8 reasons to see a sex therapist
And why you shouldn't see it as a last resort
Written by Chiara Nonni
Like many conversations around sex, the subject of sex therapy is full of misconceptions and stigma. The reality is that seeing a therapist to more mindfully engage in your intimate life is a form of self care. You may see a dermatologist if you are having skin troubles, or a financial advisor for help with money but people don’t often think about sex therapy the same way they do with other types of support. And sex therapy is just that: support.
We chatted with our licensed sex therapists on staff here at Coral to compile a list of reasons you may want to seek the assistance of a sex therapist. “I think sex is just such a hard thing to talk about in general and a sex therapist is someone who’s going to be able to talk about it as easily as you talk about getting groceries,” says Dr. Kristen Mark. Sex therapists are educated specifically around intimacy so while seeking the support of a more generalized therapist is also worthwhile, sex therapists are well-versed in providing support explicitely around sex.
Here are some of the top reasons that one might seek assistance of a sex therapist:
A specific physiological issue
This one may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how difficult and vulnerable it may feel to see a sex therapist if you are suffering from a physiological affliction in the bedroom. Erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, vaginismus, premature ejaculation, etc. These are all normal problems to experience. While a sex therapist is able to help you address physical issues, they will also be able to help find the root of the problem, whether mental/emotional or otherwise. Often some therapists will encourage you to see a doctor to rule out hormonal issues and physical problems before addressing them through therapy.
This is the most common reason that clients see sex therapists, according to our experts.
You should know that there is nothing wrong with talking about sex. It is a sex therapist’s job to help their clients feel more fulfilled inside and outside the bedroom. If something is causing a problem, there should be no shame in seeing a sex therapist to assist you in moving forward.
There’s an elephant in the room
Each person you know has a different background and history with sex and sex education. Sometimes these discrepancies between partners are difficult to vocalize and can cause errors in communication. If there’s an elephant in the room, or something that is bothering you about your sex life that has gone unsaid, a sex therapist can be an excellent way to facilitate that conversation between you and your partner.
Additionally, it can be common to not have the vocabulary to express what you’re struggling with.
Communication is the key to good sex and there is no shame in seeking out help in addressing these issues! Your partner and your sex life may thank you for it!
You’re experiencing a roadblock
A roadblock can be considered as an obstacle that’s keeping you from enjoying your sex life. Roadblocks can be hard to be aware of and even more difficult to define. Sometimes seeing a sex therapist who has experience in our cultural or personal hang ups can be the best thing to help bring attention to what may be causing you stress in your intimate life.
For example, let’s say that you have a vulva and your partner wants to go down on you but you have some embarrassment surrounding your genitals. A sex therapist can support you in WHY you might be feeling that way and can offer tools to build a better relationship with your body. Think of the alternative: if you were to just hope that the issue goes away, you may never get to experience the freedom of self love and might have difficulty feeling desired. Getting to the root of our conditioning surrounding sex brings attention and awareness to how we are feeling about many other subjects.
There’s a desire discrepancy between you and your partner
Because we each have an individual relationship to sex, it can sometimes be unrealistic to think that your level of desire will match up perfectly with your partner. While your relationship may be great in every other way, it is important to know that inconsistency in levels of desire is totally normal.
A sex therapist can help with these conversations and aid you in getting to the root of the differences between you and your partner. It doesn’t mean that there is no sexual chemistry, or that you and your partner are incompatible in bed. Like anything, it just takes work and awareness to sort out! If you are serious about your relationship, understanding a discrepancy in desire and actively engaging in the work required to negotiate that gap is a great way to show one another your commitment to your partnership.
Additionally, if you’ve been in a long term relationship, there may be some obstacles in your way when it comes to maintaining your desire. Sex therapy is an excellent outlet for these conversations. The ebb and flow of desire is natural and working with a therapist can help when it comes to navigating these patterns.
You or your partner has experienced sexual trauma
Trauma can affect people in many different ways. Sexual trauma is all too common and approaching the topic with sensitivity and empathy is what sex therapists are trained to do. If you or your partner have experienced sexual trauma, talking to a therapist can be incredibly helpful in redefining your relationship to your sexuality.
To reconnect to your partner
Particularly after the pandemic, there might be a disconnect between you and your partner. Sex therapists understand the tribulations that the pandemic has put in our way and they will be able to help you reconnect with your partner. Whether that means participating in exercises or opening up communication, sometimes a helping hand is necessary.
To feel supported
Let’s say it louder for those in the back: THIS IS A SEX THERAPIST’S MAIN JOB. If you are not feeling supported or positive about your experience in sex therapy, find a new therapist!
Therapists are not there to make any assumptions about your sexuality or to shame or guilt you. There is freedom in deciding whether or not a therapist is the right fit for you and what you are looking to address. Whether you are going in with specific issues to discuss or just want to increase your comfort level when it comes to sex, the right therapist is there to provide tools to help you achieve your goals.