Sex Therapy FAQs

What is Sex Therapy? What Can You Expect from a Session?

  • A therapy that uses a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy approach
  • A therapy that endeavors to educate clients about sexuality
  • A therapy that can be used to treat sexual dysfunctions and/or to enhance clients' sexual relationship

What does a Sex Therapist do?

  • Takes an extensive sex history Determines diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Informs the client of diagnosis and treatment plan and ask for clients' input
  • Begins agreed treatment

Sex Therapy Sequence of Treatment

  • Meet with couple to obtain a joint history Homework: fill out sexual history questionnaire
  • Meet with each partner separately to go over their sexual history questionnaire
  • Treatment plan presented and goals are set
  • Begin Treatment Homework given each session
  • Review how the previous homework assignment went

Sexual Pleasuring Sensate Focus Exercises

There are 3 stages of exercises called Sensate Focus I, II, & III

  • Help people regain previous level of function
  • Pleasuring exercises are intended to give couples who cannot have sexual intercourse (permanently or temporarily) ideas on how to continue a loving, sexual relationship through touch
  • Often referred to as "outercourse"
  • Partners who have a sexual problem such as the inability to have an orgasm, premature ejaculation, no lubrication, or erection problems follow Sensate
    exercises to resolve problem

Sensate Focus I

  • Non-Genital Pleasuring
  • Initiating sexual pleasure
  • Opportunity for both people to learn how to ask for sex and how to say "Yes" and "No"
  • Ban on sexual intercourse at this time if correcting a sexual problem

Sensate Focus II Non-Genital & Genital Pleasuring

  • Couples are ready to move into this stage only if both partners are enjoying the sensations of 'getting lost' in the feelings of loving touch
  • Genitals and breasts are included in the loving touch with no added emphasis on these areas

Sensate Focus III Intercourse Pleasuring

  • This sex therapy exercise is only for those who are trying to correct a sexual problem
  • Continue ban on orgasms
  • Couples are ready to move to intercourse when they can again get lost in the feelings of touching breasts and genitals

Sex Therapy for Ejaculatory Problems

  • Multidimensional Inevitable interaction between dimensions Physical
  • Psychological Relational Psychosocial skills
  • Therapy alters the harmful meaning while creating sexual and relationship satisfaction
  • Emphasis on pleasure, not performance

Premature Ejaculation (PE)

  • Most common, with 29 percent of males being affected
  • Premature Ejaculation is enmeshed with NEGATIVE thoughts and feelings
    "I'm an inadequate lover"
  • The more negative, the more severe the distress Shame and frustration of either or both partners
  • Medication is the most effective when used with psychosexual skills program while being integrated into the couple‚Äôs sexual style of intimacy, pleasuring, and eroticism
  • Deficits common in psychosexual skills
  • Unrealistic expectations

Ejaculatory Inhibition (EI)

  • Affects 8.3 percent of men
  • Not commonly recognized
  • Can be source of infertility, blocked sexual pleasure
  • Significantly disrupt relationship intimacy
  • Most common type, secondary intermittent pattern
  • Increases with age Often misdiagnosed as an erection problem
  • They simply "run out of sexual energy"
  • Couples therapy issue
  • Men who are unaware of normal changes with aging

Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

  • Therapy focuses on the five most common psychological factors associated with ED
  • Can be an important adjunct therapy with most cases of ED
  • Sexual Trauma -- male victims of adult-child sexual contact are three times more likely to experience ED
  • Depression Anxiety Guilt Martial Discord
  • Medication
  • Care must be taken not to exacerbate complaints of ED by prescribing antidepressants
  • Sensate Focus exercises are used with each dysfunction

Topics in Sex Therapy Courses

  • Male/female sexual/reproductive anatomy and physiology
  • Tri-phasic nature of sexuality Sexual dysfunctions
  • Sexuality throughout the lifecycle: sexual development
  • Special issues related to sex and aging
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender
  • Male and female sexual trauma
  • Effects of sexual trauma on sexual functioning
  • Diagnosis/treatment of sexual addiction/ compulsivity
  • Sexual paraphilias and pedophilia
  • Sexual side affects of commonly used medications
  • STD
  • How to do a sexual function assessment
  • How to share the treatment plan with the client
  • Sex therapy treatment modalities Sexuality assessment seminars (examining one's own sexuality)


Barback, Lonnie
For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality

Comfort, Alex
The Joy of Sex: Fully Revised & Updated for the 21st Century

Zilbergeld, Bernie
The New Male Sexuality

Zilbergeld, Bernie The New Male Sexuality

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