Sexual problems in a marriage are far from being rare, yet a lot of people are apprehensive about talking about it with their friends, family, and acquaintances. Sex life is something very personal, and there is nothing wrong if a person wants to keep it in wraps. Also, sexual dysfunction is something that can have an adverse effect on a person’s self-esteem and revealing it other people can be termed as nothing less than a challenge.
So, if you and your spouse are dealing with sexual issues, it could be a loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, anomalies in sexual organs or anything that is impeding your sex life, what do you do? Do you continue living in a sexless marriage, or do you call your relationship quits?
Well, you don’t have to do anything like that. Sex therapists can help you. Not only will they diagnose and treat your problem, they will also address your apprehensions about talking about it. Typically, sex therapists, depending on the couple or person they are treating, take up an approach that would be comfortable for them. Not to mention, they are absolutely non-judgmental. Since their profession revolves around dealing with people with sexual issues, there is hardly anything that can surprise them, leave alone eliciting judgment.
If you are somebody who dealing with sexual problems in their relationship, we have prepared an expert roundup on how to find the best sex therapist. Experts themselves reveal the steps you should follow when looking for a therapist best suited for you.
- The most important factor when trying to find the best sex therapist is to make sure the therapist is “sex-positive.” The term “sex-positive” means your therapist has a positive attitude about sex and will support you in feeling comfortable about your sexual identity and consensual sexual behaviors.
- When you work with a sex-positive sex therapist you can trust he or she will provide a non-judgemental space where you can discuss your sexual issues without shame or awkwardness.
- A sex-positive approach to sexual issues includes discussions about how to manage consent, honesty, non-exploitation, shared values, protection from STIs/HIV and unintended pregnancy and pleasure in your sexual relationships.
Look for a “sex positive” therapist
Psychosexual Somatics Practitioner
- Be clear on what you want from the work, for example, do you want to work with an embodiment, sex coaching, practical help with techniques, relational issues or affair healing, etc.
- Find an expert who has a proven track record in that field.
- Strong client testimonials can be reassuring, but it’s also good to see if they have had media coverage. Have they had a book published on their work too? Both of these are good signs.
Find a therapist who is experienced in treating the problem you have
- Do some research: Not all therapists work the same way. Their website/referral source should reveal their values and experience. Do they seem approachable? What are they interested in?
- If a therapist’s website/description doesn’t mention sex in detail, but just an add-on, assume they may not be so skilled/ knowledgeable about human sexuality in particular. It’s a huge field that requires expert knowledge and skill.
- If they have a blog, read it. Read as much about them as you can. Generally, sex therapists don’t get a lot of online reviews, because unlike hairdressers, for example, people often feel too embarrassed to say they’ve seen a sex therapist – so reviews are harder to come by.
- Are they in the media? Read some of their articles/quotes / watch their videos. Does their message resonate with you?
- What’s your gut feeling about them?
- Are they conservative or liberal? Does that matter to you and your spouse?
- Does spirituality come into their work? How? Does that matter to you? How? Alignment there may be useful.
- Credentials are helpful but not everything. Having a degree in human sexuality or sexual health is a good indicator they have studied sexuality – not just psychotherapy or coaching. This makes a big difference to the quality of the work they offer
- Finally, consider what you’re looking for? What’s their style? Coaching? Talk therapy? Art therapy? Physical / Somatic? All? Neither?
Spend time on research before choosing a sex therapist
- Go to AASECT.org and locate a professional near you. A sex therapist should be AASECT Certified or under the direct supervision of one.
- To find the best sex therapist, you can search for reviews online but the best referral is a recommendation from a friend or doctor, especially psychiatrists, urologists, gynecologists, pelvic physical therapists, and endocrinologists.
- If you meet with one person and they don’t click with you, that’s okay, try another therapist!
Before finalizing a sex therapist ensure they are certified
- If you are considering seeing a sex therapist, alone or with a partner, it’s important to do some research and check out his or her qualifications.
- There are many counselors and psychologists who call themselves sex therapists even though they don’t have specific training in how to deal with sex-or gender-related issues.
- One of the larger organizations ASSER NSW the (Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists) has a ‘Find a Practitioners’ page where you can find the names of best-accredited Sex Therapists.
Make sure your sex therapist has the required qualification
- Do your research. Psychosexual therapy is a specialist branch of psychotherapy but many therapists may list that they work with sexual issues alongside other anxieties or stresses.
- See if they offer an initial conversation first. Some therapists may offer you a telephone consultation in advance of a first session, this will give you a chance to explain your issue and assist with any first session nerves if you have already introduced the subject.
- Think about any questions that you have in advance & if you have any ideas about why you think the problem is happening, note them down.
- Understand their approach. Although Psychosexual Therapy is by nature integrative and so works with an understanding of brain, body, emotions, and physiology working together it also takes account of human sexuality as both individual and universal therapists may lean towards a different approach e.g. psychodynamic where the key focus is on the impact of the past on the present.
- Find someone you feel comfortable talking to. In a first session think about how you feel about talking to this person about sex.
Research, consult, understand a sex therapist’s approach before moving forward Tweet this
- Find someone certified in sex therapy-It’s important to make sure your therapist is thoroughly qualified to help you with sexual issues. Certification through AASECT ensures that the therapist has the training, experience, supervision, and competence to help you.
- If you can’t find someone certified, find someone with training and experience-Some practitioners are part way through the certification process and working under supervision; they can be excellent options. Others have training and experience but are certified by another organization or have decided not to get certified at all. Make sure you ask about the specific training they have had in sexuality and sex therapy as well as how much of their practice has focused on sex therapy. Don’t choose someone without extensive training and experience specific to sexual issues.
- Ask questions- Ask how long they’ve been in practice. Ask about their outcomes and their approach to your problem(s). Make sure they have expertise with your presenting concern.
- Get referrals-It’s possible to find a great sex therapist using an online search, but if you have friends, family or medical providers you can ask for a referral, all the better.
- Pick a good fit for you-Read their website. Read their blog and watch any videos. What is the tone? Does their style resonate with you? Do you get a feeling of comfort and understanding? Consider scheduling either a brief meeting or a first session in order to determine how comfortable you feel with the therapist.
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- They’re AASECT-Certified, and they have a professional-looking website.
- They’re not wedded to one particular method or school of therapy.
- They’re more interested in the “here and now” than in what your childhood was like.
- They ask you to describe in detail exactly what happens when you have sex — both in bed and in your head!
- They communicate clearly. They explain what the problem is, and their explanation makes sense and leads to a rational plan of action.
- You feel better when you leave their office than when you first came in. They give you a sense of hope.
Also, you might be interested in the very short video.
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- Ask your General Practitioner or Specialist for a recommendation.
- Finding someone who is accredited with a national organization.
- Finding someone who has had some professional training in psychosexual therapy/counseling.
- Check out the therapist’s credentials. Go to mentioned registered bodies. Google therapist
- Someone with a relevant undergraduate degree in health and allied health, such as Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, Counselling.
- Someone that you feel you could be comfortable with. Have a brief phone chat with the therapist prior to making an appointment, if possible.
Things to consider when looking for a sex therapist
- It’s important to recognize that not all sex therapists are created equal.
- Many “sex therapists” who mean well, may inadvertently shame clients for their behavior or beliefs because sex-negative views are deeply ingrained in our society. A good example, are sex addiction therapists, whose point of view is inherently problematic as they who often base their work off of what is considered “normal” or normative, which marginalizes almost everyone because normal changes and is subjective.
- Sex-positive therapists work to break the cycle of shame, to help re-write the stories created by society, and to undo the damage of these messages.
- There are niche’s within sex-positive therapy: non-monogamy/polyamory/swinger, kink friendly, BDSM, LGBTQ etc.
- Sex-positive psychotherapy treats the whole individual. We are not looking to separate the issue from the person. (for example, treating ED or Orgasm issues while looking at socio-cultural dynamics as well.)
Seek a sex therapist who endorses “sex-positivity”
- Look for a certification through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). AASECT is the premier certifying body for sexual health professionals.
- Ask your therapist questions about your area of concern. If you’re in a poly relationship, for example, ask about the therapist’s experience working with poly relationships. Same holds true about kink, BDSM, sexual problems, and so on.
- Ask about fees. Know that price and quality are not related, though. Again, your sense of feeling heard, understood and respected are much more powerful predictors of potential benefit.
- Inquire about insurance if using it. Some insurances won’t accept certain diagnoses for billing.
- Sex therapists tend to be extraordinary open, accepting, liberal and compassionate. If you don’t sense these, run! Sex therapy should be a judgment-free zone.
Conduct in-depth research before selecting a sex therapist
- Ensure they have adequate qualifications.
- Make sure you feel comfortable.
- Your therapist should offer ‘homework’.
- They should ask about your relationship too.
Finding the best sex therapist is really about finding the best sex therapist for you
- Interestingly, people don’t often talk about going to therapy, but when asked, individuals seem to be willing to share their experiences – especially if they’ve been helpful in their journey/partnership/relationship/marriage.
- I also think it’s really important to interview a therapist. Therapy, especially sex therapy can be quite the intimate professional relationship considering what is discussed and worked on. It is incredibly important that both the client (or couple) feels comfortable with their therapist, and that the therapist feels as though they can help the client. If you don’t feel comfortable being open, that’s okay! Think of finding a therapist like dating, you’ve got to date around to find someone who gets you for you, and is capable to meet your professional needs.
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