What is Sex Positive Couples Therapy & How can It Help You?

Sex therapy is just one aspect of couples therapy. Sometimes couples, who don’t otherwise feel they have any problems in their relationship, will seek out a sex therapist for ways to improve their sexual intimacy.Sex therapists don’t just treat the functional aspect of sex (i.e., arousal problems, vaginismus, or premature ejaculation), but also deal with the emotional and psycho-social aspects of sexuality. Most licensed sex therapists will have a background in a wide range of sex therapy methods. But will they be familiar with a wide range of sexualities?Therapists who are specifically trained in sex therapy will more likely be trained in a wide range of sexualities and sexual issues and concerns.Sometimes this happens with individuals who are members of the LGBTQIA community, or people who have strong fetishes. Many of these individuals unfortunately experience not only sexual dysfunction with their partners, but also feelings of shame and fear that they are sexually abnormal. An individual who identifies as “kinky” may be afraid to seek out a sex therapist because he or she didn’t want to be labeled as being “sexually unhealthy”. A sex-positive therapist will be able to help you without stigma.

What does “sex positive” mean?

Sex positive simply means a respect for the millions of unique sexual orientations out there. Sex-positive therapy plays an important role, especially in Western culture, where the traditional view of sex is overwhelmingly negative and hierarchical.

Because sex is so wrapped up in our personal and cultural identities, our feelings about sex usually involve some kind of moral judgment, which is probably the last thing you’d want from a therapist. Sadly, it can be a bit of a challenge to find a sex-positive therapist. This is not necessarily due to moralizing, but simply because some therapists have not had much exposure to these issues in their practice, and are not confident in their ability to provide appropriate therapy. Admitting they might not be the right therapist for you is a sign of their respect for your concerns.

How to find a sex-positive therapist

Think about some background questions you might want to ask of a therapist over the phone, before making an appointment. While you might think a therapist should be free of bias, it’s important to ascertain their values and experience before investing time, money, and emotions in therapy sessions that could potentially be more troubling than helpful.

Be sure to ask value-oriented questions to gain an understanding of the therapist’s practice. Go ahead and ask if he or she is comfortable talking about kink. You’ll have to bring it up at some point, so you might as well begin now! Sex-positive therapist Dr. Marty Klein has a great sample question that covers a lot of bases: “Do you think monogamous, heterosexual, genitally-oriented sex is ultimately better than other consensual arrangements?”

How can sex-positive therapy help you

Everyone benefits from exploring their sexuality in a non-judgmental way. Sex-positive therapy affirms your sexuality, without making it the sole focus of your treatment. You can work out issues you have around sexuality, without being pressured to change your identity, or feeling that how you feel is “wrong.”

A sex- positive therapist is there to help you with more than just issues directly related to sex. Sometimes focusing too narrowly on sex leaves out other important aspects of your history and emotional profile.

Here are just a few issues sex-positive therapists can help with:

*Coming out

*Internalized negativity

*Abuse

*Relationship issues, including relationships between “kinky” and “vanilla” people

*Cultural expectations

*Anxiety

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