Sexual health is like any aspect of your health: it deserves special attention, and when in a poor state, professional help. But because it can be awkward to talk about one’s sexuality, especially to a stranger, few engage the services of a sex therapist. Given that sexual health can affect other areas of your life – not least your self-esteem, relationships, and physical well-being – it’s vital to get past the initial embarrassment.
And it’ll be worth it. Nearly always people realise there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Contrary to popular opinion, sex therapists won’t judge you for what you do or don’t enjoy, and won’t force you to try something you have no interest in trying. The process is respectful and mostly involves empathic and informed conversation. You can attend sessions on your own or with your partner/s.
What issues can you consult with your sex therapist? Is there such a thing as “too weird” to bring up?
Below are 3 issues some consider as taboo that you can bring to sex therapy.
Do you feel troubled because you seem to want sex less than others? Perhaps you feel an aversion to anything remotely sexual. Or the opposite could be true: you may feel your desire is always on overdrive. Or you’re entertaining the possibility that you’re a sex addict?
Libido issues are common concerns to bring up with your sex therapist. Your therapist will not tell you whether or not you’ve passed a pre-determined criterion for “normal,” but instead, will work through factors with you that may account for your level of sexual desire. These factors include your age, use of medications, health, attitudes, beliefs, values and the particular circumstances of your life. Only when there are clear concerns that necessitate assistance in managing sexual desires, would your therapist offer you treatment options.
Do you have non-typical ways of getting aroused and fulfilled? Have you found yourself labeled as a “pervert”? Are you interested in something considered as taboo?
Paraphilias, or unusual sexual practices, are also safe and common issues to consult with sex therapists. You may, for example, be prone to exhibitionism: the desire to expose parts of your body to the public. Or you may have a thing for particular body parts (e.g. feet, hands, or breasts), body types (hairy, plus size, midgets), power play (bondage, submission and domination), non-sexual acts (cross-dressing, urinating, profanity), and even inanimate objects (teddy bears, cars, balloons). You may even consider yourself as a voyeur: someone who enjoys watching others engaging in sexual acts.
Paraphilias are tricky things to work on alone, which is why it’s always helpful to consult a sex therapist.
Some fetishes may be indulged; if you have a partner who likes what you like, and you’re not hurting anyone, what you do in private is your business. But some fetishes are sexual disorders. A fetish you impose on non-consenting person/s (as in the case of exhibitionism), fetishes that can’t be morally and legally justified e.g. pedophilia – the sexual desire for children, and fetishes that bring you or others significant distress, must be managed if not eliminated through therapy.
How can a sex therapist help?
Some sex therapists look at origins of unwanted attachments: conscious or unconscious reasons why you like what you like. Survivors of sexual abuse, for example, may tend to gravitate towards abusive partners in an irrational effort to re-experience what’s familiar to them.
Other sex therapists use known techniques for compulsion management. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, for example, can help clients break the link between unwanted sexual thoughts and practice. In some cases, sex therapists help by focusing on physiological causes of sexual disorders such as traumatic brain injury and neurological or hormonal imbalance.
Note that homosexuality and bisexuality are considered by the vast majority in the helping profession as sexual preferences, not a sexual disorder. Homosexuality and bisexuality, however, can have their own issues; stress can come with a struggle for self-acceptance, coming out, discrimination and religion. All of these things can be explored and worked on with a sex therapist in a safe, supportive environment.
Inability to Achieve Arousal and/or Orgasm.
Issues regarding difficulty in achieving arousal and/or sexual satisfaction are more common than people think.
Sex therapists can help in many ways.
Communication exercises, to help improve how couples respond to one another, are great ways to help clients achieve better sex lives. Mindfulness exercises, especially during guided massage, can help clients focus on sensations, the here and now, as well as their partners. Some sex therapists encourage reading and/or watching sex-related material to improve sexual knowledge. Talking therapies aimed at surfacing underlying causes of arousal and orgasm issues are also facilitative of improving over-all sexual health.
If you’d like to know more about sex therapy, please contact P-Therapy through [email protected] or book an appointment. This initial consultation is free of charge and you can speak to up to three therapists of you choice.
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