Sex Therapy

Why would I need sex therapy?

The media and other people’s stories may make sex seem easy and simple, but everyone has sexual problems at some point!

Sex therapy is a safe place to ask questions, get answers based on the facts and resolve differences with your partner. You might feel left out of all the fun in our sex-drenched culture. Or perhaps you think life would be happier if sex just wasn’t such a big issue for your partner.

Either way, Awakenings Center has broad experience in helping people resolve sexual issues through professional sex therapy.

Most sex problems show up by year two in a committed relationship – well before children arrive or aging begins.

Unfortunately, good sex for the long haul doesn’t just happen naturally; working at sex is healthy and necessary for all couples.

What is sex therapy?

It’s talk therapy centered on the intimate feelings, actions, and history of your sex life. There are no exams, no nudity and no sexual touching between therapist and client.

At Awakenings, our patients experience a renewal of eroticism and playfulness in sexual connection.

We understand that for many people sex is inextricably tangled in their relationship. We focus on balancing sexual and relational needs during therapy.

Get help and start to look forward to sex again!

I’m embarrassed to talk about sex with my partner much less with a stranger.

Our sexual counselors make it comfortable to talk about this deeply personal issue. In fact, the number one comment people offer after the first session is, “That was so much easier than I thought it would be.” And a few sessions later they follow with this remark, “I wish we had come to sex therapy long ago, we would have been happier for years.”

We give each partner an opportunity in an individual session to talk through things that might be embarrassing or hurtful and coach you on how to communicate important feelings to your partner.

Learn to talk comfortably about sex in a safe environment.

Will my insurance cover the cost of sex therapy?

Most insurance covers a portion of the cost of mental health treatment. Your clinician can talk to you about which diagnosis best describes your issues. Awakenings has a form we can email you to step you through the complicated maze of insurance coverage. Ask your insurance company about your coverage for “mental health therapy,” not “sex therapy”. The fee depends upon the assigned therapist. While we can’t guarantee reimbursement, most insurances do cover a portion of our fees.

What happens in sex therapy?

Sex therapy begins with a description of the problem and how it developed. Often we take a thorough sexual and relational history. Both partners are invited to participate in order to provide necessary insight into the existing issues. It is natural to feel a bit of apprehension around talking about sex. Our therapists are trained to put you at ease while talking frankly about this difficult subject.

Sex therapy is talk therapy – no exams, no nudity and no sexual touching between therapist and client.

If my partner is reluctant to try therapy, can I still begin?

Yes. Sometimes just mentioning the possibility of counseling brings new dialogue and openness into a relationship. But other times, one partner may really not want to air these private issues. Many times they fear being blamed for all the problems, or they don’t believe talking will help change the way things have been for so long. Starting therapy by yourself may bring enough change to you and your relationship that your partner begins to see the benefit. We can teach you ways to approach your spouse that do not create defensiveness. Individual sessions remain confidential.

I have really low desire and my sexless marriage is suffering. How can you help me?

Low libido is the most common complaint we hear from clients, and we help most of them. Lack of desire comes from many factors. Within the first one or two sessions, we will help you figure out where your natural sexual energy has become stuck. With proper direction, many clients feel more hope about wanting to want again. We’ve seen even sexless marriages restored to full physical intimacy.

My husband is addicted to pornography — can you help?

With the explosion of pornography, men seem to gravitate toward it regardless of their moral beliefs and relational agreements. Sometimes, men self-diagnose themselves     sex addicts, or addicted to porn.  More often their female partners worry that they are a “porn addict” or a “sex addict.”  Sex addiction is a debatable term but clearly sometimes pornography and compulsive sexual behavior become too problematic for good sexual functioning and good relationships. Women feel anxious and intimidated by the images that seem to be their competition. Pornography use can make women really angry at what feels like her partner’s preference for an image rather than having sex with her.  Sometimes men, themselves, are worried about the time they spend on pornography and the escalation of their focus on sexual activities. Are you or is he a sex addict?  At Awakenings, we can help you measure sexual compulsivity to differentiate normal drive from problematic behavior.  Perhaps, the man has given up on negotiating sex with his partner and in despair has turned to porn. Or perhaps, the compulsive porn usage is only the tip of the iceberg for behaviors that violate actual contact with other sex partners like texting, chat rooms, escorts, affairs, and prostitution.

We can help!  We deal with sexual-compulsive behavior problems on a daily basis.

Please also see our page on Infidelity if you have just discovered his porn use.

My husband is the partner who doesn’t have any desire. I feel so embarrassed and unattractive by his low desire because all my girlfriends complain about how their husbands want them all the time. Can you help him?

Yes. We work with male low libido too. When men suffer from low libido, their wives have often suffered years of damage to their self-esteem. We require men to have blood tests for serum testosterone and free testosterone at the onset of treatment. Low testosterone is a major contributor to male low libido. Your general internist or urologist will do this testing. If you don’t have a doctor, we can refer you to one. We will want both you and your partner to come to therapy, eventually.

I’ve never had an orgasm, even by myself.

Lack of orgasm is one of the simplest sexual problems to fix.  Technically, it’s called anorgasmia but people often use slang like “can’t come” or “can’t cum” to describe the problem.  If you don’t climax during sexual intercourse with your partner, that is normal, but we can help you learn to communicate your needs. Sometimes, men have trouble with orgasm too and can’t ejaculate. Don’t wait a minute more to make an appointment! We will give you straightforward instructions as to how to achieve your goal and teach your partner how to help you too.

Should I see you or my urologist for problems I’m having with ED?

Your first stop depends on your age. If you are over 40, you should first see your urologist. Under 40, come see us first and we may send you there after an initial consult. Occasional erectile dysfunction is normal. However, some men become so anxious after the first incident that their worry keeps it happening again and again. Our primary treatment plan for erectile dysfunction is teaching anxiety reduction and erotic enhancement.

I climax too fast and want to last longer. What determines if I have premature ejaculation? Should my girlfriend come to sessions with me?

Yes. For the treatment of early ejaculation, it’s best if both partners are in therapy. Men have ejaculations for two reasons: erotic stimuli and anxiety. We can help couples function to maximize the former and minimize the latter. However, there are easy solutions for this problem even if your partner is not in treatment with you.

I cannot orgasm without intercourse. My boyfriend says that every woman before me had one that way. What’s wrong with me?

Nothing is wrong with you. Most women do not climax through sexual intercourse. All women can climax through the direct stimulation of love-play. Only 15 – 20 % can reach a “hands-off” orgasm. Even then, all women need clitoral stimulation to attain enough arousal to have an orgasm. We can suggest positions to maximize the possibility of this occurring, but success is dependent on how a couple fits together. We can also provide additional information and help improve couple communication to make all the difference.

I’m a born-again Christian and want to make sure that my therapist is also a Christian therapist.

We have Christians on staff. We understand that a discussion about sexuality is core-value territory. No reputable sex therapist would ask you to step outside your moral frame. Every therapist on our staff will be highly sensitive to your value system. With your information, we can always design interventions that will be congruent with your moral standards. You can schedule with a faith-based therapist to ensure a match with your Christian value system.

See our Christian couples and sex therapy page here.

We have not consummated our marriage and I have been diagnosed with vaginismus. Our parents are expecting us to provide them with grandchildren-help!!!

You may or may not have vaginismus. Perhaps you are anxious, and rightly so, because you need more specific information about what happens during intercourse. We can teach progressive steps that will help you have intercourse for the first time with very little pain. If you do have vaginismus, we have a great deal of experience in treating this complicated body-mind-emotional issue. Unconsummated marriages often need both spouses to attend therapy.

I’m in menopause and my body is not responding as it once did. Do I need hormones or therapy?

You may need both. Menopause can bring increased freedom of sexual expression to some women. But others notice problems of lessening desire, vaginal dryness and tiredness due to lack of sleep. Sometimes with concrete exercises and prescribed changes in technique, sex resumes better than ever. Sometimes a long marriage has recorded so much hurt and pain, that couple’s therapy is required to clean the slate and find new ways of being sexual with your body changes. We coordinate treatment with your physician and work on the sexual, relational, and emotional changes that are within your conscious control.

I have sexual pain problems and nobody has been able to help me.

We work with a number of sexual pain problems – vestibulitis, vaginismus, menopausal pain, and first sex or virginity.  Many times our clients tell us they have sought out help only to be told the problem is all in their head.  With a team of sex therapists, physicians, pelvic pain specialists and physical therapists, most women receive significant reduction in their pain and go on to be able to have comfortable intercourse.

I’m a breast cancer survivor and I’ve lost my breasts and now my vagina.

We have a sweet spot for breast cancer survivors because our director’s sister is a survivor.  We are glad to triage what is happening to you and help you find your way back to sexual health.  Most breast cancer survivors knew they would suffer the terrible loss of their breast(s) but had no idea that treatment would so affect their vaginal functioning.  Let us help.

Are you LGBTQ-friendly?

Yes. We welcome couples of all sexual orientations.  We see lesbian couples and gay couples.  We often help families cope with the news that one of their children is gay or thinks they are transgendered.

What does your consulting room look like?

Our consulting rooms look like ordinary living rooms with chairs and couches. Sex therapy is talk therapy and our rooms are designed to be comfortable and private.

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