Cited Resource: The Relationship People (www.relate.org.uk) - with some additions.
Myths about what Sex Therapy is - and what happens in the therapy room - have been doing the rounds for years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people (friends and family included!) quote them back to me when I tell them what I do for a living. The sad thing is these misunderstandings and the anxiety that they cause put people off the idea of even trying Sex Therapy, meaning many miss out on getting the support they need to make their sex lives better.
So in this post I’m setting the record straight by busting the most common myths.
Myth 1: “We’ll have to have sex in front of the Therapist”
The only activity that happens in the therapy room is talking. Sometimes there may be laughter, occasionally tears, but NEVER nudity or sex.
All "tasks" happen outside the therapy room in a venue of your choosing, usually in the comfort of your own home.
Then at your next session you’ll be asked to talk about how you got on. This helps your Therapist understand what works for you so that you can make the progress you’re looking for.
Myth 2: “Sex Therapy is only for people who have serious problems with sex”
Any problem is serious if it interferes with how you’d like your sex life to be.
Most people experience sexual difficulties at some time in their lives. That’s normal, but if it bothers you, not doing something about it can sometimes make things worse. Sex Therapy gives you a safe space to work through your worries and take positive steps to change things.
Myth 3: “If my partner and I have to go to Sex Therapy it means our relationship is over”
For most people the opposite is true. Recognizing that your sex life isn’t how you’d like it to be and getting help is a really positive step. Taking time out to think about what’s going wrong for you both can help prevent difficulties spreading from your sexual life to other parts of the relationship.
Sometimes though, sexual problems are caused by other issues in your relationship. If that is the case, your Therapist may suggest some initial work to understand what’s going on and how to overcome it before deciding if Sex Therapy is right for you. Sometimes people find that taking time to work on their general relationship means that the sexual problems lessen or disappear completely. Relate Sex Therapists are also trained Relationship Counselors and can help you to decide what kind or relationship support is right for you now.
So by simply booking that first appointment, you’re taking a big step forwards in looking after your relationship.
Myth 4: “The Therapist will be too embarrassed to deal with the issue I’m having”
Absolutely false! Sex Therapists are used to helping people overcome all kinds of sexual problems. You can be certain that whatever the issue you’re experiencing we’ll have heard it at least a couple of times before!
We understand it takes a great deal of courage to come and talk with a complete stranger about sex but our job is to make you feel comfortable and at ease. You set the pace and you can decide what you do and don’t want to talk about. Whatever the issue is you’re not alone and most people tell us that breaking the silence and talking things through is really liberating.
Myth 5: “You have to be in a relationship to go to Sex Therapy”
Anyone can come along to Sex Therapy whether they’re in a relationship or not. If you’re single, you might still have sexual problems that are troubling you.
Feeling OK sexually is not just about having a partner, so seeking information or practical support from a Therapist may help you to feel more confident about being sexual with yourself or with a future partner.