Getting the most out of your Sex Therapist
You have the utterly disappointing experience of a sexual dysfunction. Now what? First, go to your primary care physician and rule out any medical issues. Then, once all medical issues have been ruled out, seek services from a sex therapist. Here you can discover not only the possible physical reasons you are experiencing a sexual dysfunction, but also the psychological reasons that may play into this unfortunate incidence.
Your first response is perhaps, “what medications can fix this.” After all, no one wants to slow down, or even worse stop his or her sex life! You most likely want a quick fix; medications can usually help with this. However, the question I pose to you is, do you really want to be taking medication for the rest of your life and have to plan out your sex life? Or, would you rather be able to be in the heat of the moment with no fear or questioning if your sexual organs will be working properly? A sex therapist can not only give you exercises to work on the physical side of your sexual organs not working, but they can also work with you about the possible anxiety that is occurring for you as you have sex with your partner.
I’ve convinced you to see a sex therapist, now, what to expect and how do you get what you need? Chances are you’re in a relationship or something of that nature, which is how you realized you’re not able to perform as you would like. Or, you’ve noticed something is wrong through self-stimulation and you want to correct it prior to getting into a relationship. Either way, you’d like to be able to perform appropriately by the next time you are intimate with a partner. To achieve this expectation, you will likely need 8-10 sessions. Within 3-4 sessions you should be able to recognize significant progress. With this being said, there are some sexual conditions that require a longer healing process. Your sex therapist should be able to give you a more realistic timeline after meeting with you and assessing your particular situation.
To speed up your progress you should be asking for exercises that help decrease both the negative physical and emotional aspects of your sexual issue. Sex is a combination of technical skills and emotional intimacy. Sexual exercises that you can begin right away may look like relaxation exercises, measurement of pleasure exercises, or nonsexual exercises all focused on getting you in touch with your own body. The exact series of sexual exercises will depend upon not only the sexual dysfunction, but also who you are as a person and where exactly you are getting stuck.
The more open you can be with your sex therapist about your sexual history and your emotional experience of sexuality, the easier time the therapist will have in understanding where you are getting stuck. Physically and emotionally satisfying sex isn’t always as intuitive as you would imagine it to be. Most people throughout the aging process will experience times where your body doesn’t function as you expect it to.
Developing the language to openly discuss your situation and receive feedback is challenging. This may be difficult in that it’s not easy to talk about our emotions or admit our sexual limitations. Work with your sex therapist to create a safe space for you to discuss such challenging topics. Keep in mind that your mindset plays a huge role in most cases of sexual dysfunction. Also, trust that the therapist knows what they are doing. Be open and allow yourself to use their expertise.
While working on your weekly exercises at home, be open to talking with your sex therapist about your possible fears or anxieties that arise. It’s normal to have uncomfortable emotions about sex. Our society has unfortunately stigmatized sexuality and created stunted language and comfort surrounding this topic. Your therapist on the other hand, will work to give you the permission to have mind-blowing sex with a level of comfort and ease. This will only come if you’re willing and able to not only do physical, hands on exercises but also put yourself in that emotional space.
You’re in that emotional, sexual space; now what? It may seem like a lot to take in at first, keep a journal of all your insights from your sessions. Write down questions that you have for the following session. Always be adding to your journal throughout the therapeutic process. Have your therapist recommend books to you. Or, research books on your own and bring in new information to discuss.
It is important to keep an open line of communication with your sex therapist. With all this new information, you are bound to have questions or concerns. That’s okay. Bring them to your session in order to discuss them. Now, have fun getting the help you need and the new journey you are about to embark on.