What is sex therapy? Sex therapy is therapy where one’s sexuality, sexual concerns and problems are discussed in individual or marriage counseling. It is quite surprising how many therapists that do couples therapy and marriage counseling don’t talk about sex. The reality is that if marriage counseling does not deal directly with sexuality, it avoids a central issue in the relationship. Also what does this really communicate? The message that is given when you don’t talk about sex in marraige counseling is “sex is something to be quiet about and is secretive, shameful, or too personal.”
So many couples struggle with the topic of sex. Issues of shame, self-judgment and embarrassment are often times running forces when thinking or exploring sex. Feelings of being unwanted, not needed, unattractive, used, pressured etc are all part of the experiences that people feel when sex is lacking in their marriage.
As a result sex becomes this difficult and unpleasurable part of the marriage. The lack of pleasure usually comes from all the “work” that is being put into it, and the rejection, shame, or feelings of “not being normal” often comes up. What is left is a lonely couple filled with resentment and anger towards one another. Conflict arises on a regular basis and lack of intimacy between them is evident in all parts of their lives.
Maybe your marriage and sex life looks like this:
You had a full day of work. You rush from work to pick up the kids. Kids are driving you a bit crazy between all the drop offs, tantrums, and all the individual wants and needs. You are feeling drained. You finally finish up with dinner and you and your husband get the kids to bed. You know that he wants to have sex. All you can think of is “I’m so tired” and “I have another person that needs me.” You don’t have it in you. You then reject him when he tries to initiate sex. As a result your instinct is to get defensive. He doesn’t get how tired you are and how much work goes into those kids. Inside you feel guilty and know that this is going to lead to more distance and conflict between the two of you.
You end up feeling that you keep on disappointing and you wonder if there is something wrong with you. The reality is that many women feel this way. Why am I not into it? How can he think about sex after this long day and all I want to do is check out?
The reality is that when something is unexplored or ignored for a long period of time it really becomes dormant. Exploring one’s arousal and sexual pleasure takes some energy and attention however allowing yourself to do so can open up so many doors of connection, pleasure, and fun in your marriage.
5 Reasons why sex therapy is essential in marriage counseling:
A sex deprived marraige leads to unhappiness for both of you. Couples that don’t focus on building and strengthening their sex life often feel that so much is missing in their lives. Whether it’s feeling that one is good enough for their partner or doing enough or feelings of unattractiveness or not being wanted. These are very heavy feelings to hold inside and tend to become a deep part of the dynamic between the couple.
Sexually connected couples are more likely to have lightness and fun in all parts of their lives. When sex is something that is on the table and enjoyable for both partners there is a sense of lightness that extends to other parts of their lives. Suddenly things are taken less personally, and there is an increase in ability to communicate. They are more likely to be flirtatious with one another. This leads to things being taken less seriously and more flexibility in everyday situations.
A big part of a man’s identity is being able to sexually please their partner. The truth is that a man that continues to be rejected often feels this in a very deep place. That they are not satisfying their partner and can feel less than as a result. Feelings of being less than or not good enough can undoubtedly impact all parts of the marriage and other parts of his life.
Marriage counseling without sex therapy is truly ignoring such a vital part of helping you and your partner truly connect on a deeper level. Being able to talk about sex with one another and answer the questions of “what do I like, what don’t I like, what am I open to trying” and ultimately learning to hear one another truly helps the couple connect in a much deeper place where communication is taken place even when it is different or outise one’s comfort zone.
You really are missing out on enjoying the pleasure of sexual exploration, orgasms, and the excitement around seeing your partner satisfied and connected. The reality is that when you are able to really learn what you enjoy sexually and exploring beyond those limits allows you to truly take in the pleasure and fun around sex. This can truly become a stress reliever (rather than producer) when some attention, focus, and intention around learning about one’s own body, sexuality, and connection.
In conclusion, marriage counseling without sex therapy is truly taking out a primary and vital part of how to better the relationship. This is a huge disadvantage to the couple wanting to better their marriage and find true connection.
At Simi Psychological Group, we incorporate sex therapy in marriage counseling since we know how important a strong healthy sexual connection is part of a happy marrige. We work on identifying the roadblocks in one’s sex life, sexuality, and help the couple connect in new ways. Reach out today for a free consultation and create real change in your marriage
I’m a licensed clinical psychologist who empowers people to work through the roadblocks that are holding them back and find meaning and purpose in their lives.
I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more