The Biggest Myth about Sex Therapy
It can be difficult to identify what actually happens in sex therapy. I get a range of questions about sex therapy each week. Some ask if sex therapy is something like sex surrogacy (it’s not). Others wonder if you’ll be given just a few physical exercises to work on the problem. And the truth is that you might be assigned some of these exercises.
However, sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy. This means that when you see a sex therapist, you may get education and physical exercises to try, but most sex therapists are going to help you learn more about your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Some will also help you with your personal meaning about sex.
When sexual dysfunctions aren’t linked directly to a physical issue, you can’t usually improve the problem with focusing only on the physical symptoms. In fact, focusing solely on these symptoms usually increases the problem.
Why do your emotions matter?
Emotions such as depression can absolutely lead to sexual issues. However, the biggest culprit tends to be anxiety. What makes this even more of an issue is that people sometimes don’t even realize they’re living with anxiety.
We all have some anxiety, but day-to-day anxiety tends to lead to a cascade of other symptoms. Some of these can be physical and yes sexual. Your body needs time to deactivate and that deactivation can open your system up for sex.
Be Aware of Mental Lessons
People also have a lot of mental lessons that can lead to sexual difficulties. Men, for example, can often be thought of as inadequate if they have erectile problems or ejaculation issues. There are other pressures that women face, as well as non-cisgender people. Gay and bisexual men are also likely to hold mental pressures and beliefs that can impact their stress levels, which can lead to sexual dysfunctions.
Not everyone is aware of what these lessons are and how they can overcome them. Others don’t realize that they can work on these lessons and still enjoy sex! Part of sex therapy is learning about these belief systems and finding ways to change the amount of power that they hold.
So What is Sex Therapy Again?
It’s a therapeutic relationship you build with a therapist who can help you learn about yourself, your emotions, and your beliefs. You can build new meaning in the therapy setting and identify what you want sex to be for yourself, without it being full of overwhelming stress and pressure. In other words, it’s psychotherapy. Although you still find a lot of literature that focuses on “coaching” aspects of sex therapy, the process rarely works out in such a methodical way. So if you’re dealing with sexual dysfunctions and looking for help, find a sex therapist, but realize sex will not be the whole picture. There is a lot of nonsense out there about how you can easily make your sex life into a fantasy with the wave of a magic wand. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.
Looking for that magic wand can lead to ongoing problems including self-doubt, criticism and shame. Instead, look for someone who will help you unpack and make changes. Some of those changes may directly relate to sex, but other times, you’ll be looking at other areas of your life as well.
If you’re in Texas and looking for a therapist to help with sexual dysfunctions, please feel free to contact us. And yes, we offer online services as well.