• Dian Handayani

Do I need sex therapy?

Updated: Jun 6

Yes, you do! As a trained sex and art psychotherapist, of course, I am biased. Seeking sex therapy may help you reframe and move past your physical and emotional challenges to experience sexual satisfaction. Now you may also ask, "but isn't therapy meant for those with real issues or problems?


Read on to find out more on sex therapy



Indeed, sex therapy or psychotherapy are associated with treating illness or disease. In fact, in Latin, the therapy itself means “medical treatment of disease” and is derived from the Greek word therapeia[1].


However, there is another definition of therapeia, which means "healing, and attending to and taking care of." This article will focus on the second definition of therapy, which helps us take care of something that matters to us in our lives, such as work, friendships, intimate relationships or even sex.


And just like any other aspect of life, sexual challenges, frustration and disconnection happen occasionally. So let's find out how sex therapy can help you feel more content and fulfilled.


Some people feel anxious and shameful about their sexuality because the media often paints a perfect picture of sex. That sex is always hot, steamy, and easy to do, but it is very different in real life. But these stereotypes set impossible standards for most of us.

Let’s get intimate and not be intimidated! Understanding sex therapy


People are sometimes a little hesitant about seeking therapy for sex. There is nothing dubious about sex therapy; world cultures (e.g. ancient China, India or Greek) have historically shown that sexual healing and treatment have always existed in one form or another. Fast-forward to the mid-century, and we thank Masters and Johnson for their contribution to the modern sex therapy that is familiar to us today (e.g. the inclusion of couple therapy and sensate focus)[2].


Sex therapy essentially focuses on helping individuals and couples with a wide range of sexual concerns, and its methods are similar to psychotherapy/ talk therapy.


The sex therapy session will start with an assessment. As my client, I will explore your highest hopes, sexual and relationship history, personal history (childhood to adulthood), and resources to get a glimpse of the family and cultural messaging on sexuality and relationship. I may also ask you some medical-related questions. These sessions can be done individually and together if a couple decides to come to the session together.


Assessment sessions are done to map out action plans and a path for healing. We will then discuss an action plan to help you move forward with your concerns. As part of the action plan, I may invite your partner to the session and assign some homework with consent from both of you. I may share carefully curated resources (books, film, website, etc.) to help you with your concerns.


Who we are

Sex therapists are part of healthcare professionals who have undergone extra training in sexually related issues. I have a background and training in art psychotherapy, trauma-informed practice, somatic experiencing and depth psychology. I have also used these skills in my decade-long experience working in a medical setting. These experience modalities are combined in my practice as a sex therapist.


What sets us apart from other types of psychotherapy?

Aside from learning a wide array of knowledge about human sexuality, what makes our sex therapy training unique is that we are required to re-examine and challenge our attitudes and values related to sexuality. Because we understand that while talking about sex can be empowering for some, it can also be scary and intimidating for others. This transformative learning process enables sex therapists to create a safe space for every gender, sexual orientation, and kink to explore and heal their sexual issues.


Part of our skills as sex therapists is to help you feel comfortable and process any negative messaging about your sexuality.

Why is it hard to explore or talk about my sexual issues and concerns?

Unfortunately, we live in a conflicting world, where information on sex is accessible to obtain. Yet, in some cultures (especially in the Asian culture), sex is still considered taboo and shameful to talk about.


Part of our skills as sex therapists is to help you feel comfortable and process any negative messaging about your sexuality. Some people feel anxious and shameful about their sexuality because the media often paints a perfect picture of sex. That sex is always hot, steamy, and easy to do, but it is very different in real life. But these stereotypes set impossible standards for most of us.


As a sex therapist, It's always rewarding to hear from clients when they can express their dreams, desires, struggles, awkwardness, boredom and many other issues as they are parts of a human sexual experience.


What you can be assured that we absolutely won’t do in this session

There is NO nudity, touching or physical examination involved in the session. Our ethics do not permit us to have sexual relationships. However, if there are any physical concerns, we will help refer you to other healthcare professionals like doctors or physiotherapists if necessary.


What kind of things can we take care of in sex therapy sessions?

  • We take care of your concerns by providing a safe space to discuss, explore and discover sexually related matters inclusive of your gender, orientation, ability and kink

  • We can help to take care of other sexual concerns such as

  • Performance-related problems such as erectile problems, premature or delayed ejaculations.

  • Issues with painful sex for both penis and vulva owners.

  • We care about your sexual growth and can help you learn to enjoy sex. These may include and are not limited to helping you with orgasm issues or exploring different techniques that can enrich your sexual knowledge and experience

  • Struggling with desire or conflicting desire

  • Inhibitions and sexual confidence

  • Body image issues

  • Sexual trauma


Indeed, sex therapy may not fix many issues or be the cure-all for sexual concerns or problems. Nevertheless, sex therapy sessions can be the first step towards taking care of you and opening up new possibilities for healing, wellness, self-care and living a more pleasurable life. Now isn't it something worth attending to?



References:

[1] https://www.etymonline.com/word/therapy [2] Berry, Michael D. (2013). "The History and Evolution of Sex Therapy and its Relationship to Psychoanalysis". International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. 10: 53–74. doi:10.1002/aps.1315.



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