What Does a Sex Therapist Do?

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A sex therapist, also known as a sexual health counselor or a sexual therapy specialist, helps individuals and couples address sexual issues, build confidence in their relationship, restore and improve their physical well-being, communicate better, and explore new ways of connecting emotionally and sexually. They have a special awareness of human sexuality, medicine, and human anatomy that is scientific and without bias. They utilize methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), emotion-based therapy, and couple communication techniques to analyze and manage sexual problems.

Individuals who want to make changes in their sex life often attend sex therapy with a partner or alone. Sessions can focus on a variety of topics, including:

Resolving sexual and relational distress caused by an affair or broken trust

Rebuilding connection and intimacy following a miscarriage or abortion

Overcoming sex anxiety and sexual avoidance by providing in-depth knowledge and answering questions about anatomy and sexual function without shame or judgment. Some sex therapists offer specific techniques, such as Sensate Focus, which is designed to reduce anxiety by encouraging partners to begin intercouse with nonsexual touching, progress slowly to genital touching and eventually penetration.

If you are interested in sex therapists, you can ask your primary care physician or gynecologist for a recommendation. They work closely with sex therapists on a regular basis and may be able to provide you with a referral that best meets your needs. You can also do an online search or call the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, which provides information about qualified professionals.

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