The Truth About Sex Therapy

By Rachel Zar, AMFT

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Despite what you saw in “Meet The Fockers,” sex therapy rarely includes practicing the kama sutra.

Making the decision to walk through a therapist’s door is not easy. But committing to sex therapy takes even more bravery, since discussions about sexual concerns are often fraught with stigma, anxiety, and general discomfort. Not to mention—there’s very little information out there about what sex therapy actually is. And there are a lot of misconceptions about what sex therapists actually do (thanks, TV and movies). We’d like to help set the record straight. For starters, here’s a look at what sex therapists will not do:

Sex therapists will NOT impose their own sexual beliefs on you.

When it comes to sex, we understand that there is a wide range of normal, and we hate the idea of sexual “shoulds.” Our goal is to promote your sexual health and wellbeing, which means helping you access a sex life that is most authentic to you—while being pleasurable, safe, and respectful of your relationships.

Sex therapists will NOT watch you have sex or touch you in any way.

While the real Masters and Johnson paved the way for sex therapists today, the sex therapy you see on “Masters of Sex” is not what you’ll get in our office. We’ve come a long way as a profession since watching clients fornicate through one-way glass, and we can promise you that we understand that sex is inherently private. If we do offer you touch exercises—whether that’s with a partner or by yourself—they’ll be done as homework, not in our offices. And we’ll make sure they match your comfort level, and that you understand the intention behind them.

Ok, ok. So we know what sex therapists won’t do. But what will they do?

First and foremost, sex therapists are therapists. The clinicians at Spark have advanced degrees in either counseling or marriage and family therapy, which means our number-one goal is to care for our clients as complete and complex human beings. We’re here for support, we’re here to help free you from patterns that are negatively impacting your life, and we’re here to provide a safe, nonjudgmental space. In fact, many of our clients come for the sex therapy and stay for continued guidance once their sexual goals are met. In addition to our general therapy training, sex therapists have special training in working through your sexual concerns—whether it’s coping with sexual dysfunction or pain, addressing sexual differences between you and your partner, or enhancing your sexual self understanding. We can offer sex education, help you understand your unique body and mind, and talk through your sexual history, current worries or shame, or desires for the future.

We’re very comfortable talking about sex, but we also understand that you may not be—so we’re dedicated to going at your pace and working with your comfort level.

Have any other questions? Shoot us an email at info@sparkchicagotherapy.com.