Sex therapy is talk therapy centered on the intimate feelings, actions and history of your sex life. Because this private part of our lives is sometimes filled with insecurity or even shame, you may never have had the courage to discuss it with another person, not even your closest friend. Men in our culture have even less opportunity than women to get straight answers. Thus, partners often enter a permanent sexual relationship with misunderstandings, misinformation, and false expectations. The result? Disappointment.
Sex therapy does not include nudity
Sex therapy does not permit sexual contact between the therapist and client
Early in your relationship, sex may have been erotic and satisfying; you are puzzled as to why this would have changed. Your partner may continuously offer excuses not to have sex. Perhaps you have never had an orgasm, or you can have one by yourself, but not with your mate. Pain can stop our sexual feelings, cold. Resentment over unequal burdens of childcare, household management or financial responsibility are major killers of sexual feelings. Medications that alleviate depression are libido-robbers. Maybe your partner has forgotten how to be seductive, or provides such little excitement that you can’t get aroused.
Everyone has sexual problems at some point, but it’s not usually talked about over iced tea. We feel left out of all the fun in our sex-drenched culture. Because we don’t hear about other people’s problems, we assume we are alone. You are certainly not alone – and Awakenings can help!
Sex therapy addresses:
lack of connection
life cycle changes including child rearing and menopause
family of origin values
imagination and fantasy
We work with doctors and physical therapists in a team approach to resolve sexual concerns.
Typical sexual problems that we work with include:
no or low desire
lack of orgasm
inability to become aroused
vestibulitis (pain at the entrance of the vagina)
vaginismus (inability to have vaginal penetration)
male inability to climax intra-vaginally
desire differences between spouses
The therapists at Awakenings can help you:
- Learn to talk comfortably about sex in a safe environment
- Grow in intimate connection with your partner by learning to communicate
- Develop an erotic self-image resilient to the onslaught of false media images
- Balance your life to meet the needs of loved ones as well as your own
- Realize that working at sex is healthy and necessary for all couples
- Look forward to and enjoy sex
Will my insurance cover the cost of sex therapy?Yes. Insurance covers a portion of the cost of sex therapy just like any other mental health counseling. Your clinician can talk to you about which diagnosis best describes your issues. So, when speaking with your insurance company, you should ask them about your coverage for “mental health therapy” not “sex therapy”. The fee and/or co-pay depends upon the assigned therapist.
What happens in sex therapy?Sex therapy begins with you describing what the problem is and how the relationship evolved to its current status. Often we take a thorough sexual and relational history. Both partners are invited to participate in order to provide necessary insight into the existing issues. It is natural to feel a bit of apprehension around talking about sex. Our therapists are trained to put you at ease while talking frankly about this difficult subject.
If my partner is reluctant to try therapy, can I still begin?Yes. Sometime just mentioning the possibility of counseling brings new dialogue and openness into a relationship. But other times, one partner may really not want to air these private issues. Many times they fear being blamed for all the problems, or they don’t believe talking will help change the way things have been for so long. Starting therapy by yourself may bring enough change to you and your relationship that your partner begins to see the benefit. We can teach you ways to approach your spouse that do not create defensiveness. Individual sessions remain confidential.
I never really want to have sex again and my marriage is suffering. How can you help me?This is the most common complaint we hear from clients, and we help most of them. Lack of desire comes from many factors. Within the first one or two sessions, we will help you figure out where your natural sexual energy has become stuck. With proper direction, many clients feel more hope about wanting to want again.
My husband is the partner who doesn’t have any desire. I feel so embarrassed and unattractive because all my girlfriends complain about how their husbands want them all the time. Can you help him?Yes. We work with male low libido too. When men suffer from low libido, their wives have often suffered years of damage to their self-esteem. We require men to have blood tests for serum testosterone and free-testosterone at the onset of treatment. Your general internist or urologist will do this testing. If you don’t have a doctor, we can refer you to one. We will want both you and your partner to come to therapy, eventually.
I’ve never had an orgasm, even by myself.Lack of orgasm is one of the simplest sexual problems to fix. Don’t wait a minute more to make an appointment. We will give you straightforward instructions as to how to achieve your goal and teach your partner how to help you too.
Should I see you or my urologist for problems I’m having with impotence?Your first stop depends on your age. If you are over 40, you should first see your urologist. Under 40, we may send you there after an initial consult, but see us first. Occasional erectile dysfunction is normal. However, some men become so anxious after the first incident that their worry keeps it happening again and again. Our primary treatment plan for erectile dysfunction is teaching anxiety reduction and erotic enhancement.
I climax too fast and want to last longer. Should my girlfriend come to sessions with me?Yes. For the treatment of early ejaculation, it’s best if both partners are in therapy. Men have ejaculations for two reasons: erotic stimuli and anxiety. We can help couples function to maximize the former and minimize the latter. However, there are easy solutions for this problem even if your partner is not in treatment with you.
I cannot orgasm with intercourse. My boyfriend says every woman before me had one that way. What’s wrong with me?Nothing is wrong with you. Most women do not climax through sexual intercourse. All women can climax through the direct stimulation of love-play. Only 15 – 20 % can reach a “hands-off” orgasm. Even then, all women need clitoral stimulation to attain enough arousal to have an orgasm. We can suggest positions to maximize the possibility of this occurring, but success is dependent on how a couple fits together. We can also provide additional information and help improve couple communication which can make all the difference.
I’m a born-again Christian and I want to make sure that my therapist is also Christian.We have Christians on staff. We understand that a discussion about sexuality is core-value territory. No reputable sex therapist would ask you to step outside your moral frame. Every therapist on our staff will be highly sensitive to your value system. With your information, we can always design interventions that will be congruent with your moral standards. We’ve treated many Christians who have been virgins at their wedding. Sometimes they are disappointed that holding to their principles has not resulted in an easy sexual adjustment. We can help smooth things out and teach you how to master the early erotic tasks necessary for sexual happiness. Our job is to help you figure out how you are getting in your own way.
We have not consummated our marriage and I have been diagnosed with vaginismus. Our parents are expecting us to provide them with grandchildren – help!!!!You may or may not have vaginismus. Perhaps you are anxious, and rightly so, because you need more specific information about what happens during intercourse. We can teach progressive steps that will help you have intercourse for the first time with very little pain. If you do have vaginismus, we have a great deal of experience in treating this complicated body-mind-emotional issue.
I’m in menopause and my body is not responding as it once did. Do I need hormones or therapy?You may need both. Menopause can bring increased freedom of sexual expression to some women. But others notice problems of lessening desire, vaginal dryness and tiredness due to lack of sleep. Sometimes with concrete exercises and prescribed changes in technique, sex resumes better than ever. Sometimes a long marriage has recorded so much hurt and pain, that couple therapy is required to clean the slate and find new ways of being sexual with your body changes. We coordinate treatment with your physician and work on the sexual, relational, and emotional changes that are within your conscious control.
Do you treat lesbians?Yes. We welcome couples of all sexual orientations.