Many people ask, “What is sex therapy?” As a sex therapist, I am uniquely trained to work with individuals and couples around issues of sexuality and sexual fulfillment. Sex therapy is a sub-specialization of couple’s counseling. There is no nudity or touching in a therapy session. Any exercises or assignments are given to clients to complete in the privacy of their own homes.
“The adage in sex therapy is that when sexuality goes well, it is a positive, integral but not major component – adding 15 to 20 percent to marital vitality and satisfaction. However, when sexuality is dysfunctional or nonexistent, it assumes an inordinately powerful role, 50 to 70 percent, robbing the marriage of intimacy and vitality.” – Barry and Emily McCarthy, Rekindling Desire: A step-by-step program to help low sex and no-sex marriages.
Some clients initiate couples/marriage counseling and find that sex therapy is a beneficial addition to the services they receive. Other individuals and couples will start therapy because they are facing specific issues around sexuality. These issues may include:
Why Sex Therapy
Sexuality is a central component of being human. We are sexual beings from the moment we are born until the moment we die. When we feel good about our sexuality, sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual expression we can feel more integrated and centered in our lives. Conversely, when we are disconnected from our sexuality within ourselves or our relationships it can cause distress and anxiety, sometimes becoming all-consuming.
I first started in this field as a sex educator, teaching girls ages 6-18 about sexuality. When I knew I wanted to work with adult relationships, becoming a sex therapist was a natural fit. I realize that talking to a stranger about your sex life may feel strange or uncomfortable. I also know that many people may have feelings of embarrassment or even shame because of messages they’ve received from family or society. I work hard to create a safe and sex-positive environment so that you can explore what is healthy sexuality for you.
What is Sexual Health
There is no such thing as one right way to have sexual health. Each person must develop their own definition of healthy sexuality. However, that does not mean that sexual health is boundary-less. I use the World Health Organization’s definition of Sexual Health (WHO, 2006) as guiding principles in my work with clients:
“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”
An Integrated Approach
Sexuality encompasses all of who we are and therefore I take an integrated approach to working with individuals and partners. In therapy we will:
Using this information we will work holistically to address your concerns and develop a deeper connection to your sexuality and your relationships.
I am passionate about the work that sex therapy can do and I am honored to work with individuals and partners to increase their sexual communication, deepen their sexual intimacy, enhance their pleasure, and feel congruent with their own sexuality. My therapeutic approach is gentle, direct, and respectful. I take a collaborative approach that seeks to help you resolve your issues in a way that is congruent with your relational style and values.