5 Ways Therapy Can Help You Have Better Sex
Whether you’re in a committed relationship with a partner or simply committed to your own mental health, seeking guidance from a certified counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can offer immense benefits.
Even if you don’t directly go to your therapist for sex-related issues – although it’s certainly recommendable to go to a licensed therapist or psychologist who specializes in sex if you need help – therapy can indirectly help your sex life. This is because many “sex problems” stem from core relationship issues, and oftentimes it’s easier for couples to blame deep dysfunctions on surface issues like sex or money rather than face the root problems of communication, intimacy, and trauma.
If you, your partner, or the both of you decide to go to single or couples therapy, here are some ways that going to therapy can improve your sex life.
Problems in the bedroom typically directly stem from problems with communication and intimacy; if you don’t feel comfortable communicating your desires, or if you don’t feel intimate enough with your partner to do so, chances are the sex will suffer.
A therapist can help you learn communication techniques so that you can express your desires in a healthy manner, and also help you explore the reasons behind your inability to communicate. For example, if you have an insecure attachment style, it may be difficult for you to be vulnerable because of a deep-rooted fear somebody may leave you once they find out your
Or, you may be unable to directly communicate your feelings because when you were a child, you were punished for expressing yourself, or saw your parents being negative about communication- the classic “repressed person.”
Communication is the key to sexual and romantic relationships, and working through the problems that make it hard to communicate, as well as learning about ways to do so healthily, can help you be able to express your sexuality and channel your feelings, leading to more effective relationships in the bedroom and in life overall.
Becoming More Mindful
Being mindful and fully present is an important component of good sex. Forget about toys, acrobatics, and tricks; simply staying in the moment will help you have better. Studies show that the part of your conscious brain that shuts off when you’re concentrating intensely, meditating, or otherwise being mindful is the same part that shuts off right before you orgasm.
However, it’s hard to be mindful if you feel extremely stressed and there is a lot on your mind- you have to pick up the kids, dinner’s on the stove, you might be fired from work. Therapy can help you learn techniques to cope with everyday stress as well as help to address specific anxiety disorders so that you can be more present when engaging in intimacy with your partner, rather than letting your body go on autopilot as your mind wanders. Of course, this isn’t limited to partner sex; mindfulness is also important for enjoying solo masturbation.
Self-esteem plays a significant role in quality of sex and sex drive. Not only is this true during sex or in a romantic relationship, it’ll also be much more difficult for somebody to get out there and date or have sex when they want it if they have low self-esteem. Therapy can address the reasons behind low self-confidence, such as social anxiety disorder, making it easier for someone to interact socially and connect with other people.
Confidence can also be a cause of sexual dysfunctions such as Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Many cases of reported ED don’t stem from physical causes like surgery or hormonal problems, but rather are psychogenic, meaning that the condition results from psychological factors. These factors include depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or relationship concerns. Therapy can address these underlying psychological factors such as self-esteem.
Coping With Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction refers to a common medical condition that affects your ability to have or enjoy sexual intercourse. Around 43% of women and 31% of men are estimated to have some form of sexual dysfunction.
Sex therapists who specialize in helping people improve their sex life often treat sexual dysfunction, but a general therapist can also help. The simple act of discussing your sexual dysfunction and how it impacts your life can help you cope, accept, or even fix it. As we mentioned above, sexual dysfunction is often rooted in psychological issues like anxiety and low self-esteem, and therapy can help you or your partner work through these problems for a better sex life – and life – all around.
Healing Sexual Trauma
We carry the effects of trauma for a long time, particularly if they haven’t been addressed. Sexual trauma has many lingering impacts, such as not feeling safe in intimate situations, even with a trusted partner. Therapy can help overcome sexual trauma, like abuse, assault, or rape experienced as a child or adult, and also teach ways to communicate boundaries to ultimately learn to accept and give affection.
Clara Wang is a freelance writer based in Nashville, TN but often found abroad. She mostly muses about the three best things in life: Food, sex, and music. Her work has been featured in publications such as Eater Austin, Eater Nashville, Giddy, Buzzfeed, Refinery29, the Austin Chronicle, the Austin American Statesman, and the Daily Dot.