women do not climax with intercourse alone. All women can have an orgasm in the right situation, with the right kind of clitoral stimulation.  Teaching a woman to have an orgasm is one of the simplest sexual problems to address in sex therapy. Learning how to communicate with a partner is the next step.

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION and PRE-MATURE OR EARLY EJACULATION,

Some of these sexual problems have a biological basis and need to be addressed medically with an urologist, gynecologist or pelvic floor therapist. Some are driven by anxiety, submerged anger, or a partner that does not arouse you or understand your physical and sexual needs and desires.  Intercourse is not the only way to have great sex.  If you are someone who can no longer have an erection, even with medication, let’s talk about expanding your erotic imagination and learning to be sexual in new ways.  If you think you are suffering from pre-mature or early ejaculation, come in and let’s discuss what’s real (not what the porn stars do), and what you can do about lasting longer or satisfying you partner in a variety of ways.

I AM A VIRGIN AND VERY ANXIOUS ABOUT MY FIRST TIME.

It is tragic to consider how little real sex education goes on in our highly sexualized culture.  I am appalled at the inadequate sex ed that goes on in school.  It focusses on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and infection and unwanted pregnancy.  So much for building a sex positive foundation for later life. Pornography provides the worst sex ed of all time, setting up young men and women for a whole list of unrealistic expectations. There is no reason for your first sexual experience to be painful, embarrassing, disappointing, or to result in a sexually transmitted disease that will follow you for life.  Come in and we will talk about what’s real, what to expect, how to negotiate for safer sex, or how to prepare for your first sexual encounter if you are a virgin.

I HAVE PAIN DURING INTERCOURSE AND IT IS RUINING MY SEX LIFE

Sexual Pain can originate from a variety of sources.  The sooner addressed the better.  We can work in collaboration with several possible health professionals to assess what is going on physically.  We can also explore underlying emotional issues and talk about the human sexual response cycle, sexual techniques and the wide variety of ways to give and receive sexual pleasure.

I HAVE A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE AND WANT A PARTNER…..WHAT CAN I DO?

It is both ethical and important to be honest about these things.  Let’s talk about your health and about how you can communicate to potential partners and find someone willing to work with your particular situation.  These things can be worked out with someone who wants to be with YOU.  There are many ways to be sexual and to safely engage with partners who have compromised sexual health, but are wonderful people.

I HAVE AN UNCONSUMMATED MARRIAGE AND I WANT CHILDREN

The desire to conceive is what usually brings couples suffering from this problem into treatment.  For the woman, you may be suffering from vaginismus (severe spasms of the muscles at the entrance of the vagina that make intercourse impossible or really painful). You may need some sexual education about the sexual response cycle; you may need a referral to a gynecologist or pelvic floor therapist who specializes in this problem.  You may also need to talk about your sexual fears, sexual formation or heal a trauma history that is causing your body to shut down and protect you in this way.

SEX IS NOT THE SAME SINCE MENOPAUSE

Menopause is liberating for many women, but it also means lots of changes in your body.  You may experience lessening desire, vaginal dryness and fatigue due to disrupted sleep patterns.  I can consult with your physician, but it is also important for you to explore who you are as a person and as a sexual being at this stage of your life.  You may want to make some larger life changes, or address some long standing issues in your relationship.

MY HUSBAND BROUGHT HOME VIAGRA AND I AM NOT HAPPY

I have heard it more than once.  The man brings home an ED prescription while the woman was relieved to think that her sexual days were over and done with.  Come in and let’s talk about what went wrong and what might go right at this stage of the relationship.  It’s not too late to get on the right track, with pleasure for both parties.

DO YOU WORK WITH LESBIANS?

Yes. I am familiar with, comfortable with and accepting of all sexual orientations and arousal templates.

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