Sex therapy is talk therapy.
I will help you directly address your sexual problems instead of assuming that once underlying issues are resolved sex will naturally get better (it doesn’t).
In sex therapy you may be given reading material and/or “homework assignments” which further the therapeutic process and progress. At no time will you be asked to engage in any form of sexual activity in the office. If you are in a relationship, you may choose to go to therapy as a couple, however individual treatment is also successful.
My knowledge of sex research and my years of clinical experience have given me a variety of tools with which to help you. This allows me to tailor treatment specifically to you. I’m sensitive to your moral, religious and spiritual beliefs.
Sex and sexuality are an integral part of most people’s lives and cannot be treated separately from other issues that also affect your life. As a clinical psychologist and experienced psychotherapist, I integrate treatment of sexual problems into the larger picture.
Common Sexual Problems
- Low sexual desire
- Sexual incompatibility
- Lack of sexual pleasure
- Painful intercourse
- Erectile dysfunction
- Difficulty or inability to experience orgasm
- Premature (too rapid) ejaculation
- Delayed ejaculation/orgasm
- Sexually compulsive behavior/sexual addiction
- Sexual anxiety
- Sexual issues post cancer, cardiac and other disease
- Sexual issues related to sexual abuse, sexual assault/harassment or domestic violence
Low sexual desire
A drop in sexual desire or a lifelong lack of sexual desire can wreak havoc in a relationship or prevent you from seeking relationships. There are many reasons why sexual desire might be low or absent. While it’s important to make sure that you’re in good physical health, it’s also important to know that low desire is not usually due to physical causes and there are no FDA approved medications for the treatment of low desire. Sex therapy is the treatment of choice.
Often partners experience different levels of desire, or desire different things in their sexual relationship. Confusion, blame, anxiety, avoidance of sex and stress in the relationship can result – and these emotional reactions can then exacerbate the sexual incompatibility and a vicious cycle has begun.
Lack of sexual pleasure
Psychological, relational and emotional issues can interfere with the experience of sexual pleasure. Sometimes this also means that orgasm does not occur, but sometimes orgasm happens despite the lack of pleasure.
Intercourse should never hurt. Some women experience or anticipate pain and so cannot have intercourse or any kind of vaginal penetration (tampons, gynecological examinations). Some women can have intercourse, but it’s distressing and painful. Pain is the common symptom of different underlying issues. Proper diagnosis in consultation and collaboration with a gynecologist is the first step in developing effective treatment strategies.
Being unable to get or keep an erection is one of the most distressing sexual problems that men experience. Viagra and other PDE-5 inhibitors (Cialis, Levitra) help some men, but not all. In fact, most initial prescriptions for these drugs are not refilled. Sex therapy is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction once physical factors are either ruled out, or identified.
Difficulty or inability to experience orgasm
Thanks to recent technological advances and research, we now know more about the anatomy and physiology of women’s orgasm. This new research translates into more effective sex therapy. While some medications for anxiety and depression make it more difficult and sometimes impossible to experience orgasm, there are not many physical conditions that do. Whether the problem is a difficulty experiencing orgasm alone and/or with a partner, the issue is usually psychological, and sex therapy can help.
Premature (too rapid) ejaculation
What is too quick in terms of ejaculation? Basically, the answer is this: It is too quick if you ejaculate (cum) before you want to (within reason). Some men ejaculate during foreplay while others do so very soon after vaginal, anal or oral sex has begun. Many men try willpower, distraction or use sensation numbing creams or condoms to help delay ejaculation. These strategies are ultimately ineffective. Sex therapy helps with effective techniques that prolong pleasurable sex.
Medication side effects and physical causes need to be considered when ejaculation takes so long that sex is no longer pleasurable, or in those cases where ejaculation does not occur at all. Sometimes, ejaculation happens, but it is not accompanied by the pleasure associated with orgasm. The emotional roots of delayed ejaculation can include anxiety and the controlling tendencies that come with it, fear, and/or anger.
Sexually Compulsive Behavior/Sexual Addiction
There is a debate in the scientific community as to whether one can truly be addicted to sex. What is less debatable is the fact that sexual behavior can be out of control, compulsive and damaging. Often the sexual behavior in question involves the Internet, but it can also include spending vast amounts of money on sexual services, or engaging in multiple and simultaneous sexual relationships. You should be in control of your sexuality, not the other way around. Medication is not the answer, although it’s sometimes a useful adjunct to therapy.
People get anxious about sex because sex is often when people feel most vulnerable. Performance pressures, body image issues and concerns about normalcy or adequacy contribute to this anxiety and interfere with sexual pleasure. Sexual anxiety does not go away on its own. Anxiety can lead to avoidance of sex and intimate relationships. It can be at the root of other sexual problems. It is best addressed directly in therapy. (Anxiety may make it difficult to call or come to an appointment. This first hurdle is one you have to tackle on your own. Hopefully visiting this website will make it easier for you to take that first step.)
Sexual issues post cancer, cardiac and other disease
Sometimes medical issues make us feel more vulnerable, change our image of ourselves or our bodies, or sometimes the long break from sex makes it difficult to connect or reconnect sexually. Physical disabilities, if they exist, may require modifications to one’s sexual repertoire. Partners are often reluctant to resume sexual relations for fear of hurting someone they love, triggering a heart attack, or they are simply unsure of whether sex is welcome and if so, how it (and therefore they) might need to change.
Whether you are the one having the affair, or you have discovered your partner’s infidelity, your emotions are likely in turmoil. Some couples survive, some thrive and some break up after the discovery of infidelity. It is important to work through the confusion of moral imperatives, the advice of family and friends, hurt pride and panicked dependence (“What will I do without him/her?”) and come to a resolution that is right for you.
Sexual Issues related to sexual abuse, sexual assault/harassment or domestic violence
Sexual disinterest is a normal response to abuse. If you are currently in an abusive relationship, working to improve intimacy and sexuality is not appropriate. The abuse needs to stop. If you have previously been abused (as a child or adult) your sexuality may have suffered lasting effects. Even if you have dealt with the abuse in past psychotherapy, you may be surprised to learn that a direct approach to sexual problems is often what is needed to finally reclaim your sexuality.