Tag Archive for: sex therapy

sex therapy

10 Things You Should Know About Sex Therapy

People in any form of relationship structure; whether it be monogamous couples, conscious/ethical non-monogamous or any form of polyamorous relationships seek relationship therapy for whole number of reasons, and sexual issues can be one of them.

Psychosexual therapy or as it’s commonly known, ‘sex therapy’ is recommended when people are experiencing sexual difficulties that are causing distress in their relationship/s.

Some common issues that may warrant sex therapy include varying sexual desire, sexual pain, difficulties with arousal, and any relationship problems related to sex. Sex therapy can also be helpful for those who want to improve their sexual satisfaction, sexual pleasure and overall relationship and is important to seek as soon as possible, as sexual difficulties can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and disconnection if left unresolved.

A trained sex therapist can help identify and address the underlying issues contributing to their sexual difficulties, and work with them to develop a plan for improvement.

10 things you should know about sex therapy:

  1. Sex therapy is a type of therapy that addresses sexual issues and concerns, including those in relationships.
  2. It is a collaborative process between the therapist and the client/s.
  3. Sex therapy may involve individual and/or joint sessions, as well as homework assignments.
  4. Sex therapy is based on open communication and respect for both partners.
  5. Sex therapy can help couples improve their sexual satisfaction and overall relationship.
  6. Sex therapy is not just about fixing sexual problems, but also about improving intimacy and connection.
  7. Sex therapy is confidential and private.
  8. A qualified therapist who specializes in sex therapy should be licensed and formally trained in human sexuality.
  9. Couples should feel comfortable discussing intimate topics and should be willing to actively participate in therapy.
  10. Sex therapy for couples is not a quick fix or a magic solution to all relationship issues.

In addition, it is not about placing blame or finding faults in either partner, but rather a collaborative and non-judgmental process. It is not solely focused on physical intimacy, but also addresses emotional, psychological, and relational aspects of a couple’s sexual well-being.

A word of caution:

When seeking any form of sex therapy or couples/relationship therapy, it is important to consider your personal safety. By doing your homework on your therapist and making sure they are registered with a legislative body such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), SA Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) or any other local or international ethical and legal body, as these organisations have ethical and legal rules which therapists must abide by.

Sadly, like any profession there are people who claim to be relationship or sex therapists who are not trained or registered with a governing body causing harm to people. Because of this it is important to check that they have qualifications of a therapist and are experienced in working with relationship and sexual issues.

As sex therapy involves discussing sensitive and intimate topics consent and respect for everyone’s comfort level are essential. Please bear in mind that this form of therapy does NOT involve intimate touch, performing sexual acts in the therapist’s room or with the therapist. Sex therapy is a ‘talk-therapy’, however you may be given homework to do on your own or with your partner/s.


Stephan Laverack

Counselling Psychologist

Qualifications: BA(Hons) Psychosocial (UEL, UK), MA Couns. Psych. (Wits)

Email: stephenlavpsych@gmail.com

Website: https://www.stephenlaverack.co.za/

How Do I Know If I Need A Sex Therapist? What Can I Expect During Sex Therapy?

My experience is that most of us don’t realise that our sexual health can have a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Sex is an integral part of health and wellness which is why the WHO defines Sexual Health as a HUMAN RIGHT!

Sexual Health refers to everything about you and your sexuality. The lens of Sexual Health encompasses your mental, physical and social wellbeing as it relates to your sexuality. Sexual Health is premised on your right to sexual pleasure and your right to safe sexual expression and experiences.

Because most people never even think about whether they need a Sex Therapist or not, they live with a host of issues that can affect them negatively on all these levels – when indeed there are people like us Sex Therapists who can help with such a wide range of these issues!   

So what is Sex Therapy all about?

Well there is the stuff about your sexual identity, like:

  • Your sexual orientation – who do you find yourself sexually attracted to?
  • Your romantic orientation – who do you find yourself developing romantic feelings for? (The answers to these 2 questions don’t have to be the same and don’t have to remain static over time!)
  • Your gender – now this goes way beyond whether you are a man or a woman but extends to how you like to present yourself to the world, and also how you feel about yourself in terms if your gender – and this too does not have to remain fixed or static over time

Then there’s stuff about the act of sex:

  • What kind of sex do you like? And by ‘what kind’ I mean – when, how, with whom, with what, how often, if at all?
  • What turns you on?
  • What grosses you out?
  • Does sex hurt sometimes?
  • Is there anything you wish you could try, but feel totally weirded out by the idea?
  • Have you ever been aroused by something that took you completely by surprise because it’s just “not normal”?
  • Are you happy with your current level of sexual satisfaction?

Then there’s your sexual relationship with others:

  • What do your sexual relationship structures look like, and what do you wish they could be?
  • How important is monogamy to you in a sexual relationship? And to your partner/s?
  • How do you talk to your kids about sex?
  • How are you feeling about the sex with your current partner/s?
  • What kinds of things did you learn and experience about sex growing up? How do you think this may be influencing your expectations and experiences of sex and sexual relationships now?

These are just a few of the things that a Sex Therapist can help you explore, this list is by no means exhaustive.

As Sex Therapists we can help you whether you are experiencing extreme distress and dysfunction relating to the kinds of topics listed above, or if you are just wanting to find out if there’s more to the sex that you are currently experiencing.

Most people have questions about sex that they find difficult to explore within their social circles, so they google it and often don’t find answers, or just live with the uncertainty, disappointment, or distress that the issue causes.

What can I expect from Sex Therapy?

Sex Therapists are typically trained in Psychology or Social Work, and have obtained further training and or experience working in the field of Sexual Health. Much like general counselling, Sex Therapy does NOT involve any touching, bodily exposure or manipulation of any kind! It’s all “talk therapy” based on general counselling techniques, where we would explore topics that relate to your sexual health.

We may give you homework that can involve you and/or your partner exploring various physical techniques and exercises, which we would then talk about at the follow up sessions.

*You should NEVER allow a Sex Therapist to engage with you in any physical way, unless they are a qualified medical practitioner, and qualified to do what they are offering! It is also very important that you check the credentials and registrations of the professional that you seek help from before you see them.

Besides social or psychological problems relating to your sexual health, there can often be problems of a physical nature as well.

Sex Therapists are qualified to assess whether this might be the case, but we can’t diagnose or offer medical treatment. We thus work closely with medical health professionals who have training in sexual health, and will refer you to them if deemed necessary. We may also do this just to rule out any organic cause for dysfunction. Most often we work hand in hand with the medical practitioner to help you achieve resolution.

So how do you know when you need a Sex Therapist?

Everybody needs to talk about sex. You may not need to talk to a professional, but talking to one, can help you talk about sex to the people in your life who influence your sexual health.

There is a strong link between sex and psychology because sex is often about relating to others and requires a level of vulnerability that many other social interactions do not.

I have had many clients who have found that just having a space to talk about sex freely and without judgement, knowing that all is kept 100% confidential, has given them freedom and insights that have helped them experience sex in a much more positive way than they had prior to therapy.

So the simple answer would be, if you are unhappy, unsure or experiencing distress about any area on your sexuality, an assessment by a Sex Therapist can give you clarity about your issue and also afford you the opportunity to claim your right to live a more sexually healthy and fulfilling life.


Chantal Fowler (SASHA Executive Committee)
Clinical Psychologist
Psycho-Sexologist – European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM)
PHD candidate – UCT school of Public Health and Family Medicine

Website: www.chantalfowler.com

Email: chantalv.fowler@gmail.com

Mobile: 076 586 9857