Have a disconnect with your partner about sex? Columnist Marty Klein, Ph.D., tells you the ins and outs of sex therapy.
Q. What is sex therapy and how do I know if I need it?
|You may have to meet with more than one therapist before you find one with the right combination of skills and style.|
|Sex therapy isn't magic; it may take months to see progress, and even longer to fix a serious problem.|
|To find a sex therapist in your area, ask your physician, a Planned Parenthood clinic or The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.|
A. Sex therapy is a set of behavioral and psychotherapeutic techniques used with men, women and couples to enhance sexual functioning. You might see a sex therapist if you don't get erections when you want to; get excited but can't climax; have pain with intercourse; or notice your sexual enjoyment declining and don't know why.
Couples go to a sex therapist when they argue about frequency (she wants sex twice a week, he wants it twice a year); preferences (he wants oral sex, she doesn't); or what's acceptable (he wants to watch porn and she doesn't, or she wants monogamy and he doesn't). Your psychologist or physician might refer you to sex therapy if they can't provide a solution to (or they aren't comfortable with) your difficulty.
Once the therapist understands your problem and has a treatment plan, you will get homework, often weekly. This may include reading, writing or a guided touching exercise. Masturbation is often assigned. Sometimes, a therapist will ask you to refrain from intercourse (not sex, intercourse) to reduce performance pressure or encourage other forms of erotic connection.
In all, sex therapy is usually a pretty eye-opening experience . You may learn things about yourself or your partner with which you're uncomfortable. But you won't walk away unchanged, and you'll probably have new respect for the complex ways you express or repress your sexual energy. You may very well enjoy sex more than you ever have.
You'll almost certainly understand it better.