sex therapy

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Related to sex therapy: Sex addiction, PLISSIT, Sex surrogacy

Sex Therapy



Sex therapy is the treatment of sexual dysfunction.


Sex therapy utilizes various techniques in order to relieve sexual dysfunction commonly caused by premature ejaculation or sexual anxiety and to improve the sexual health of the patient.


Sexual dysfunction conjures up feelings of guilt, anger, insecurity, frustration, and rejection. Therapy is slow and requires open communication and understanding between sexual partners. Therapy may inadvertently address interpersonal communication problems.


Sex therapy is conducted by a trained therapist, doctor, or psychologist. The initial sessions should cover a complete history not only of the sexual problem but of the entire relationship and each individual's background and personality. The sexual relationship should be discussed in the context of the entire relationship. In fact, sexual counseling may deemphasize sex until other aspects of the relationship are better understood and communicated.
There are several techniques that combat sexual dysfunction and are used in sex therapy. They include:
  • Semans' technique: which is used to help combat premature ejaculation with a "start-stop" approach to penis stimulation. By stimulating the man up to the point of ejaculation and then stopping, the man will become more aware of his response. More awareness leads to greater control, and open stimulation of both partners leads to greater communication and less anxiety. The start-stop technique is conducted four times until the man is allowed to ejaculate.
  • Sensate focus therapy, the practice of nongenital and genital touching between partners in order to decrease sexual anxiety and build communication. First, partners explore each other's bodies without touching the genitals or breasts. Once the couple is comfortable with nongenital touching, they can expand to genital stimulation. Intercourse is prohibited in order to allow the partners to expand their intimacy and communication.
  • Squeeze technique, which is used to treat premature ejaculation. When the man feels the urge to ejaculate, his partner squeezes his penis just below the head. This stops ejaculation and gives the man more control over his response.


Habits change slowly. All the techniques must be practiced faithfully for long periods of time to relearn behaviors. Communication is imperative.



Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson, and Robert C. Kolodny. Heterosexuality. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1994.

sex therapy

The treatment of sexual dysfunction with psychotherapeutic methods such as counseling and behavior modification.

sex therapist n.
The treatment of sexual dysfunction, including non-consummation, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, low libido, unwanted sexual fetishes, sexual addiction, painful sex or lack of sexual confidence, assisting people who are recovering from sexual assault, problems commonly caused by stress, exhaustion and other environmental and relationship factors. Sex therapists assist those experiencing problems in overcoming them and possibly regaining an active sex life

sex therapy

Specialized methods of treatment for problems such as erectile dysfunction (impotence), premature ejaculation, anorgasmia (failure to achieve orgasm), VAGINISMUS, sexual phobias and DYSPAREUNIA. See also SENSATE FOCUS TECHNIQUE, SEXUAL DISORDERS.
References in periodicals archive ?
She also lectures at conferences abroad and has contributed to several English-language books on sex therapy.
Nevertheless, it would be helpful for the authors to be more explicit about the ways in which they see Christian faith making a difference in sex therapy.
Several of the contributors to the collection set out a history of sex therapy which began with Masters and Johnsons' attempts to determine a sexual response cycle across all humans; continued with the delineation of different "sexual dysfunctions" in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM); and culminated in a post-Viagra rush to pharmaceutical and physiological solutions and randomized control trial tests of their effectiveness.
Clients/ patients referred to me for sex therapy, in contrast to 10 or 20 years ago, now state that they are seeking treatment for "problems in intimacy".
By the 1980s, approximately one third of the individuals or couples who sought help at sex therapy clinics presented problems related to low sexual desire.
Similarly, Hall (2005) reported that one sample of sexually abused women who sought sex therapy revealed frequent complaints of abuse flashbacks during sex; dissociative experiences during sex; distress, shame, and guilt about responding sexually; sexually compulsive behavior; panic; sexual avoidance; and aversion to specific sexual activities.
Sex therapy made news recently: A panel of the federal Food and Drug Administration voted against approval of flibanserin, a medication that claims to treat "sexual desire disorder" in women, prompting the manufacturer to halt development, while still continuing clinical trials.
On the other hand, the essence of hypnosis in sex therapy is the experiential thinking by which the client sees him- or herself free from the problem and acting sexually in a 'non-problem way'.
This single precedes the release of Robin's new album Sex Therapy.
Such a scale, she states, could be useful in sex therapy, in the medical arena to help better understand decisionmaking that goes into gynecological care and treatment, and in health education settings involving women and their sexual health.
The present study describes a cohort of clients seen by the Sex Therapy New Zealand service in one year, with a particular focus on the presenting symptoms in relation to existing models of sexual functioning problems.
The study results were presented in a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.