Although your sessions will largely depend on your therapist and the work you’re trying to accomplish, you can expect a talk therapy session similar to what you’d experience with any other licensed therapist.
“For sex therapy, the therapist will do a thorough assessment of your presenting issue to understand your relationship to intimacy, touch, and sex,” Skyler tells mbg. “The therapist may offer a diagnosis or review of the issue at hand and will spell out some treatment options and approaches.” Because all experiences are unique, she says homework or home “play” is tailored for each individual.
“If you’re struggling with low libido or mismatched libidos, for example, your therapist might ask you to take sex off the table for a while,” explains Berman. This takes the pressure off the couple and allows them to start rebuilding their intimacy from the ground up. “That can look like date nights and traditional talk therapy, but in general, we often go much deeper.”
In the following sessions, you’ll discuss ways to find a path forward and review insights from the homework exercises. These assignments can include new patterns of communication, says Skyler, or learning how to name and address each other’s needs. “Once the emotional foundation is strongly built, homework can include physical, sensual, and eventually erotic exploration.”
As you dive deeper into your sex therapy journey, expect to learn a lot about your body. Berman says you may need to get a hormonal checkup(s), look into medications potentially causing sexual dysfunction, cut back on drinking, or get more active.
Still, the expert says sex therapy often goes to our very roots: “To the very first lessons we had around sexuality and sexual pleasure, and learning how to recover from some of these painful and harmful messages and rebuild our self-worth.”