I recently came across an article I thought was really well written. Here are some of the highlights:
Many couples find it hard to fit sex into their busy schedules. And it is perfectly normal for people to go through periods when they are just not in the mood for love making. However, if you lack desire for sex for emotional or physical reasons, you may want to consider sex therapy.
“There are probably a lot of people out there who could use therapy but do not come because they’re embarrassed. They may go through years of needless pain or dissatisfaction,” says Alexandra Myles, MSW, a sex therapist in Massachusetts.
- Learn more about sexuality—In spite of the greater openness about sexuality today, many people have little understanding of their own bodies and sexual functioning. Informational and self-help books and educational sex videos, which are widely available, can be very helpful. Becoming better informed will help you decide whether you really need therapy.
Many people come to sex therapy after individual psychotherapy fails to help them with their sexual problems.
“The obvious thing is that you are dealing with the human body so you cannot just talk about how you feel. You have got to work on the physical level as well,” says Myles. Sex therapy generally addresses the emotional issues underlying sexual problems and employs behavioral techniques to deal with the physical symptoms.
One popular technique used in treating many sexual problems is called sensate focus, in which couples caress or massage each other without sexual contact. The goal is to help both partners learn to give and receive pleasure and feel safe together. As the partners become more comfortable, they can progress to genital stimulation.
As a result of performing this exercise, many couples discover new ways to experience pleasure other than sexual intercourse. “Some of my patients find that they become better lovers,” says Dennis Sugrue, PhD, a sex therapist in Michigan.
Other exercises treat specific problems such as women’s inability to have orgasms and men’s erectile problems. Performing these exercises often evokes strong feelings that are then explored through psychotherapy. People who have experienced sexual trauma or are confused about their sexual identity may need to spend more time working through their feelings. For couples, who make up the majority of clients, the focus is on improving communication and developing greater intimacy.
In looking for a sex therapist, it is particularly important to find someone who you trust and respect. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the therapist’s background, philosophical orientation, and experience with your problem.
“A sex therapist can be very influential,” says Gina Ogden, a certified sex therapist in Massachusetts, “because there are fewer people who you can talk with about your sexual issues.” She warns against therapists who have rigid ideas of what human sexual response should be. Myles agrees, “Sex is such a subjective experience. You cannot impose your own beliefs on a patient.”
Most sex therapists today, according to Dennis Sugrue, “look at the whole person and try to help men and women redefine what it means to make love.” The effects of aging or physical problems “do not mean that a couple cannot experience the pleasure and joy of being physically intimate with each other.”
To read the entire article you can find it at: http://www.healthykc.org/family.aspx?chunkiid=14499