NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Sunday, December 11, 2022

What Are the Most Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy?

This is the first article in a series of articles about sex therapy where I'll begin addressing the most common fears and misconceptions that people have about sex therapy and some of the most common issues addressed by sex therapists (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?)

Sex Therapy For People in Relationships

There are many misconceptions about sex therapy which, as a sex therapist, I would like to address in this article.  These misconceptions and their related fears often keep people from seeking much-needed help in sex therapy.

Common Problems and Misconceptions That Keep People From Seeking Help in Sex Therapy
Some of the most common problems and misconceptions include (but are not limited to):
  • Shame: Shame is a big reason why people, who could benefit from sex therapy, don't go.  Many individuals and couples who are having sexual problems don't know that their sexual problems are common, so they feel too ashamed to see a sex therapist. However, whether the problem is lack of sexual experience, low libido, problems with sexual desire discrepancy in a relationship, premature ejaculation, erectile unpredictability, painful intercourse, a desire to explore consensual non-monogamy or BDSM or kink, or a variety of other issues, these issues and other sexually related issues are common in sex therapy.  
Sex Therapy For Individual Adults

  • Fear of Being Asked to Do Things They Don't Want to Do: Many people who have misconceptions about sex therapy fear that the sex therapist will ask them to engage in sexual acts they would be uncomfortable doing (group sex, threesomes, and so on).  But sex therapists focus on what the clients want.  They don't have their own agendas.  
  • Fear of Being Judged or Criticized: Many people fear the sex therapist will judge them for their problems or their desire to explore certain areas of sexuality, like kink or BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission and Sadism and Masochism) as one example.  The reality is that most sex therapists are trained to discuss these issues in a sex positive and nonjudgmental way. 
Sex Therapy For All Genders and Sexual Orientations

  • Fear of What Will Happen in the Sex Therapist's Office: There are people who fear they will have to take off their clothes or engage in sex in front of the sex therapist. However, there are no physical exams in sex therapy, no nudity and no touching.  In fact, a sex therapist's office is just like any other therapist's office.  Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy which is also known as talk therapy.
Sex Therapy Online

  • Fear of Sexual Boundary Violations: As mentioned above, there is no nudity or sexual acts in a sex therapist's office.  You and the sex therapist talk about your problems and there might be assignments for you and your partner(s) to try at home and come back to discuss the following week, depending upon the issue and how the sex therapist works.  Sex therapists don't have sex with their clients.  That would be a serious ethical and legal breach.  Also, a sex therapist doesn't talk about her own sexual experiences.  In other words, sex therapists are licensed therapists who must maintain legal and ethical boundaries with their clients.  

What Are Some of the Most Common Issues Addressed in Sex Therapy?
Most sex therapy begins with the clients discussing what they want to work on in sex therapy.  As previously mentioned, these issues include but are not limited to:
  • Lack of Sexual Experience (for all genders/sexual orientations)
  • Sexual Anxiety
  • Sexual Shame
  • Lack of Sexual Confidence or Sexual Self Esteem
  • Problems With Body Image That Interferes With Sex
  • Problems with Having an Orgasm For Both Men and Women
  • Painful Sex
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • A History of Sexual Abuse That Negatively Impacts Current Sexual Pleasure
  • Problems With Sexual Intimacy After Having Children
  • Other Emotional or Mental Issues Interfering With Sex

What Happens in Sex Therapy?
Now that I've addressed some of the most common fears and misconceptions people have about sex therapy and some of the most common issues addressed, let's begin a discussion about what actually happens in sex therapy.  I'll go into further detail about this in my next article.

What Happens in Sex Therapy?

Both individual adults and people in relationships, including monogamous and non-monogamous relationships, attend sex therapy.  

As previously mentioned, sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy, which is also known as talk therapy.

Sessions can be in person or online.

The initial session is for clients to discuss why they are seeking help in sex therapy.  

For a variety of reasons, many people feel ashamed to talk about sex, so part of the sex therapist's role is to help clients get more comfortable talking about sex without experiencing shame.  

Sex Therapy Online

It's also common for clients to want to get comfortable with a sex therapist before they really open up to talk about their sexual problems in detail, and skilled sex therapists know how to facilitate this.

Other clients might feel more open and comfortable talking about sex right away.  So, the sex therapist can begin getting a sexual history from the client(s).

Getting a comprehensive sexual history taking is an important part of the initial stage of sex therapy.

When Should You See a Sex Therapist?
If you have tried on your own to resolve sexually related problems without success, you're not alone.  

Many people seek help in sex therapy, and you could also benefit from seeing a sex therapist.

A sex therapist can help you with practical steps to resolve the underlying issues related to your sexual problems.

Rather than struggling on your own, if you're having sexual problems, seek help with a licensed psychotherapist who is a sex therapist.

You deserve to have a fulfilling sexual life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Couples and Sex Therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

I provide in-person and online therapy.

To find out more about me, visit my website where I have many articles about sex therapy as well as other topics: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.