Sexual Dysfunction, Sexual Arousal Disorder, Sexual Pain Disorders, and Mismatched Libido are all commonly treated with sex therapy. We will explore and define what each of these are and the treatments that are commonly used to manage and resolve them. A sex therapist is an expert at helping you, your marriage, or relationship get back on track to a healthy sexual connection. People commonly ask if sex therapy requires both partners to be present and the answer is no, a sex therapist can help you individually or your counseling can happen as a part of your marriage counseling or couples therapy. Let us begin with examining the various facets of intimacy.
Sexual Arousal Disorder
If you have long standing difficulties in sustaining or obtaining an erection, or in experiencing lubrication in and around the vagina, you may reach the diagnostic criteria for sexual arousal disorder. There are multiple causes physical for this issue, including hormonal changes, aging, disease, these all must be ruled out by a urologist, gynecologist, or PCP. After determining that there are no physical concerns to manage, a sex therapist can help you to manage unresolved sexual guilt or shame or relationship issues that may have precipitated sexual arousal disorder.
According to Medical Daily, human sexuality has a wide range of what is considered ‘normal’ – style of sex, sexual preference, and sexual frequency does vary significantly from couple to couple, and dysfunction isn’t diagnosed unless one person in the relationship identifies a divergent need from their partner. In fact, mismatched libido is one very common reason that a couple may seek sex therapy as a part of their couples therapy or marriage counseling. A normal and healthy sexual relationship can vary in frequency, anywhere , to once every other week can be considered normal depending upon age of the partners and individual preferences. Sex therapists can help the couple have a dialogue about sexual frequency preferences and prevent unwanted resentment from building around unmet sexual needs. By using counseling to create understanding and conversation focused on compromise, even mismatched libido can be navigated to ensure a healthy relationship.
This is a category of sexual disorder that prevents the couple from experiencing pleasure from sexual intimacy at any of the phases of the sexual response cycle. The sexual response cycle includes the excitement phase, plateau, orgasm, and resolution phase. Any of these phases can be disrupted resulting in sexual dysfunction. The most common form of sexual dysfunction is erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is often situational, meaning stress or performance anxiety causes a onetime inability of the phallus to develop or sustain an erection. How the individual manages that anxiety can lead to problems in the future, sometimes the anxiety of having a bout of ‘performance anxiety’ causes sexual avoidance in the future leading to long term erectile dysfunction. When long term erectile dysfunction causes an extended period of sexual avoidance, there can become a deep chasm of hurt and disappointment for both partners. The most common treatment for this is sensate focus. Your sex therapist will take you through a behaviorally-focused treatment program to resolve the anxiety-entrenched act of intimate experience. In other instances, erectile dysfunction can be a result of hormonal or other medical issues which will need to be ruled out by your urologist or PCP.
Sexual Pain Disorders
The most common of the sexual pain disorders are Dyspareunia and Vaginismus. These are often diagnosed by a gynecologist as the woman will seek medical treatment for the pain that she feels in her vaginal canal or external labia. After a gynecologist rules out endometriosis or other organic cause for the pain, the gynecologist will likely recommend a sex therapist to treat the painful intercourse. A common treatment method is the combined therapy of sensate focus as well as physical therapy to help the client relax the vaginal muscles and experience pleasure associated with sexual intimacy
Medical Daily; Online Journal, 2018. https://www.medicaldaily.com/conditions/sexual-health
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Sex Therapy and Sexual Wellness Blogs
What is Sex Therapy and How Can it Help?
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghNovember 2, 2022 sensate focus, sex therapist, sex therapy, sexual chemistry, sexual wellness, sexuality0 comments
Sexual intimacy plays an important role in our lives. The benefits of a healthy sex life have been linked to stress reduction, improved sleep, immune health, pain reduction, increased self-esteem, and increased closeness to a sexual partner; all-important aspects in living our happiest best lives! Sounds easy enough, have sex and be happy, right? Unfortunately for many, it is not...Learn More
No Sexual Chemistry in Your Relationship? Here are some ways that you can talk about it without them taking it personally.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 20, 2019 sexual chemistry, talking to your partner about sex0 comments
What can you do if you and your partner just don’t seem to have good sexual chemistry? Wondering it there are there ways to overcome it? How can you talk to them about it without them taking it personally? If you have ever wondered about the answers to these questions, we have you covered, read on! Having a great sex life with a partner, assuming you both have already established an...Learn More
Intimacy; The Art of Distance- Musings from a Psychotherapist on Couples Counseling
by Stephanie McCrackenAugust 15, 2014 counseling, couples therapy, marriage counseling, psychotherapy0 comments
in·ti·ma·cy /ˈɪntəməsi/ Show Spelled noun, plural in·ti·ma·cies. 1. The state of being intimate. 2. A close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving relationship with another person or group. 3. A close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject. 4. An act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like: to allow the intimacy...Learn More
“Birds and The Bees Redux; Sex Talk, A Psychotherapists Perspective”
by Stephanie McCrackenAugust 4, 2014 counseling, couples counseling, marriage counseling, psychology, psychotherapy, sexuality0 comments
“Birds and The Bees Redux; Sex therapy, Psycho-therapuetic perspective ” Sexual Connection Seduction, Eroticism, Arousal, Desire, Consent, Sex, Orgasm, Connection. How do you perceive those words? Are they lurid? Dirty? Enchanting? How intimately do you introspect upon your very own sensual conduct or is this a thought so frighteningly formidable that consideration is cast towards the shadows,...Learn More
Bisexuality, Examining The Facts; A Weekend of Pride
by Stephanie McCrackenJune 13, 2014 couples therapy, marriage counseling, psychology, sexuality0 comments
bisexual GLBT Couples “All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual.” Milan Kundera With the kickoff of Gay Pride weekend, sexual orientation is something that may be on the minds of many here in Pittsburgh. Particularly I would like to examine the nature of bisexuality, as some may call it, “one foot in/one foot out” or as other scholars may tend to think, a more realistic...Learn More
Why Searching for a Soul Mate is Damning to Love and Other Thoughts on Marriage Counseling
by Stephanie McCrackenFebruary 4, 2014 couples counseling, couples therapy, marriage counseling, personal growth, psychotherapy, Uncategorized0 comments
Why Searching for a Soul Mate is Damning to Love “Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.” ― Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving Soul mates, the stuff of fantasies, dreams come true, love at first sight and also quite likely among the reasons you may find...Learn More
Long Term Sex, for Long Term Love, Tips to add Spark to Sexual Intimacy- Marriage Counseling and Beyond
by Stephanie McCrackenJune 26, 2013 couples counseling, couples therapy, marriage counseling, psychotherapy, sensate focus, sexuality, Uncategorized0 comments
Long term relationships, life time marriages ; Tips To Add Spark To Sexual Intimacy Idyllic harmonious encounters of two souls forever become one, ahh…sounds so lovely, and it can be. Yet, reality settles in and our fantasy love becomes peppered with disappointments, disagreements, and challenges of surviving in a world that is at times unjust. For those who are able to make a loving...Learn More
Previous Sex Therapy Event
We’d love for you to join us for Season of Sensuality: Herbs as Aphrodisiacs, this Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 10:00 AM. The workshop will explore herbs as gateways to more presence and enjoyment of sensuality and sexuality.
Led by Annie Derek, herbalist, along with Guest Speaker Stephanie Wijkstrom, sex therapist and certified integrative mental health counselor, this workshop will explore why one might experience a low libido or disinterest in intimacy. She will discuss common barriers to sexual arousal and overcoming them. There will be an emphasis on how this looks different for each person since we all have unique bodies and experiences.
An Aphrodisiac Tea Blend is included in the $10 cost of the workshop and will be available to pick up after the event.
Don’t miss out—space is limited!