What Is a Sex Therapist? They had an 8-month-old and a 3-year-old. The husband was starved for physical contact and had been since baby No. But between the nursing infant and the clinging toddler , the wife was getting just about as much physical contact as she could stand. Over the course of several sessions, I explored what might be affecting their sex life by asking them some gentle questions.
Could the mother have postpartum depression? Was the couple aware that prolactin , the breastfeeding hormone, suppresses sexual desire? And what was sex like before kids? The Role of Sex Therapists This case is typical of both the kind of people who visit sex therapists and the type of work therapists do. Their chief treatment method is talk therapy, designed to help clients explore issues that may affect their sexuality. They suggest touching exercises for couples to try at home and teach couples how to become more intimate.
Sex therapists -- who most often are certified by one of two professional organizations in the United States -- address a variety of issues. Physically, clients may have trouble reaching orgasm or sustaining an erection. Emotionally, they may have problems concerning their self-esteem, body image , or an earlier trauma, such as abuse. And, interpersonally, they may disagree with their partner about how often -- or how -- they should have sex.
Treating Sexual Dysfunction Take the couple described above. I discovered that the wife was indeed feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and badly out of shape, and that she resented her husband for not doing more around the house.
Once we were clear on these issues, we came up with a plan: The husband would pitch in more, which included giving the wife time to exercise. The wife would try to touch her husband more both in and out of bed. And both said they would be more honest about what they needed. It was hard work -- and took honesty and courage -- but after several months their sex life was back on track.
If your own sex life is in the doldrums, try reconnecting with your passion -- and your partner -- with these strategies: Time with your spouse is crucial for rekindling romance , especially for women, who often need emotional closeness to get physically close. Nonsexual touching triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which has a calming effect.