What is Psychosexual Therapy?
Sexual difficulties can make us feel very alone. Some people feel so fearful, self-conscious or ashamed of their sexual problem that they suffer for months or even years without discussing their worries with anyone, even their partner.
And yet sexual difficulties are very common and can have many causes.
Their origins may be:
Psychosexual Therapy (also known as Sex Therapy and PST) can help you if you’re experiencing difficulties in your love life and can help you to improve physical intimacy.
Our therapists see lots of people just like you. Working with a Relate Therapist will help you to work out how to handle the problems you’re having and find a way to move on from them.
What to expect in PST
Your therapist will understand that it takes a great deal of courage to seek help, and her first priority will be to put you at ease and to demonstrate that she is relaxed and experienced in talking about sex, and won’t be embarrassed by your problem, even if you are!
The first few sessions are called an assessment and these involve taking a detailed history of the problem and how it is affecting your relationship and/or your life.
Your therapist will also be interested in other aspects of your life, both now and in the past. For example, she is likely to be interested in how your family or work/life balance is affecting your sex life, and will probably ask about your early sex education. If appropriate, she may refer you to your GP for specific diagnostic tests, such as blood tests or scans.
At the end of the assessment, your therapist will tell you about a range of treatment packages, tailored to your particular needs. These might include physical treatments, ongoing psychosexual therapy, or both.
If you choose a physical treatment (for example, an oral treatment like Viagra), you would need to make an appointment with your GP who will carry out a physical assessment to ensure that the treatment is appropriate for you.
If you opt for sex therapy, it will be with the same therapist who carried out the assessment. A typical treatment programme might last 6 to 12 sessions, with the option of extended treatment for more complex problems.
Appointments are likely to be weekly, and in the time in-between appointments there may be homework exercises.
Examples of activities during therapy include:
How can Sex Therapy help me?
Sex therapy can help adults of all ages, whether heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian or gay; single people and couples who are married, cohabiting or living separately; people living with chronic illness or disability, and those who are otherwise healthy.
If you are in a relationship at the moment, we would strongly encourage you to attend sessions with your partner. This is because sexual and relationship problems hardly ever ‘belong’ to one partner or the other, even when the chief cause is a physical problem. Sexual problems will often change the way you relate to each other as a couple, and the way you are dealing with the problem may be intensifying the difficulty. If, however, you do not have a partner, or s/he is unwilling to attend, you may still benefit from attending sex therapy sessions on your own.
These are just some of the reasons why you might decide to go for sex therapy: