A couple’s sex life has a significant impact on the success and health of their relationship.
Likewise, individuals’ beliefs and stories about their own body, their past, and sex, in general, have a considerable impact on their ability to connect intimately with another person.
If you find that creating intimacy in your relationships is not easy, don’t worry, that’s completely normal. Vulnerability, communication, and sexuality are skills that we must learn and practice, and going to sex therapy is one way to do just that.
This type of therapy is designed to help couples, or individuals, overcome obstacles in their sexual experiences in order to build greater intimacy, connection, and satisfaction. Below are a few examples of the ways that the therapy can help you experience more intimacy in your life.
*Please note, there is never any touching or sexual behavior in sex therapy exercises. A sex therapist’s office is a safe space for you to “talk it out.” Any touching or physicality will be assigned for you to complete alone and at home.
So, here’s how sex therapy can help you experience more intimacy.
Sex therapists are there to help couples navigate tricky and uncomfortable conversations.
They facilitate these conversations by being completely comfortable talking about sex themselves and by having zero taboos or shame surrounding the subject.
2. By helping you heal from the past
It is not unusual for one partner or the other to have sexual pain or trauma in their past.
When this is present, it can be difficult for him or her to feel safe to open up and explore with their current partner.
Sex therapy is a safe space to discover and release past experiences that are stopping you from experiencing intimacy in the present.
3. By guiding you to let go of shame
Many men suffer from performance anxiety and/or sexual dysfunction. Likewise, many females are unable to reach orgasm with their partners; some are unable to reach orgasm at all.
If this is you, know that you are not alone in these experiences, but neither do you have to live with them your whole life.
With the sex therapist’s advice, you can learn to identify the underlying issues of these problems, release the shame you have attached to them, and thus find your way to greater sexual intimacy and fulfillment.
Infidelity can create distrust, resentment, and anger, all of which need to be addressed at the base level before you can rebuild your relationship and rediscover intimate connection.
5. By teaching you to focus on connection, not orgasm
When orgasm becomes the primary focus of sexual interaction, both parties feel pressured to perform well. This playful, intimate act becomes a test that you either pass or fail.
The effect is often stress, performance anxiety, premature ejaculation, and/or inability to reach orgasm. In sex therapy, you can learn to let go of old programming that is keeping you from experiencing a joyful and satisfying sex life.
By learning to touch one another in a relaxed and gentle way, you’ll discover that real intimacy and pleasure go way beyond merely reaching orgasm.
6. By leading you into new terrain
In general, sex counseling is a place where you can talk openly and honestly about sex.
It is a safe space where you can throw out new ideas and discuss things that you usually wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about.
A sex therapist’s job is to facilitate a conversation that enables you or you and your partner to discover new levels of intimacy and connection in your relationship, and the above mentioned are just a few of the ways that sex therapy can help you do just that.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Nancy Ryan is a Licensed Marriage & Family therapist, Certified Gottman Therapist and CEO of Relationship Therapy Center in Roseville, CA and Fair Oaks, CA and online in California. Therapists at RTC help individuals deal with anxiety, depression and self esteem issues; Couples improve their relationship, help coparent, and blended families adjust; Children and Teens to process their emotions and develop coping skills. We help with all areas of life and relationships.
Nancy has been featured in media including Fox 40, KFBK radio, Cox Communications, Psych Central, Elephant Journal, Bustle, Practice of the Practice Podcast, Practice of Therapy Podcast, and Grow a Group Practice Podcast. She is available as a relationship expert for print, radio and TV.
(Nancy Ryan is also listed in Best Marriage Therapists in Fair Oaks)