Sex Therapy Facts
- Sex Therapy Resembles Other Forms of Talk Therapy or Counseling
Sex Therapy is a specialized form of talk therapy designed to enable individuals and couples to resolve difficulties related to sex. Effective sex therapy is holistic, and may also include focus on relationship issues and other factors are contributing to your sexual distress.
It’s common to feel uncomfortable talking about something as personal as a sexual problem. Sex therapy is designed to help you do just that; it puts you at ease in an atmosphere of comfort, acceptance, and no judgment.
- Fully Qualified Sex Therapists Hold a Specialty Certificate in Sex Therapy And Are ALSO State Licensed Mental Health Care Providers.
Because a fully qualified sex therapist holds a state license as a mental health care provider, she or he is also fully trained to explore the psychological side of sexual concerns. These concerns can range from performance anxiety or other forms of anxiety or stress, to ineffective communication and relationship difficulties, to health concerns that cause psychological distress.
Recognizing and working through these emotional aspects contributing to your current sexual concerns allows you to make them a thing of the past, step-by-step. Although there are no guarantees, it is not uncommon for people in sex therapy to be amazed at the turn-around in the quality and satisfaction of their sex lives that is possible.
- Sex Therapy Often Includes “Homework” or Outside Activities.
Outside activities that you carry out by yourself or with a partner have long been a hallmark of Sex Therapy. They are assigned because they are an integral part of the therapy process. One common myth about Sex Therapy “homework” assignments is that they are always physical in nature. Caressing exercises, traditionally referred to as “sensate focus,” can play an important role in resolving certain sexual difficulties. Oftentimes, however, a wide range of other between-session activities play a vital role in Sex Therapy. They may be communication exercises, body image activities, reading, or other tailor-made activities to fit your specific concerns.
- It’s Often Helpful For Both Partners In a Relationship to Participate In Sex Therapy
Most sexual concerns can readily be addressed in individual therapy if you are not partnered. If you are in a relationship, Sex Therapy is often more effective when both partners participate. The decision to include a partner or not is typically discussed at the beginning of therapy.
- Ethical, Competent Sex Therapy Never Includes Any Sexual Contact With The Licensed Therapist
Fully credentialed sex therapists are licensed as mental health providers in the state in which they are licensed. The Codes of Ethics of all mental health providers contain strict prohibition of sexual activity between the therapist and the client. In many states, such as California, it is also illegal to have any sexual contact with a therapist; the therapist is subject to losing his or her license as well as other punitive repercussions. Similarly, the Code of Ethics of AASECT, the primary organization that certifies sex therapists, prohibits all sexual contact.
- Beware of Frauds who Pose as Sex Therapists
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people unethically promote themselves “sex therapists” and are unlicensed mental health providers. They are also not certified by AASECT or similar organizations. If you are interested in sex therapy, be sure to check out the licensure and credentials of a prospective sex therapist. If he or she lacks the appropriate credentials, beware!
Licensed mental health providers with a specialty in Sex Therapy in California may hold any of the following licenses:
Licensed Psychologist (PhD or PsyD)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
Board Certified Psychiatrist (MD)
To check on AASECT Certified Sex Therapist specialty credentials (which require state licensure certification), go to