Sexual Health Q&A

What are sex therapists? What do they do?

Sex therapists are healthcare professionals who provide counseling to individuals and couples who need help with the emotional and psychological aspects of sex.

While sex involves a number of physical processes, such as erection and vaginal lubrication, many psychological factors are involved as well. If one or both partners feels anxious, stressed, or depressed, sexual relations can suffer. Past sexual trauma, fears, and negative beliefs about sex can also lead to dysfunction.

Sex therapists can help clients work through a variety of sexual health issues, such as the following:

• Erectile dysfunction
• Premature ejaculation
• Performance anxiety
• Painful penetration
• Vaginismus
• Poor communication between partners
• Past sexual abuse
• Gender identity
• Orgasm difficulties
• Relationship problems

Sex therapy clients come from all sorts of backgrounds. Examples might include a man who avoids dating because of premature ejaculation, or a woman who fears sex because she never learned about her own sexual anatomy.

In therapy, couples can learn how to talk to each other about sex and express their wants, need, and fantasies. They can also work on relationship problems that lead to sexual difficulties, such as infidelity or lack of trust.