Our ability to experience ourselves as sexual beings allows us to engage a dimension of humanity that is truly remarkable. Whether we are exploring our sensuality as individuals or sharing that aspect of ourselves in the context of a relationship, the respect, love, tenderness and joy we give to ourselves and our partners work as a powerful vehicle for healing of the mind, body and spirit. We all have the capacity to develop our healthy sexuality, just as we have the capacity to train our minds to learn new pieces of information, and our bodies to engage complex physical tasks. Developing this healthy sexuality requires attending to our emotional, physical, and relational needs, and at times, individuals may need assistance from a professional in working toward their goal of sexual health. Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy which assists a client in assessing their current level of sexual health and determining a course of treatment specifically designed to address their sexual needs. Since sex therapy involves discussing intimate information regarding your thoughts, feelings, medical, and sexual behavioral history, it is very important that you feel safe and comfortable with the therapist with whom you are sharing those most private parts of your life. As a sex therapist certified through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors (AASECT), it is important that you know I adhere to the highest ethical standards proposed by that organization, as well as the ethical standards required in my role as a Licensed Psychologist.
Individuals or couples may seek help from a sex therapist for a variety of reasons. While some issues of sexual health may be similar for individuals regardless of their age, some issues may be more specific to their developmental phase of life. Many individuals struggle with issues of healthy body image, which may impact their ability to experience themselves as sensual, sexual beings, and which may make them uncomfortable sharing themselves in a physical relationship. Cultural messages regarding issues of attractiveness, male/female roles in relationships, sexuality and religious beliefs, and family messages regarding sexual intimacy all impact our development, how we perceive ourselves as sexual beings, and how we carry that into our daily lives. Issues related to emotional intimacy, the quality of our relationship with our partner, and issues related to our own psychological health can impact our capacity to experience a rich sexual life. Life stressors related to financial concerns, raising children, and demanding careers can often make healthy sexual relationships seem like a low priority, and lead to a downward spiral in sexual activity. Normal body changes which occur with aging, for both men and women, can feel discouraging and frightening and lead many people to abandon their passion as they age. This is not only unnecessary but unhealthy, for remaining sexually active into old age is not only possible, but has many physical and psychological benefits. Accurate information regarding normal changes and learning to adjust styles of lovemaking are an exciting part of learning to cherish yourself and your partner as you age.
Many people experience sexually difficulties related to a physical or health related problems. Physical illness and diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, hormonal changes related to aging, and physical disabilities can impact sexual functioning. Recreational drug and alcohol use, and the side effects of prescribed medications can impact sexual functioning. Many people are able to develop and maintain satisfying levels of intimacy despite other physical challenges. Close collaboration with other health providers such as internists, gynecologists, urologists and physical therapists may be necessary to provide the optimal level of care for your needs.
PROBLEMS ADDRESSED IN SEX THERAPY
- Lack of desire
- Difficulty with arousal
- Difficulty with orgasm
- Pain on intercourse
- Premature ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sexual anxiety and avoidance
- Issues related to sexual trauma and child abuse
- Gender Identity Issues
- Compulsive Sexual Behavior
- Issues related to emotional intimacy
Sex therapy offers a safe and nonjudgemental place to discuss any of those issues mentioned above, and to gain up to date information on human sexuality. By receiving a detailed assessment of your situation, you can work with your therapist to develop an individualized plan of therapy which will address your psychological, social and relationship needs. Sex therapy can help you develop a healthy sexual self image, and a positive view of yourself as an erotic, sensual individual.
Reclaiming Desire (2010), by Andrew Goldstein, M.D., Marianne Brandon, Ph.D.
Getting the Sex You Want: A Woman's Guide to Becoming Proud, Passionate, and Pleased in
Bed (2003), by Sandra Leiblum, Ph.D., and Judith Sachs
When Sex Hurts: A Woman's Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain (2011), by Andrew Goldstein, M.D., Caroline Pukall, Ph.D., and Irwin Goldstein, M.D.
Mating in Captivity (2007), by Esther Perel
100 Questions and Answers About Breast Cancer, Sensuality, Sexuality, and Intimacy (2011), by Michael L. Krychman, MD, Susan Kellogg Spadt, Ph.D, CRNP, and Sandra Finestone, PsyD.
Coping With Erectile Dysfunction (2004), Michael E. Metz, Ph.D., Barry W. McCarthy, Ph.D.
For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach
2000 Regency Parkway, Suite 204, Cary NC 27518 | (919) 406-7267