Let's talk about sex!
Talking about what you ate yesterday, what hurts you, or how you slept is easy to do with others. But talking about sex is hard for most people. But it is just as important as talking about other areas of your life. In psychotherapy, the question of sexuality is one of the most important questions, whether you come for sexual difficulties or not. We should take the topic just as important in our everyday life. After all, sexual health greatly influences our mental well-being. The more you know your own sexual needs and the clearer you can talk about them with your partner, the more intense your sexuality will be.
Are you ashamed of not having experienced an orgasm yet and do you pretend to have an orgasm with your partner during sex? Then you are like many women. But it doesn't have to stay that way. There can be many reasons why you haven't had an orgasm yet. Maybe you find it difficult to let go and give yourself completely to the situation, or you don't want to disappoint your partner, or you've had a negative sexual experience... all these and more can be reasons for missing orgasms. In a sex therapy you can get to the bottom of this and develop a satisfying sexuality.
Perhaps you are more concerned with the question of whether you are having too much sex. Do I have a sex addiction if I have or want to have sex several times a day? Here, too, it is important to take a closer look, because desire for sex several times a day is in principle nothing unusual. However, if you can no longer control your sexual impulses and you can hardly concentrate on anything else but sex, and perhaps even your other areas of life are suffering as a result, then it is important to take a closer look with a sex therapist.
What is sex therapy?
A sex therapy accompanies you and your partner with sexual problems and insecurities. You can go to a sex therapist individually or as a couple. In the past, sex therapy was defined very narrowly and was only about treating sexual dysfunction, such as erection and potency problems or loss of sexual interest. Nowadays, it's much broader. It's much more looking at the interplay between experiences and happenings in your life and sexual problems. Your sexuality is influenced and shaped by so many areas...by cultural and religious influences, by your friends, by your parents, and by your own experiences. And your sexuality in turn influences your mood, your body image and your health. For example, pain disorders can also have their origin in difficult sexual experiences, or post-traumatic stress disorder can occur after abusive experiences. So you could say that sex therapy is psychotherapy on sexual symptoms, but using different specific methods.
It is important that you inform yourself well in advance about the sex therapist, because sex therapy is not a protected term, which is based on uniform training. It is advisable to read up beforehand whether the offer and the orientation of the sex therapist correspond to your own ideas. You can also check with our experts at WePractice to see if someone appeals to you. When searching for a therapist, simply check the box "Sexual problems" in the specializations and you will be shown all the experts who are well versed in this area.
Accordingly, the way sex therapy is conducted varies greatly. Some sex therapists work mainly with couples, while others focus on the individual and his or her stresses. Some focus a lot on exercises, others more on conversations. In any case, the sex therapist should ask you at the beginning whether your sexual problems have already been medically clarified. Because there are also some physical reasons that can trigger sexual disorders, such as undetected diabetes. If everything fits from the medical side, then a sex therapy can be started.
Reasons for sex therapy
Almost everyone of us has at least once in his life a phase in which a sexual problem occurs, whether man or woman, young or old. There are also often misconceptions about what sexuality should be like. The socially widespread image of what "normal" sex is can create a lot of pressure to perform or even shame. Here are some of the most common issues that people seek sex therapy for:
Sex addiction and hypersexuality (difficult to control, increased sexual desire)
Sexual anxiety and shame
Loss of sexual desire or interest
Sexual dysfunction (erection problems, orgasm problems, potency problems, pain and constriction of the vagina during sex, etc.)
Different sexual fantasies
Sexual problems triggered by mental illnesses
Preoccupation with one's own sexual identity and gender identity
The difficulties can be quite different. Some people find it difficult to formulate what they want in their sexuality. This may be due, among other things, to strict sexual norms that were internalized for them in childhood. Other people are ashamed of their sexual fantasies or fear that they would eventually act out their fantasies if they let them. Also, there is sometimes the idea that sex always has to be the same and that it's not okay, for example, if you don't feel like doing the whole program once, but only want a quick number or don't feel like it at all. You don't feel like a steak and fries every day, but maybe you'd rather have a salad today. Here no one would get the idea to see a problem. You should see it the same way in the sexual area. What you feel like or not depends on your own mood and may vary from day to day. For a satisfying sexuality it is important to know your own needs. A difficulty in relationships can also be talking about one's sexual needs and fantasies with one's partner. Shame and fear of rejection or being ridiculed can make this difficult. This can then in turn lead to sexual problems in the relationship, such as premature ejaculation or lack of orgasm. The more you learn to talk about sexuality openly with each other in a relationship, the more fulfilling sexuality becomes. Often the idea exists that sex is most enjoyable at the beginning of a relationship, when you are freshly in love, and becomes more boring or infrequent the longer you are together. In therapeutic practice, however, I have often experienced it differently. The more openly you can talk about your sexual needs and fantasies in a relationship and the better you know and trust each other, the less shame and fear there is that blocks you and the more satisfying and better the sex is.
Exercises in sex therapy
Sex therapy consists mainly of conversations between you and your sex therapist, or between you, your partner, and your therapist. However, some therapists also offer exercises. You discuss these exercises together in the lesson and then try them out at home. Here are a few examples so that you know what to expect.
One exercise can be to abstain from coitus, i.e. the penetration of your partner into you, for a week and to caress each other intensively instead. This is about experiencing that physical closeness can be very intense without penetration and you get a new body awareness.
Guiding your partner's hand is another exercise. You sit opposite each other and guide your partner's hand over your own body in a way that feels good. Where do I like it softer, where firmer? Here you communicate your own needs to your partner on the one hand and on the other hand you feel intensively within yourself what feels good and what does not.
The Kegel exercise is a single exercise for both women and men. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, you can increase sensitivity in the genital area or counteract premature ejaculation. During the exercise one learns to tense and thus strengthen the pelvic floor.
The exercises are then discussed in the next therapy session. How did it go for you?
How do you feel about your sexuality?
I hope this article has inspired you to think about your own sexuality and has taken away some of the fear of talking about it.
I would like to conclude with a quote from Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (1725 - 1798): "I am brazen enough to consider myself happier than others thanks to my coarse inclinations, because I am convinced that these inclinations enable me to achieve greater pleasure.