What Does a Sex Therapist Do?

Sex therapists are licensed mental health professionals that specialize in helping people with issues related to sexuality. They work with individuals, couples or families, and are specifically trained to address a wide range of challenges, from low sexual desire to erectile dysfunction.

During sessions, a sex therapist works with the client to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that are impeding their relationship and sexual satisfaction. Depending on the specific issue, this may include exploring cultural and religious views of sex; improving communication about sex and intimacy between a couple; or learning new sexual skills to help overcome difficulties.

Because this is a highly personal form of therapy, it’s important to find the right fit for you. Look for a sex therapist who has credentials that indicate they are licensed and certified in your area, and verify their specialization in this area. Seek referrals from friends and family, or ask healthcare providers for recommendations.

In a typical session, the sex therapist will discuss the problem in a confidential and supportive environment, and provide practical exercises to try at home. Sessions are generally 30 to 50 minutes long, and the therapist will often recommend weekly visits at first.

It’s important to prepare yourself for what will likely be an uncomfortable conversation about your sexual history and experiences. However, your sex therapist will only ask the questions necessary to diagnose and treat your particular challenge. Sex therapists are trained to be empathetic and nonjudgmental.

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