Counseling Blog, Relationship Counseling

Should we see a sex therapist: Guest blogger Laurie Watson

So. this just happened! Santos Counseling has had the awesome opportunity to have Laurie Watson provide her expertise on sex therapy.

Should we see a sex therapist?

by Laurie Watson, LMFT, LPC

“I can’t believe how long we waited to get help!” is the most frequent comment I hear from sex therapy graduates.  There are no exams, no nudity and certainly no sexual touching involved in sex therapy.  Sex therapy is a branch of traditional psychotherapy and is only “talk therapy.”

You’re not alone in having sexual problems. At some point, couples have sexual problems that are often easily fixed.  Young newlyweds have sexual adjustment problems.  Couples with young children are often exhausted and have trouble keeping the bedroom a priority, leading to fights.  Older couples struggle with menopause, malepause and old relational resentments that shut down sex.

This blog will tell you what sex therapy is and answer a few of your questions about it.

1) Sex therapy helps couples talk about sex with each other.  A sex therapist feels comfortable talking about sex.  

2) Sex therapy gets to the problem.  Couples often can’t solve these intimate issues on their own because disappointment, hurt, anger, resentment, accusations, inhibition, and several rounds of fighting might have shut down the very discussion most needed.  

3) Sex therapists have hope. I have rarely encountered a problem between two ordinary people that I didn’t feel was somehow workable and resolvable.

4) What kinds of problems do sex therapists treat?  The top two problems in my practice:  low sexual desire and frequency disagreements between partners.  

5) How long does sex therapy take?  Three levels of problems take different lengths of treatment. Sexually-oriented problems, like premature ejaculation, achieving orgasm for the first time, or asking the questions about sex you’ve never been able to ask only take a few sessions.

6) Sexual problems entangled in the relationship affect most of the couples I see.  Sex serves as a perfect battleground to work out deeper issues about how close each wants to feel and how much autonomy they want to be granted in the marriage or partnership.  This often takes at least 6 months and involves marital therapy as well.

Trauma, childhood histories of neglect or abuse, difficulties feeling connected to anyone and the sexual problems resulting from these issues can sometimes take several years to resolve.  

7) What if I get turned on talking about sex with my sex therapist?   Sex therapists have firm ethical boundaries about NOT entering a sexual relationship with any client.  Again, sex therapy never includes sex with the therapist.

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Laurie Watson, AASECT certified sex therapist, licensed couples counselor for over 2 decades, television and radio personality, guest lecturer at the medical schools of Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, conference speaker.

Read more about Laurie

cover image by azrul aziz

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