Should You Try Sex Therapy?

If your lack of sexual desire is more than just a dry spell, you might want to consider sex therapy.

Written on May 29, 2010

woman thinking in bed with man, lack of sex

Let me state, first, that it's perfectly normal for people to go through periods when they're just not in the mood for lovemaking. Inhumanly busy schedules for work and family life leave little time for a romantic life. That being said, it is not healthy to chronically lack desire for sex. My article, "A Sexless Marriage," detailed the physical reasons for not wanting to engage in sex with your partner. But after having ruled out any physical problems for lack of sexual desire you have to turn to other reasons. One of these may simply be lack of knowledge.


Despite the fact that there is a greater openness about sex today, and sexuality itself seems to be a popular topic on television, too many women and men have very little knowledge about their own bodies and how to use them for sexual pleasure. It is a bit easier for men because their sex organs are more visible; women have to do a search and discover.

Embarrassment should not keep you from learning about your pleasure zones. There are videos, books, and information on sexual functions. Learn as much as you can about your body and what will give it physical pleasure. Learn the correct terms and what their functions are. Many couples are unaware that the female clitoris sexually corresponds to the male penis and that both work in a similar way to produce orgasm. Knowledge of your own body and that of your partner's is necessary to a healthy, pleasure-filled sex life. You and your partner might also want to seek the help of a sex therapist.


Alexandra Myles, MSW, a sex therapist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and with her own practice says, "There are probably a lot of people out there who could use therapy but don't come because they're embarrassed. They may go through years of needless pain or dissatisfaction."

Sex therapy doesn't just deal with talking about your feelings and frustration. There is work to be done by the couple on a physical level as well. Clients are encouraged to practice certain physical techniques, such as one called "sensate focus" or gentle caressing of your partner without any genital contact. Sexual contact and stimulation come only after you and your partner are comfortable with caressing. (Let me state here that these sexual experiences are never done in the therapist's office).

You can find a certified sex therapist through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) or ask your doctor for a referral. Sex therapists must meet specified requirements and practice a strict code of ethics. You need to have a relaxed and mutually respectful relationship with the therapist you choose. Don't stay with someone with whom you or your partner is not comfortable.

Says Judy Seifer, Ph.D., clinical professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a former president of AASECT, "If you see a therapist who says or does anything suggestive, or that involves nudity, terminate the relationship immediately. Sex therapy (in the therapist's office) is strictly talk therapy. There should be no 'show and tell.''


Written by Kristen Houghton for