Sex Therapy


unhappy couple in sex therapy

What is Sex Therapy?


Sex Therapy is a kind of psychotherapy which focuses mainly on concerns related to human sexuality. In sex therapy, individuals or couples talk with a psychotherapist about their sexual problems. Often, these problems can improve with greater understanding, helpful information, and better communication.

What is a Sex Therapist?


A sex therapist is always licensed in some other field, usually marriage and family therapy, psychology, social work, or medicine. Many of these professionals have special training in sex therapy, and some may have received certification from an organization such as the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, & Therapists.

What Do Sex Therapists Do?


Because sexual concerns are often very difficult for people to talk about, the therapist's job is, first of all, to create a climate of comfort, safety and permission for clients to talk about this private but very important issue.

The therapist will take a detailed history of each individual's life and of their current relationship, especially as it relates to sexuality and the problem of concern. Medical history will also be covered. In many cases, if a medical evaluation of the problem has not already been completed, the therapist will recommend that this be done.

Next, the therapist may need to provide information and correct any misunderstandings that may get in the way of resolving the issue. For example, many couples have inaccurate ideas about how sex is "supposed" to be, perhaps based on outmoded myths, or unrealistic pornographic video they may have seen.

The therapist will then provide specific suggestions to help improve the sexual problem. These may include reading, writing, communication exercises with a partner, watching educational videos, or specific physical exercises that aim to change the actual sexual experience.

Finally, and often most important, the therapist may explore underlying issues which may have caused the sexual symptom. Hidden anger or open conflict between partners; life stressors; or a traumatic sexual history may need to be addressed before the problem can be resolved. Other underlying factors may include depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, or substance abuse.

Please be aware that a sex therapist will never engage in any kind of sexual activity with a patient or client, whether in the office or in any other location. To do so is always a breach of ethics, and may be a crime.

What kinds of problems can be helped with sex therapy?


The most common sexual problems include changes in sexual desire, difficulty with erections (for men) or difficulty with orgasms (for women). At any age, people may have concerns about sexual function or lovemaking skills, as well as issues with orgasm and satisfaction.

Most men may have occasional difficulty with erections, rapid ejaculation, or delayed ejaculation at some time. This is normal. But when it happens frequently or most of the time, it may be considered a problem. Often, it's actually worrying about the problem that seems to make the problem worse! That's one way sex therapy can help by helping the individual and/or couple reduce their anxiety and increase pleasure and confidence.

Other common concerns include sexual trauma in one's background; medical conditions that affect sexuality; sexual pain disorders; concerns about gender identity or sexual orientation; and issues of sexual compulsivity or addiction.

Sex therapy can be individual therapy, but for those in a relationship with a steady partner, it's usually best for the couple to meet together with the therapist at least some of the time. Sex therapy can be appropriate for individuals and couples of any age, background, sexual orientation and gender identity. Sex therapists are trained to be respectful and non-judgmental when working with people of various backgrounds and lifestyles.

How Much Does Sex Therapy Cost?


A single (45 minute) sex therapy session costs the same as an individual therapy session. In most cases, if you have mental health coverage, your health insurance will cover sex therapy. Each session is billed to one partner's insurance as a "family therapy" session, while the couple is responsible for a single co-pay fee. For more information about our fee scale, please see the "Fees" section of this website.

Sex Therapists at Psych Choices of the Delaware Valley


Our two qualified Sex Therapists are Stephen Milburn, LPC and Sarah Halpern, LMFT