Sex Therapy

sex-therapy-north-atlanta

Are you dissatisfied with your sexual relationship?

Have you or your partner lost interest in sex?

Do you and your partner have different levels of desire?

Has sex become a frequent topic of discussion or arguments, or is it just not talked about at all?

Are you worried about your own sexual functioning?

It is not unusual for couples to experience some sexual challenges at some point. When sex is good, it can be a natural and enjoyable part of a relationship. But when sex is problematic, or non-existent, it can erode the overall quality of the relationship. Resentment, worry, anger, fear can seep over into other aspects of interactions; conversations tip-toe around the topic, or explode into anger and blame; sometimes even expressions of physical affection disappear.

When a relationship that was once warm and satisfying turns distant and frustrating, partners are left wondering whether it will ever get better. Couples try to solve these problems on their own, but with little understanding of why the problems have occurred, or what to do to change things, efforts often lead to further frustration, disappointment and blame.

Sex therapy is talk therapy that is focused on sexual issues. It is an opportunity to consult with an expert on sexual problems that can interfere with sexual satisfaction. As therapists, we can not only help you understand why these problems are occurring, but also offer specific behavioral solutions that you can implement privately. Some of the problems we can help with:

Individual problems:

  • Low desire
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Rapid or delayed ejaculation
  • Pain on intercourse
  • Difficulty with orgasm
  • Sexual changes due to aging or illness

If an individual is in a relationship, individual difficulties lead to challenges for the couple as well, and at times are actually a result of the couple’s sexual dynamics. Couple’s problems that can be addressed in sex therapy include:

• Low or no sex relationship
• Differences in desire or sexual style
• Lack of communication
• “Performance” issues
• Dealing with life changes

You may be wondering…

Is sex therapy going to be embarrassing or uncomfortable?

Well, maybe at first – it depends on you. Many people are not comfortable talking about something as private as their own sexual activities. But we therapists find it so natural and easy to talk about sex, that most people soon overcome their initial discomfort, and are soon able to share all the information the therapist needs to identify the source of the problems, and arrive at an appropriate solution. And don’t worry if you don’t know the “proper” terms for things; any words you are comfortable with are perfectly appropriate. Furthermore, if any discussion or type of activity the therapist suggests doesn’t feel right for you, please be sure to let us know – we have lots of different ways to approach a problem in sex therapy! Finally, please be assured that there will never be any touching or disrobing or any kind of sexual activity in the therapist’s office, and the therapist will never ask you to share pictures or videos of yourself – that would be inappropriate and unethical!

How can talking about our problems help?

Talking about the problem is just the beginning of finding a solution that will bring about lasting change. Your therapist will want to begin by gathering information that will provide a thorough understanding of what brought you into counseling, the history of your relationship, and your goals for change. Often, couples have not shared their feelings and perceptions, so clearing up misunderstandings and resentments in sex therapy is an important first step to creating openness and trust as a foundation for good sex. In addition to facilitating dialog between the partners, the therapist will also provide information where appropriate, and will suggest specific activities and exercises to be done at home.

Shouldn’t sex be something that just happens naturally? Isn’t it just a matter of chemistry?

“Chemistry” is an important part of sexual activity in the early stages of a relationship, but nobody is attracted in the same way to someone for 30 years or more. A good sexual relationship in a long-term marriage or relationship requires learning how to nurture mutual desire and erotic intimacy. Some couples discover the key to creating the chemistry that keeps intimacy going, seemingly without effort. Others are puzzled and frustrated to feel the excitement fade. Sometimes this happens after children are born, or life gets more stressful in other ways, and sometimes it happens for no obvious reason at all. These are the couples that can benefit most from sex therapy.

We’re a young couple – aren’t most young couples having lots of sex?

Some young couples experience feelings of embarrassment when they have problems with their sexual relationship. They may hear their friends make remarks that suggest that everyone except them is having great sex, leaving them feeling dysfunctional and ashamed. In fact, many couples of all ages experience sexual frequency dropping off within the first year of moving in together, and some experience sexual difficulties from the beginning. Working with a sex therapist, young couples can discover why they got off-track, and learn skills to create the kind of sexual relationship they have been hoping for.

We’re an older couple – maybe we’re just past all that?

It is a misconception that there is a certain point where sexual activity needs to end. Although it may not be exactly the same as it was in their 20’s, many people continue to be sexually active well into their 80’s. There are, of course, physical changes that go along with aging, particularly for those who have also experienced serious illnesses such as cancer or heart disease, or chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Post-menopausal women often experience discomfort during intercourse, and older men may experience erectile difficulties. Some of these problems can be addressed medically, and if any of these conditions are present, it is advisable to have a thorough examination by a physician knowledgeable about sexual functioning before beginning sex therapy. Once medical treatment has been explored in sex therapy, the therapist can help a couple find ways to continue to experience the joy and intimacy of a sexual relationship that works for them.

What if we are a same-sex couple or we are a couple with non-vanilla interests?

Sex therapists understand the needs of same-sex couples and couples with a wide range of sexual experiences. We are prepared to help all couples resolve their sexual issues with openness and acceptance. Issues discussed and intimacy-building activities will always be tailored to the needs of the couple in therapy.

I think there is something wrong with my partner…or I think there is something wrong with me…

There is no doubt that there are some physical conditions that impact sexual functioning. Sometimes there are also psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or beliefs and attitudes about sex that can interfere with sexual enjoyment. At times, lack of understanding or a sense of being in some way “broken” can get in the way of discussing the source of sexual problems, and may lead to avoidance of sexual contact. Although individual counseling may be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan, the solution is rarely to identify the partner with the problem and sending that person to therapy to get “fixed”. When problems are not physiological, they often are the result of the interaction of the two people. These problems are best resolved by involving both partners in therapy –

What if I’m not in a relationship? Can sex therapy help?

Although the best way to learn how to have good a good sexual relationship is to experience one, sometimes worry about sexual functioning can lead to avoiding experiences that have the potential to create disappointment or embarrassment. If you are not ready to enter into a relationship until you are able to resolve some issues, we can work with you to understand your problems and to find ways to improve functioning and gain the confidence to be ready for relationship opportunities.

If you as an individual or as part of a couple are unhappy with some aspect of your sex life, and you haven’t been able to solve it on your own, please contact one of our experienced sex therapists. If you are wondering if sex therapy can help you, please call:

Kristi Sutter 770-361-7155 Elaine Wilco 770-650-8052 Jennifer Caplan 404-913-1656