Sex Therapy

About Sex Therapy

When it comes to sex, our culture is at once obsessed and repressed. We are bombarded daily by images that make sex seem easy and empowering, all the while ignoring the complex realities of sexuality and intimacy in long-term relationships. 

One result of these mixed messages is that few of us fully develop our capacity for healthy desire and eroticism. Lacking concrete ways to tend to these important areas, we may internalize our “failures,” believing something is wrong with us or our bodies. We need more support in nurturing this unique area of lived experience.

My goal is to help you integrate love and a vital sexuality in order to have more fulfilling relationship experiences. I work with couples seeking to improve their dynamics around sex and intimacy. I also work with individuals wanting to reconnect with their sexual selves. I can help with low libido, conflict about sexual frequency, sexual aversion, sexual trauma, and more.

Discussing sexual issues, even with a compassionate professional, can be difficult. That is why I take a collaborative and co-creative approach. Together, we will find language that feels authentic for you and employ realistic solutions to develop the intimate life you want and deserve.

Benefits of Sex Therapy

  • Learn to communicate openly about sexual preferences and desires
  • Transform conflict around sexual issues
  • Re-centering pleasure, not performance, as the goal of being sexual
  • Integrate a healthy sexuality with other areas of your life (e.g. how to be both a sexual being and a parent)
  • Relinquish shame around sexual feelings, body image, and other anxieties
  • Establish or re-establish sexual boundaries following sexual trauma
  • Re-awaken sexual desire
  • Develop new sexual techniques and erotic scenarios
  • Practice erotic self-care

Common Reasons for Seeking Sex Therapy

Low Arousal/Low Desire

Desire problems are extremely common, affecting 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men. A cultural emphasis on sex often compounds the shame associated with low desire. Feeling deficient and stigmatized is of no value to you and your relationship!

Experience shows that desire problems rarely clear up on their own and are best addressed directly and as early as possible. If you are having desire problems, don’t wait! I am here to help you reclaim passion and pleasure to build more positive anticipation in your most important relationship.

Exploring Sexual Orientation

For many, sexual orientation is an important part of identity. Unfortunately, most people lack safe spaces to explore this facet of their humanity. Prejudice, bullying, discrimination, and even violence not only rob the individual of their right to be, but compound the pain with shame and isolation.

I believe the human experience is comprised of a multitude of orientations and lifestyles, and that none should go without support simply because of the one they inhabit. Whether you’re a young adult looking to explore yourself outside the confines of familial and societal pressures, or you’re finally feeling empowered to re-evaluate this piece later in life, I am here to help support and guide your process.

“Sex Addiction” or Out of Control Sexual Behavior (OCSB)

If you struggle with unwanted sexual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, you may have been labeled a “sex addict” by friends, family members, or even professionals. Often, identifying with “sex addiction” is rooted in moral or religious messaging regarding the amount or kinds of sex one is having. One of the first steps I take in therapy is to assist clients in disentangling sexual shame from real problem sexual behavior. In other words, “is the behavior the problem, or the way you’re made to feel about it?”

For clients whose sexual behavior does prove to be problematic for them, I prefer using the Out of Control Sexual Behavior (OCSB) model instead of a traditional sex addiction approach. In contrast to sex addiction treatment, OCSB is a non-pathologizing, strengths-based, and sex positive approach to assisting those whose sexual acts or behaviors have become problematic to themselves or their relationships. The OCSB was endorsed by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in a position statement several years ago that found sex addiction treatment to be inadequately informed by an understanding of human sexuality.

The movement away from the “sex addiction” label is not meant to downplay or deny the pain and hopelessness brought on by problem sexual behaviors. Rather, it is an acknowledgement that the individual must be considered in a broader context that includes their upbringing, trauma history, and religious and sociocultural influences. Often, problem sexual behavior has less to do with sex and more to do with coping with emotional pain. My goal as a therapist is to help you cultivate sexual health by confronting the underlying causes of unwanted sexual behaviors and engaging in the kinds of sex that bring pleasure, connection, and fulfillment.

Trouble Reaching Orgasm

Difficulties reaching orgasm, whether with a partner or alone, are a common reason for seeking sex therapy. The reasons are often multifaceted, involving physical, mental, emotional, and/or relationship factors. Together, we can sift through these pieces and emphasize the aspects of sexuality that are pleasurable to you while addressing those that are proving troublesome. Whether you’re desiring some new techniques, wanting to build sexual confidence, or needing to work through a difficult relationship dynamic, I can help you re-center pleasure as a focal point of your intimate life.

Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation, also called rapid ejaculation or premature climax, is a common sexual complaint affecting about 1 in 3 sexually active men. It is defined as “ejaculation sooner than a man or his partner would like.” Premature ejaculation can be a frustrating experience for both the man and his partner and can make sex a source of shame and anxiety. Fortunately, it is highly treatable.

I take a wholistic approach to premature ejaculation, preferring to “treat the man, not just the penis!” Together, we’ll look at the biological, psychological, emotional, and relational factors that contribute to premature ejaculation and build solutions that work for you.

Delayed Ejaculation

Delayed ejaculation, sometimes called impaired ejaculation, is a condition in which a man requires extended sexual stimulation in order to ejaculate. Some men with delayed ejaculation are unable to ejaculate at all.

While this condition seems to affect less men than its premature cousin, those with delayed ejaculation are likely to experience similar distress and sexual dissatisfaction. Causes are varied and include certain medical conditions, side-effects from medication, and mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.

As with premature ejaculation, I take a wholistic approach to delayed ejaculation, preferring to “treat the man, not just the penis!” Together, we’ll look at the biological, psychological, emotional, and relational factors that contribute to your difficulties and build solutions that work for you.

Erectile Dysfunction and Performance Anxiety

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which a man persistently experiences difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. The prevalence of ED is about 10% per decade of life; that is, about 20% of men in their 20’s and 50% of men in their 50’s are affected by ED at some point.

ED can be a symptom of more serious medical conditions, and this is certainly something we’ll want to rule out together. I frequently work with medical personnel and am prepared to support men and their partners through this process. ED is more likely to be related to a medical issue if the difficulty occurs across situations (partnered sex vs. solo sex) and/or sexual partners.

ED can also be related to a mental or emotional problem. Depression, grief, anger, and anxiety can all interfere with sexual functioning.

Whether your ED is the result of a medical issue or a psychological one, I am here to support you in a compassionate, non-judgmental environment. I can help you weigh options about medication or lifestyle changes, as well as process any mental or emotional issues that are either contributing to ED or stemming from it. Finally, I can help you explore alternative ways of deriving pleasure from your sex life.

Concerns Regarding Previous Unwanted Sexual Experiences

“Unwanted sexual experience” is a broad term I use to refer to any sexual act or sexually charged experience that happened outside the context of explicit consent. Unwanted sexual experiences include rape, sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner violence, childhood sexual abuse, being made to penetrate, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and unwanted noncontact experiences. The prevalence of these experiences is exceedingly high with as many as 1 in 4 men and 1 in 2 women experiencing an unwanted sexual experience in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, due to stigma and shame, many people do not seek support in the immediate wake of an unwanted sexual experience. Often, concerns arise later when they are attempting to be intimate again with a safe partner. Unwanted sexual experiences can lead to long-term symptoms like sexual shame, depression, anxiety, pelvic pain, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, low desire, and/or problematic patterns of arousal.

I believe every human deserves the right to healthy sexual expression that is centered on pleasure and free of coercion and exploitation. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of an unwanted sexual experience, whether recent or in the distant past, I am here to help support you in building the intimate life you deserve.

Recommended Resources

  • Rekindling Desire, Barry McCarthy
  • Reclaiming Your Sexual Self:  How You Can Bring Desire Back Into Your Life, Kathryn Hall
  • Passionate Marriage:  Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships, David Schnarch
  • The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus:  How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure, Violet Blue
  • The New Male Sexuality, Bernie Zilbergeld
  • Hold Me Tight, Sue Johnson
  • Come As You Are:  The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, Emily Nagoski
  • Passionista: The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man, Ian Kerner
  • Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, Esther Perel
  • She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide To Pleasuring a Woman, Ian Kerner

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