Sex therapy covers a range of issues from low libido to pornography addiction. It provides an opportunity to explore issues related to intimacy and sexual expression that many people find difficult to discuss with friends or family. Sexual issues are common, and can occur at any stage of life. Most people want a fulfilling sex life, so feel depressed, guilty, frustrated or lonely if they are unable to achieve the kind of sexual expression that has meaning for them.
Sex therapy also applies to people experiencing confusion about their sexual feelings or identity, or struggling with coming out. Anxiety and depression are common during this process.
Committed relationships that accommodate sex outside the relationship and polyamory have become more common, which can lead to challenges in the primary relationship.
Couples often come for therapy when there is a disparity in libido, or when an infidelity or pornography addiction has been uncovered. A loss of desire is a source of sadness, and sometimes conflict for couples. A rupture of trust is traumatic and threatening to the bond between them. Counselling can facilitate communication and conflict resolution.
Women sometimes struggle to maintain desire once they are mothers, if the sex has become routine, when they have body image issues, or after menopause. Sex may have become painful, leading to avoidance or vaginismus.
Men are likely to lose desire if they are stressed or feel unfulfilled in their work. Reliance on pornography or masturbation, and performance difficulties such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or inability to climax, can lead to avoidance of sex with their partner.
Fear of intimacy, lack of experience, childhood sexual abuse, or problems integrating love and desire are common underlying reasons for sexual difficulties. A therapist can provide the safety and skills necessary for individuals or couples to talk more openly about their fears, desires, and disappointments. They receive education, homework and reassurance about how to make changes. Speaking to a therapist can help normalise your experience and provide hope for the future.