Sex Therapy Basics
Sex therapy is a conversation around sex and other factors psychological, social, relationship, career, stress etc.: imagined and real that deny a happy sex life, and remedy the same.
Sexual health is a dimension of general health. Sexual health problems are multifaceted relating to psychological, environmental, hormonal, medical, physiological, social, and relational areas of functioning.
Oh Yes! Sex Has Other Benefits Too
Understanding and resolving sexual issues benefit goes beyond a fulfilling sex life. It contributes to overall health & wellness. Sexual intercourse releases endorphins and oxytocin. These are happy or feel good hormones that activate pleasure centers in the brain, create feelings of intimacy and relaxation reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Regular sex makes one feel and look younger, counts as a cardio workout, even increases immunity by higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA). Gets rid of pains and aches and boosts sound sleep.
The benefits of a healthy, contented sex life extends to all spheres of functioning of an individual.
Sex therapy consists of individual therapy or couples therapy.
What is not Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy is NOT about having sex, or demonstration of how to have sex, It is strictly talk therapy which is why virtual online sex therapy from the comfort of home is increasingly popular.
Sex Therapy is psychotherapy to identify and resolve, real and imagined sexual dysfunction issues involving just the individual\ or a couple that keeps one from enjoying a healthy happy sex life.
Online/Virtual Sex Therapy is Specially Suited for Treating Sexual Dysfunction
Online sex therapy from a skilled sexologist is carving a niche of its own for the right combination of easy accessibility and not being physically face to face.
Virtual sex therapy sessions certainly facilitate to open up and share sexual dysfunction issues/feelings without feeling uncomfortable.
Given that more than 30% of the population suffer from one or many sexual issues, and cultural conditioning that makes it a taboo topic to discuss and seek treatment, or inhibitions to lay bare ones feelings, inclination, discomfort in sharing intimate details are countered with online/virtual sex therapy.
Who can Provide Sex Therapy?
Many professionals starting with psychiatrists, psychologist, marriage counselor or a social worker can provide sex therapy.
Sexologist is a doctor specialized in the field of sexology equipped with deep insight in all aspects of human sexuality,
An extensive course work, extended education and other criteria is involved to be a certified sex therapist.
Certification involves extensive study & training in the facets of human sexuality.
Medication if needed can only be prescribed by a doctor - sexologist or a psychiatrist.
Sex therapist who is licensed and trained in this discipline, creates a safe space for individuals to share their fears, vulnerabilities, kinks, feelings, thoughts to clear the cobwebs, and without fear of being judged, help individuals understand how imagined and real factors are causing sexual dysfunction, and resolve it.
It is important to seek therapy from a certified professional since they go through extensive education on human sexuality and a process to get accredited.
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) has established *education and experiential activities and other requirements for Sex Therapist Certification.
*Canada sex therapy practitioner seeking AASECT certification go through a separate vetting process.
*Ontario does not have any requirements and any one can call themselves sex therapist and practice. BESTCO - Board of Examiners in Sex Therapy & Counselling in Ontario follow a process to maintain standards.
What is the Difference Between a Sex Therapist and a Sex Counselor?
While both professionals address sex related problems, the approach is different. A sex therapist treats long term problems, and a sex counselor imparts education and short term solution, and refers to sex therapist if needed.
What Happens in a Typical Sex Therapy Session?
Therapist/sexologist gathers all the information necessary to identify/diagnose the problem, and suggest remedies.
A sex therapy framework called EX-PLISSIT model is used by most therapists. The letters stand for Extended(Ex) Permission (P) which seeks permission through out therapy for clients to discuss sexual behavior and sexuality issues. Also support client experience and sexual behaviors as long as they are not harmful. Limited Information(LI)- clarifies misinformation, dispels myths and provides factual information in a limited manner Specific Suggestions(SS) provide suggestions focused on the particular issue, and Intensive Therapy (IT) which involves specialized therapy for more complex presentations/issues.
The main objective of following the model is to helps practitioners with a framework to help them identify their role in the assessment and conceptualization of an individual’s sexual well-being and needs, focus on best approach that will work for the individual/couple being helped.