Different Types of Sex Therapies
Look up sex therapy online and a barrage of perplexing information will be readily available to confuse you. The goal today is to respectfully simplify some common terms so that you can make educated decisions regarding your program of sexual health.
Sex Therapist A sex therapist is a licensed mental health expert. To be a sex therapist, one needs to have a degree in psychotherapy, theology, social work, or medicine. A sex therapist may augment this training with additional sexuality training. Sex therapy can often be a longer process where you dive into the childhood underpinnings of your emotional challenges around sex. It is often particularly helpful to those who have unresolved trauma or higher levels of dysfunction. Certified sex therapists do not have sexual contact with their clients.
Sexologist Sexology is the scientific study of sex and sexuality, and the scientists who contribute to our knowledge in this field are known as sexologists. Sexologists are an incredibly diverse group of people who come from many different scientific backgrounds. Sexologists generally have Master's or doctoral degree, or some other type of advanced professional degree. While there are some training and certification programs available in sexology specifically, these are not absolutely essential to becoming a sexologist.
Sex Coach A sex coach is a trained professional who helps people with sexual issues. However, anyone can call themselves a sex coach. They may or may not have credentials to back that claim up. There are two main types of sex coaching: talk and experiential. During talk coaching sessions, a sex coach will ask you about your challenges and goals. They will then give you suggestions for improvement, as well as book and video recommendations. In experiential sex coaching, your sex coach will teach you how to be a better lover through talking as well as hands-on practice. Sex coaches are not licensed therapists and as such, should not offer psychological diagnosis or treatment plans.
Surrogate Partner Surrogate Partners are a type of experiential sex coach, who works together with a licensed therapist. Surrogates participate with the client in experiences that are designed to build client self-awareness and skills in the areas of physical and emotional intimacy. These therapeutic experiences include partner work in relaxation, effective communication, sensual and sexual touching, and social skills training. The involvement a licensed and/or certified professional with an advanced degree, is a cornerstone of this therapy process. The team therapist assists the client with emotional issues. Sessions with the therapist are interwoven with the surrogate partner sessions in order to facilitate understanding and change.
Sex therapy is tricky business. I have helped many men work through their sexual challenges to achieve amazing results through experiential sex coaching as a surrogate partner and intimacy coach. I offer somatic ie: touch therapy along with verbal coaching.
Hopefully this article was informative and helpful to those who are pursuing this type of healing work in their lives. Please feel free to email me with any questions, or visit our website to learn more about the type of help we provide at WIHL and request a 15 minute consultation.
Certification by AASECT as a sexuality educator, sexuality counselor or sex therapist is a crucial step in one's professional advancement, demonstrating to all that stringent requirements for training and experience have been met. AASECT offers certification of sexual health practitioners in four categories: sexuality educator, sexuality counselor, sex therapist andsupervisor. For the vast majority of professionals in healthcare and human services, certification is a prerequisite to practice. AASECT credentials sexual health professionals on the basis of rigorous standards for academic preparation, supervised training and consultation, field-related experience and applied skills.
Requirements such as academic degrees, specific core subject areas and clock hours of education and field-related experience and training are identified for each category of certification. Field experience and practical application of skills and competencies carried out under trained and approved supervision or consultation are crucial aspects of certification.
Sex Therapy: What You Should Know
● How it works
● How to know if you need it
● Finding a provider
● Bottom line
What is sex therapy?
Sex therapy is a type of talk therapy that’s designed to help individuals and couples address medical, psychological, personal, or interpersonal factors impacting sexual satisfaction. The goal of sex therapy is to help people move past physical and emotional challenges to have a satisfying relationship and pleasurable sex life.
Sexual dysfunction is common. In fact, 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report experiencing some type of sexual dysfunction during their lifetimes. These dysfunctions may include:
● erectile dysfunction
● low libido
● lack of interest
● premature ejaculation
● low confidence
● lack of response to sexual stimulus
● inability to reach orgasm
● excessive libido
● inability to control sexual behavior
● distressing sexual thoughts
● unwanted sexual fetishes A fulfilling sex life is healthy and natural. Physical and emotional intimacy are essential parts of your well-being. When sexual dysfunction occurs, having that fulfilling sex life can be difficult. Sex therapy may be able to help you reframe your sexual challenges and increase your sexual satisfaction.
How does sex therapy work?
Sex therapy is like any type of psychotherapy. You treat the condition by talking through your experiences, worries, and feelings. Together with your therapist, you then work out coping mechanisms to help improve your responses in the future so that you can have a healthier sex life.
During your initial appointments, your therapist will either talk with just you or with you and your partner together. The therapist is there to guide and help you process your current challenge:
● They are not there to take one person’s side or to help persuade anyone.
● Also, everyone will keep their clothes on. The sex therapist will not be having sexual
relations with anyone or showing anyone how to have sex. With each session, your therapist will continue to push you toward better management and acceptance of your concerns that may be leading to sexual dysfunction. All talk therapy, including sex therapy, is both a supportive and an educational environment. It’s meant to provide comfort and encouragement for change. You will likely leave your therapist’s office with assignments and work to do before your next appointment. If your therapist suspects the dysfunction you’re experiencing is the result of a physical sexual concern, they may refer you to a medical doctor. Your therapist and the doctor can consult about your signs and symptoms and work to help find any physical concerns that may be contributing to greater sexual problems.
Do I need sex therapy?
One way to determine if you need to see a sex therapist instead of another type of talk therapist is to analyze what parts of your life are the most affected by how you feel right now. If your quality of life and emotional health are greatly affected by your sexual dysfunction, it’s a good idea to see a sex therapist. Likewise, if a lack of intimacy or difficulty communicating with a partner leads as your most serious personal concern, a sex therapist is the place to start.
How do I find a sex therapist?
A certified sex therapist can be a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker. These mental health experts undergo extensive additional training in human sexuality in order to be accredited as a certified sex therapist. Start your search with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). This organization is responsible for overseeing clinical training for sexual health practitioners. They also manage credentials for these health care providers.
If someone is licensed and certified, you’ll be able to find them through AASECT. You can also do a Google or Psychology Today search for therapists in your area or call your local hospital or community education office. Many of these organizations will happily provide information on sex therapists in their hospital network. You can also ask your insurance company. They may be able to give you a list of names of certified sex therapists. You can work through the list until you find the sex therapist you want. If you’d like a more personal recommendation, talk with your health care provider, gynecologist, or urologist. Many doctors have met and recommend sex therapists to their patients every day. They might be able to direct you toward a provider whose style closely aligns with your own. You can also talk to your friends. Bringing up intimate details can be difficult for some people, but if you’re comfortable asking a friend, they may be able to recommend a doctor you and your partner can trust.
What to know before your appointment
When you’re ready to begin sex therapy, keep these five things in mind as you prepare to decide on whom to meet for therapy.
Therapists are unique. Successful therapy depends largely on how well you communicate with your therapist and how much you trust them and their guidance to help you through your concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable with a sex therapist at any point, look for another.
Solo versus couple
You do not have to bring your partner with you to sex therapy. For some individuals, solo sex therapy is adequate to address concerns. For others, having both people present during therapy may help improve satisfaction and build a stronger connection. Talk with your partner about your choice to begin therapy. If you’d like them to be involved, ask.
When deciding on a sex therapist, it’s important to keep in mind where your therapist’s office is and how easy it is for you to get to. You may be attending appointments during your lunch hour, after work, or on random days when you have a free hour. Some therapists also offer telehealth sessions, so you may be able to meet with them online from the comfort of your home.
Make sure it’s convenient to reach your doctor’s office, or you may find yourself creating excuses to avoid it.
During your first appointment, your therapist will likely go over an initial treatment plan with you. For most individuals and couples, several sessions are required at first. However, once treatment is making a significant difference and your therapist feels confident you can handle future challenges, you may be released from your therapist’s care.
Not every type of health insurance will cover psychotherapy. Those that do cover it may have special requirements or an individual deductible. Confirm your insurance details with your insurance company before you go to your appointment so that you can be prepared for the financial investment.
The bottom line
A fulfilling sex life is vital to your health for many reasons. Physical and emotional elements of a healthy sex life have far-reaching benefits, including lower blood pressure, better heart health, and stress reduction. Sex is also just a natural, fun part of life. However, for some people, sex is a source of great anxiety and worry. Sexual dysfunction can lead to relationship complications, loss of confidence, and many other negative effects.
Sex therapy is an integrative approach to treating and eliminating underlying challenges. These concerns may be physical, such as low circulation. They may also be psychological concerns, such as anxiety, stress, and confidence issues. Sex therapy can help individuals and couples find a way to have open, honest communication so that they can work through any concerns or challenges toward a healthy, happy sex life.
Sex therapy is distinct from sex surrogates. Whereas sex therapists discuss and instruct clients in sex-based exercises to be performed at home between sessions, sexual surrogates participate in the exercises with their clients as part of helping them to practice and develop improved skills. Therapists and surrogates sometimes collaborate on cases. Certified sex therapists do not have sexual contact with their clients.[ 4]
Sexology is the scientific study of sex and sexuality, and the scientists who contribute to our knowledge in this field are known as sexologists. Sexologists are an incredibly diverse group of people who come from many different scientific backgrounds. Thus, the vast majority of sexologists did not get degrees in sexology per se, but rather were trained to study sex within another discipline at the graduate level (e.g., medicine, psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc.). Sexologists generally have Master's or doctoral degree, or some other type of advanced professional degree. While there are some training and certification programs available in sexology specifically, these are not absolutely essential to becoming a sexologist. Sexology consists of such an interdisciplinary group of researchers because sex is a very complex phenomenon that requires us to consider biological, psychological, and social factors. It is only by blending the information gained from all variety of perspectives that we can come to a complete understanding of human sexuality.
In contrast, social psychology is the scientific study of how social environments influence people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Social psychologists get their training specifically in this field. Some of them (like me) end up studying sex and sexuality, but most do not because sex is just one of many topics that may be of interest to social psychologists. For example, social psychologists may also study things such as stereotyping and prejudice, helping behavior, persuasion, political attitudes, and so forth. What this means is that a social psychologist can become a sexologist, but being a sexologist does not require that you having training in social psychology. The primary question you need to ask yourself is this: What aspects of sex are you most interested in researching? This will help you to decide the specific field of study that you should enter. For instance, if you are primarily interested in the biological bases of sexual behavior (e.g., hormones, brain chemistry), then you might consider pursuing a degree in neuroscience or medicine. Alternatively, if you are interested in studying STIs and safer-sex practices, you might consider a degree in public health. Or, if you’re interested in studying social influences on sexual behavior or the impact of culture and society on sexual attitudes, you might consider a degree in social psychology, sociology, or anthropology.
Sex therapy's claims to specialization may be exaggerated and ultimately damaging to the integrated treatment of sexual dysfunction. In fact, sex therapy does not have a unified underlying theory, a unique set of practices, or an empirically demonstrated efficacious
treatment outcome. Paradoxically, the practice of sex therapy has gained widespread professional and popular acceptance since the publication in 1970 of Human Sexual Inadequacy by Masters and Johnson. Consequences of the widespread acceptance of this supposed specialization include the marginalization of sex therapy from other forms of treatment and the perpetuation of the notion that sex therapy is a special form of therapy requiring highly specialized training. This specialization focus also helps to perpetuate societal discomfort with sexuality. The very modest empirical success of most so-called sex therapy interventions and the lack of theoretical development suggest that sex therapy needs a recalibration in order to survive. It is suggested that the treatment of sexual dysfunction be integrated into the general psychotherapy enterprise and into a multidisciplinary biopsychosocial framework.
IPSA’s Surrogate Partner Therapy is based on the successful methods of Masters and Johnson. In this therapy, a client, a therapist and a surrogate partner form a three-person therapeutic team. The surrogate participates with the client in structured and unstructured experiences that are designed to build client self-awareness and skills in the areas of physical and emotional intimacy. These therapeutic experiences include partner work in relaxation, effective communication, sensual and sexual touching, and social skills training. Each program is designed to increase the client’s knowledge, skills, and comfort. As the days pass, clients find themselves becoming more relaxed, more open to feelings, and more comfortable with physical and emotional intimacy.The involvement of the team therapist, a licensed and/or certified professional with an advanced degree, is a cornerstone of this therapy process. Clients often experience apprehension as they begin therapy and when they begin to experience changes. The team therapist assists the client with these and other emotional issues. Sessions with the therapist are interwoven with the surrogate partner sessions in order to facilitate understanding and change. Open, honest, consistent communication between all team members is a fundamental ingredient of successful surrogate partner therapy.
World Association of Sex Coaches members must demonstrate competency in sexology and coaching through the comprehensive application form and the application interview. Members must embrace the Association’s statement on Ethics. Graduates of Sex Coach University automatically qualify for membership, based on the rigor and content of the Sex Coach University curriculum. Contact us for a referral to Sex Coach University to learn more about the Certified Sex Coach programs.
As a member, you are able to display the WASC credential on your promotional materials, and will be provided with a digital logo to use on your website.
The World Association of Sex Coaches (WASC) is dedicated to preserving and upholding the quality of professional standards and ethics for sex coaching worldwide. WASC is the premier credentialing association globally for sex coaching as its own profession. WASC views the sex coach training provided by Sex Coach University as the gold standard, meeting all requirements for association membership. WASC also certifies qualified professionals engaged in the work of sex coaching, provided they meet the required standards of knowledge and competence in sexology and coaching. Our certification standards and requirements are rigorous and comprehensive. WASC also welcomes the membership of Allied Professionals who, while not working as sex coaches, have understanding of and support for the profession. WASC is not liable for any of the actions of its professional members. All WASC members are responsible for their own services and programs. All WASC members have agreed to uphold the WASC Code of Ethics.
A sex coach is a trained professional who helps people with sexual issues. If you are interested in sex coaching or relationship coaching as a profession, it is important to know the field. Many different kinds of practices fall under the umbrella of sex and relationship coaching. Depending on your personality, your interests and your boundaries, you may be drawn to a particular approach. Here’s an in-depth description of all of the sub-categories of sex and relationship coaching so that you can decide what suits you best.
Why work with a sex coach?
Society tells us that we are supposed to naturally know how to have sex. The desire to have sex is natural, but the skills to be a great lover or to engage fully in sex aren’t. The truth is that people need to learn how to have great sex. Social animals (including humans) learn skills through modeling and explicit instruction.
Since sex is something that is shamed in our culture, talking about it or giving explicit instruction still remains rare. Young adults have very few good ways to learn how to have satisfying sex. A few will be lucky enough to have a partner teach them. Unfortunately, most people don’t give good feedback, so many people end up not knowing what makes for great sex. This is where working with a good sex coach can be very helpful. Sex is learnable and teachable. The best way to learn about it is to get feedback from an experienced, non-judgmental and cheer-leading person. It’s most helpful if they also understand both the physiology and the psychology of sex.
What kinds of sex coaching are there? There are two main types of sex coaching: talk and experiential.
During talk coaching sessions, a sex coach will ask you about your challenges and goals. They will then give you suggestions for improvement, as well as book and video recommendations. The other type of sex coaching is experiential sex coaching. In experiential sex coaching, your sex coach will teach you how to be a better lover through talking as well as hands-on practices. Experiential practices might include breath, touch, how to emit and share sexual energy, and how to verbally seduce a partner.
What is it like to work with a talk-based sex coach?
Similar to life coaching, in talk-based sex coaching the client comes to the practitioner with a problem. The coach then helps them figure out what steps they can take to solve their problem. The coach may ask the client to fill out an intake form. Then they will meet in-person, over the phone, or on Skype for an initial session. During this time, the client and coach work together to define the problem. The coach develops a coaching plan with steps to address the issue. At each subsequent meeting, the client talks with their coach about which parts of the plan they’ve accomplished and where they feel stuck. The coach helps you keep your commitment to continue the plan.
Talk sex coaching can cover many topics including dating, sexual identity, sexual abuse, sex addiction, sex and aging, open relationships, communication skills, gender identity, sex in long-term relationships, and sexual dysfunction. Talk coaches will sometimes offer homework to do outside of the session with partners or potential partners. For example, a talk sex coach may encourage a client who is interested in dating to talk to five people they are interested in. They may offer suggestions to couples such as watching a video and practicing the kinds of sensual touch they see in it.
Sometimes sex coaches help clients accept themselves or help them speak to family, friends, or loved ones about who they truly are. Talk coaches do not typically have physical contact beyond hugs or handshakes. A coach may offer emotional support by placing a hand on their client’s back or arm when needed, but this is usually the extent of touch in a talk coaching session.
A talk sex coach will help you:
● Identify your sex coaching goals
● Talk through potential approaches
● Create a sex coaching plan
● Offer you emotional support, suggestions, and homework
● Help keep you motivated around your goals
What is it like to work with an experiential or hands-on sex coach?
Experiential, hands-on sex coaching is where the sex coach takes a more interactive approach, guiding their client through exercises to help them feel more comfortable with their body, their sexuality, and intimacy. It begins the same way as talk-based sex coaching, where the coach gets a good idea of the client’s goals and includes talking about their issues and strategies for improvement.
At the same time, experiential sex coaches point out that just talking is often not enough to learn new skills around sex and intimacy. In the same way that one can’t learn piano, dance, or baseball from a book. Experiential sex coaches teach their clients better touch by touching and being touched by them. They give them feedback about how to touch and connect in a more sexy and sensual way. Somatic (or body-based) approaches to coaching and therapy are becoming much more prevalent as research continues to show their higher effectiveness.Somatica is an example of this kind of coaching.
A hands-on sex coach will help you:
● Identify your goals around your sex coaching goals
● Talk through potential approaches to resolve your challenges
● Create a sex coaching plan with practical steps for implementation
● Offer you emotional support and suggestions
● Offer you new tools and skills to expand on your current skillset
● Give you opportunities for hands-on practice of new techniques and offer real-time
● Help keep you motivated around your goals
What is the difference between a sex coach and a sex
To be a sex therapist, one needs to have a degree in psychotherapy, theology, social work, or medicine. Each of these foundational trainings will include only a small amount of training around sexuality. A sex therapist may augment this training with additional sexuality training. Sex therapy can often be a longer process where you dive into the childhood underpinnings of your emotional challenges around sex. It is often particularly helpful to those who have unresolved trauma or higher levels of dysfunction. Like sex coaches, a sex therapist may give their client homework and ask them to report on it in the next session.
What is the best approach for me?
Deciding which of these approaches feels right for you is a personal decision. Perhaps, in reading these different descriptions, one of them seems like it is the most helpful, comfortable, or in alignment with your personality. It is important to make this decision with more than just your brain. For example, imagine talking with your client, then giving them homework. Now imagine giving and receiving sensual touch with your client. Which of these makes you feel most inspired? That is always the best way to make a choice!