When should you go to sex therapy?
Sex therapy can benefit anyone having struggles with their sexual lives—whether partnered or single. But it can be difficult to know when it’s really time to seek out professional help.
Here are six signs that sex therapy can enrich the relationships you have with yourself and others—adding more enjoyment, fulfillment, and pleasure in your life.
1. You’re Feeling Anxious About Your Performance or Self-Conscious About Your Body
Sexual performance anxiety is a common problem, but it can truly get in the way of enjoying sex with your partner.
When you feel anxiety over your performance, you start to focus on feelings of doubt, self-criticism, and shame.
You become consumed by thoughts about what you should be doing, how your body should look, and how things should feel (a lot of shoulds!) instead of enjoying intimacy with your partner.
Sex therapy can help by uncovering the underlying beliefs and obstacles that are getting in your way and preventing you from having relaxed and pleasurable sex. You’ll learn ways to stay more present and enjoy your sexual experiences—which you deserve!
2. You’ve Experienced a Major Life Event and Your Sex Life Has Changed
Major life changes like having a baby, caring for a parent, or losing your job can lead to big changes in the bedroom.
Sometimes it feels like your sex life has taken a backseat when major life events are going on. As these events take place, it’s important to remember that your sexual needs can also change.
For instance, having a baby changes so much in your life—it should come as no surprise if your sex life has also changed. Taking care of a newborn is emotionally and physically draining. You’re stressed out and sleep-deprived. It’s hard to want sex in that state.
So first, it’s important to reframe your expectations about sex when there’s a big life-changing event taking center stage.
You may have to slowly rekindle the intimate connection with your partner. And a sex therapist can guide you as you and your partner refocus on your overall connection and affection. In sex therapy, you can learn strategies to prioritize intimacy in ways that work with your new stage in life.
3. You and Your Partner Have Mismatched Desires
Mismatched desire, also called desire discrepancy, is one of the most common issues brought up in sex therapy.
One partner often has a lower level of sexual desire than the other, and this can cause tension in the relationship. When one person wants more sex than their partner, it can create feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction for both people involved.
In addition to the frequency of sexual desire there are different types of sexual desire:
- Spontaneous sexual desire – Sexual desire shows up instantly, seemingly out of nowhere. (This is the desire that is almost always shown in movies!)
- Responsive sexual desire – Sexual desire shows up after sexual activity has started, happening in response to sexual stimulation.
Both types of sexual desire are completely normal! Our society just emphasizes spontaneous sexual desire, so we assume that it’s the norm for everyone.
When it comes to a desire dilemma, communicating your needs about sex will help you work with your different types of desire and lead to greater fulfillment. While this is a common problem for couples, the good news is that sex therapists are trained to help you and your partner find a balance that works for both of you.
4. Sexual Trauma is Preventing You From Enjoying Sex
- Get overwhelmed when your partner wants sex?
- Feel a disconnect from your body?
- Have difficulty experiencing pleasure in your body?
If you’ve experienced trauma, it could be impacting the way you connect sexually. However, healing and reconnecting with yourself as a sexual being is possible.
If past trauma is keeping you from accessing pleasure in your life, a sex therapist can help. A sex therapist may be a better fit than a general mental health professional if you want to not only work through your trauma, but also reconnect with your sexual needs and communicate them to your partner.
Recovering from trauma is not easy, but sex therapy can help you heal and regain control of your body and mind.
5. You Want To Explore Your Sexual Identity
Sex therapy isn’t just for partnered people. If you want a safe space to explore your sexual identity, sex therapy is the perfect place to do it.
Sexual identity can be a huge part of who you are. If thinking about your sexual identity brings up feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety instead of joy, comfort, and positivity, you can find a lot of support in sex therapy.
Sex therapists can help you process your feelings about your gender, sexual identity, and all the parts that make up your personal identity.
Sex therapy can be a safe space for you to explore your sexuality and sexual orientation as well as any trauma that you’ve experienced in the past around your identity.
You can rest assured that in therapy, you will be met by a compassionate and qualified professional who will affirm your identity and help you discover ways to embrace your sexuality.
6. Sex Is Painful For You
Does sex hurt for you? Do you feel invalidated by medical professionals who don’t believe you?
You may have struggled with sexual pain for years, dismissed by doctors who just don’t have the expertise on sexual pain conditions. Many people don’t often receive a correct diagnosis until they see a sex therapist.
Sex therapists know it’s not just “in your head.” From vaginismus, to pelvic floor hypertonicity, and more, we know how to treat sexual pain conditions. A sex therapist can advocate for your medical needs and work with your medical team to get the treatment you need.
Sex therapy is a place where you will be validated, you can heal from the trauma of years of pain, and reconnect with your body to find the pleasure you deserve to have.
We Help You Become Your Best Sexual Self
If you’re feeling stuck, not sure which way to go, or are looking for a new beginning, sex therapy can help you find your best self.
Sex therapy is a safe place to explore your concerns as a sexual being or as part of a couple, with a compassionate specialist guiding you through your journey.
Ready to live your best sexual life?