Many people believe that sex therapy is only for couples on the verge of breaking up, or who are questioning their identities, overcoming trauma, or in a sexless relationship. On the contrary, in more than a decade as a sex educator, I’ve learned that we could all use a little help in the bedroom!
Today I’m pulling back the curtain and sharing some common reasons that couples seek sex therapy.
What Can Couples Sex Therapy Actually Solve?
Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that can help couples overcome or work through the physical, psychological, personal, or interpersonal factors which may be negatively impacting their sex life. As with any type of therapy, it’s most effective when the person or people seeking treatment are open and honest. When in sex therapy as a couple, this honesty remains critical but it’s also important to be respectful of the other person—you’re on the same team and have the same goal, after all. Here, we explore some of the common complaints or issues that couples sex therapy can help solve.
1. Low, missing, or mismatched desire
This is my niche, so of course, the most common complaints I hear relate to low, missing, or mismatched desire! Sometimes it’s always been that way, and sometimes it came after a big life change like children, cancer, moving, etc.
2. You never talk about sex…
Maybe you tried a few times and it was just so damn awkward or you got shut down! Sure, your sex life isn’t what you hoped it would be but that’s better than dealing with more rejection or discomfort. Right?
3. …or can’t talk about it without fighting
Every time one of you brings up sex, you end up fighting about it. You get defensive, they feel embarrassed, etc. You go around in circles and nothing ever changes.
4. You’ve tried a bunch of stuff—maybe even couples therapy—and still feel stuck
I love DIYing a lot of my life. But when my website crashes or I throw out my back, I run to a professional. Doing sex counseling is no different. It gives you the space to explore, accept, and ask for what you want with an objective third party to provide insight, tools, and guidance.
It’s also worth noting that couples and marriage therapists receive minimum sexuality training, if any. They excel at the relational aspects of partnerships, but unless they’ve sought out additional sex therapy training, they aren’t the best equipped for handling intimate topics.
5. You don’t know what you want…
Your beau wants to please you, but whenever they ask you what you like, you come up blank. You want to be able to tell them something, but where do you even start?!
6. …or how to ask for it
Ok, so you know what you want but how do you tell them? What if they laugh or say no way?! Do you bring it up in the heat of the moment? How?! You end up not saying anything and silently resenting that they can’t read your mind.
7. You’re stuck in a rut
Your sex life isn’t bad—but it is boring. Maybe, as a result, you’re having less of it. When you’re in a rut, it’s hard to see when you’re going to get out of it.
8. You don’t orgasm as often or strongly as you want—or like you used to
Orgasms aren’t the sole purpose of sex, but, as one pinnacle of pleasure, they’re important to many people. If you’ve noticed changes in the strength, frequency, or ease of your climaxes and aren’t happy about it, it’s worth exploring what else might be going on.
9. You have opposite schedules…
When you do see each other, one or both of you are totally drained. Meanwhile, finding time for sex has taken the sexiness out of the whole affair!
10. …or schedules that changed recently
And you’re struggling to prioritize sex as you adjust.
11. You recently had a major life change
From kids to surgery, cancer to moving, a loved one’s death to a promotion, both exciting and devasting life changes have a way of messing up your sex life. Sex therapy can help you navigate those changes without sacrificing your pleasure.
12. You aren’t having sex at all…
“Bed death.” “Sexless marriage.” Call it what you want, it’s not uncommon for long-term couples to end up more as best friends-roommates-co-parents than as partners and lovers. For most couples, there are many strategies to find your way back to each other.
13. …or as often as you’d like
Maybe it’s always been that way or maybe it’s recently become so. If it’s bothering you, it deserves to be addressed.
14. You’re questioning your sexuality, gender, or relationship structure
You feel lost in yourself or your relationship and need some support in exploring these questions. Counseling provides a safe and brave space to connect with your sexual values and learn to ask for what you want from yourself and your partner(s).
15. You can have casual sex with no problems but struggle now that you’re in a committed relationship
What the eff is going on?! It makes no sense that with the person you love you struggle to connect. Actually it does, but that’s for a session.
16.You want to!
Curiosity is the sexiest trait there is. In fact, one definition of desire is arousal + curiosity. If you want to learn new sexy skills and make your sex life the very best it can be, sex therapy can help.
Whether it’s “good” or “bad,” you deserve to find freedom in pleasure and have the intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex life you crave.
Have a question about anything from this list? Leave a comment and tell us below! And if you’re curious about how sex counseling can help you, click here to learn more and get in touch.