What Is Sex Therapy?

People often ask me: “So what exactly do you do?”

I’m always happy to answer this question, but I have found that there is not a simple answer. The simplest answer is that, as a licensed professional counselor who focuses on sex therapy, I talk to clients about their sexual issues in a counseling setting. The complexity of an answer becomes apparent when you take into account the enormity of difference between common sexual issues as well as the amount of training in which I’ve participated to be able to refer to myself as a sex therapist. Here is a brief, no nonsense rundown of what exactly I do:

I help people who experience sexual dysfunction.
Many people experience some kind of physical malfunction when engaging in sexual activity. This physical malfunction can be pain during sex, erectile dysfunction, or a general lack of desire for sex. Historically, the realm of physical dysfunction during sex has been a sex therapist’s main focus. I am trained to help people who are experiencing physical symptoms of sexual dysfunction, but I also address emotional and psychological issues related to sex.

I help people who have experienced sexual trauma and/or abuse.
Although technically sexual trauma may lead to the physical manifestations of sexual dysfunction I have described above, the actual trauma surrounding sexual abuse or violence must be addressed in tandem with the physical symptoms. I help people address the emotional and psychological wounds created from sexual abuse/trauma in addition to helping them address the physical problems that arise because of that abuse.

I help couples and individuals deepen sexual intimacy and enhance sexual satisfaction.
For many people, sex can become a relationship issue. Couples’ issues can be reduced to 3 main topics: money, communication, and sex. At some point, most couples will need to have sometimes difficult conversations about sex. They will need to communicate their sexual needs and, most painfully, where they aren’t satisfied with sex. I help couples and individuals navigate these difficult conversations, build communication patterns around sex, as well as help them identify solutions to deepen intimacy and to enhance the sexual experience. I also work with individuals and couples to enhance their relationships in other areas. I have found, however, that we can address a multitude of relationship issues in the context of sex therapy.

I help people in the sexual identity development process.
Sexual identity development is a complex and often misunderstood process. Many people feel confused about what their sexual urges mean for their life, for their identity, and for their relationships. I help people navigate this often difficult process. Sexual identity development is the topic of much of my research.

I help people who experience sexual compulsion.
Although addiction and sexual compulsion are not my main focus, I help people who experience sexual compulsion build healthy and happy sex lives. Often I work with people who have already successfully completed another treatment program that helped them reduce problematic sexual behavior. I help them as they navigate reintroducing healthy sexual behaviors and sexual relationships back into their life.

In addition to the things I have described above and often in tandem with them, I help people develop a healthy sexual narrative that is compatible with their values, with their view of themselves, and with their relationships.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

What do you think and feel?

About the Author
Dr. Lee Kinsey

Dr. Lee Kinsey

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I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas (#67546). I hold a PhD in Counseling from the University of North Texas. I am also pursuing sex therapy certification from AASECT. I have extensive training in sex therapy through both SMU and UNT, and I continually write, speak, and teach on the topic.

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