Sexuality may refer to a person’s habits and preferences in terms of sexual behavior and desire. There are as many individual expressions of sexuality as there are individual preferences for dress or music. Sexuality may also refer to a person's sexual orientation, or the type of sexual attraction a person experiences.
Sex therapy may be a safe environment for individuals to address questions or concerns regarding sexual behavior, and sex therapists are trained in helping people to restore or enhance their enjoyment of sex.
Common Sexual Problems
Sexual problems are not uncommon. Estimates of prevalence for adults range between 30% and 45%, depending on gender and age. Some of the most common concerns include:
- Anxiety about sex
- Lack of sexual desire
- Anxiety or uncertainty about sexual orientation
- Conflicting sexual desires between partners
- Recovery from sexual abuse or sexual assault
- Body-image issues
- Sexual impulses or compulsions that cause distress
Recent research indicates sexual interest/arousal disorder is not exclusive to individuals designated female at birth, and the addition of a gender-neutral category has also been proposed.
- Female sexual disorders:
- Sexual interest/arousal disorder
- Orgasmic disorder
- Genitopelvic pain/penetration disorder
- Male sexual disorders
- Hypoactive sexual desire disorder
- Delayed ejaculation
- Erectile disorder
- Premature ejaculation
Addressing Sexuality in Therapy
Sexual energy is powerful and can profoundly affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and general state of being. Discussing one’s sexuality with partners, family, and friends can provoke anxiety, frustration, and even shame when a person believes his or her fantasies and behaviors may be deemed inappropriate by others. Fortunately, finding the right therapist means finding a safe place to talk about any difficulties, fantasies, fears, memories, or desires regarding sexuality.
Sexual intimacy can be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences, but for many people, sexual activity is void of pleasure. Sex therapists are trained to help individuals and couples identify the source of their distress and reduce or remove those emotional barriers in order to enhance sexual experiences. Whether the physical symptom manifests through the inability to achieve orgasm or maintain arousal, or even through painful sex, a sex therapist can help identify the psychological source of the symptom. By treating the whole person, psychologically and physically, a therapist can help a person enhance his or her sexual experiences.