Sex Therapist London Guide
Difficulties with sex can strike at any time, and can take many forms. Sometimes the underlying cause can be physical, perhaps from taking medication, or the side effect of illness or ageing. But often there’s a psychological or psychosomatic component, making it necessary to work with a psychotherapist, or therapist specialising in psychosexual and relationship therapy.
It can be difficult to talk about your sex life, especially if it’s about something that’s going wrong. But experienced therapists are used to taking openly, and your therapist will create a confidential space where it’s much easier to talk than you’d imagine.
In my Central London practice, I work with men and women on all levels – everything on your mind is welcome and relevant. This includes sexual difficulties, sexual practices and sexual desires, as well as sexual anxiety, intimacy issues and trauma from sexual abuse.
Sex therapist London
If you have a particular psycho-sexual or physical problem which needs specialist care, I can refer you to a specialist sex and relationship therapist. A psychosexual therapist has extra training in problems related to sex and sexual health. They’ll work with you as an individual, and also with your partner(s), providing relationship therapy and psychosexual therapy.
There’s many issues that can come up around sex, some of the most common being painful sex, vaginismus, not being able orgasm, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Sexual preferences and sexual identity issues can also be addressed, and therapists can also help with compulsive sexual behaviours.
At your first appointment you and your therapist will explore some of the sexual problems you might be having and look at the best options for moving forward. Any thing talked about in therapy is always confidential and non-judgemental.
Some common sexual problems
The most common sexual problem for men is premature ejaculation, and for women, it’s low sexual desire. Here’s a list of some of the sex related problems which can be helped with a sex positive therapist:
- Not being able to get an erection
- Lack or loss of sexual desire
- Aversion to sex
- Excessive sexual drive
- Excessive sexual arousal
- Difficulty achieving orgasm
- Not enjoying sex
- Premature ejaculation
- Not being able to ejaculate
- Pain while having sex
- Sexual dysfunction caused by medication
- Sexual dysfunction caused by illness
- Sexual paraphilias
- Gender dysphoria
- Addiction to sex or porn
Let’s talk about sex
Although the culture in London is highly sexualised, from advertising images, to internet porn, we tend to shy away from talking openly about sex. We’ll joke about it, but when it comes to our own insecurities, or sexual problems, there can be no-one to talk to for advice. Even though younger people are becoming much more open to talking about sex, sexual identity, and practice, it’s a subject that can be still be quite anxiety provoking.
In film and TV, sex scenes are often portrayed as idealistic, actors using body doubles with perfect proportions rarely found in real life. Pornography can also send a confusing message for anyone wondering whether they’re doing it right, or how they should be behaving with their partner.
Psychotherapy vs medication for sexual problems
A major breakthrough in medication for male erectile dysfunction was Viagra, which became available via prescription in 1998. There’s now a few competitors to Viagra, and no shortage of other pharmacological wonders, including the drug Addyi, for low sexual desire in women.
With all of these solutions available, what is the benefit of psychotherapy over medication?
Sexual problems can be complicated, and tend to have multilayered causes, including anxiety, depression, confidence, self esteem and relationship difficulties. Psychosexual and relationship therapists are ideally suited to explore all of these areas. Ideally doctors would make assessments based on more than just the presenting symptoms. Social, environmental and psychological factors are all influences on a persons mental health, and can contribute to sexual problems.
As an integrative psychotherapist, I’m interested in how the patient is getting on with their partner, their relationship with their emotions, their level of self confidence, and much more. While for many men, sexual drive is largely biological, a woman’s arousal is often linked to intimacy and emotional connection. There may be issues from the past, including childhood trauma and sexual abuse which need to be explored.
Mindfulness based sex therapy (MBST)
Many psychosexual therapists draw from Mindfulness Therapy, with a method called Mindfulness Based Sex Therapy. It’s known to be successful for a range of sexual problems, including many from the list above. It’s a group therapy, and takes place over the course of 8 weeks. It’s developed from Mindfulness Based Therapy, to suit the specific problems that come up around sex. You can learn to develop more awareness of your body, to experience sensations which can then be used during sex or foreplay.
I mentioned earlier that low sexual desire and arousal is the most common sexual problem for women. Mindfulness based sex therapy can be a very effective treatment for this, as well as other female sexual concerns. It’s also being used more for treating male dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Inclusive sex therapy
Sex therapy developed within a culture based on heteronormative values, aimed at cisgender men and women having sexual encounters with each other. Some of the therapies were developed with heterosexual scripts, and are now being adapted to include transgender, polygender, gender fluid, nonbinary, and other demigenders. The scripts also referred to traditional gendered anatomy, which isn’t always suitable.
There’s a trend in psychotherapy now, towards embracing the full spectrum of human sexuality, to include people who aren’t in traditional relationships, and don’t fit the old forms of gender identity.
As minority groups, they may be suffering from cultural discrimination or isolation, as well as the presenting sexual problem. It’s important that they choose a therapist who is able to work holistically with wide range of issues.
Sex therapy in London
Many people find it hard to talk about sex, and there can be feelings of shame or embarrassment around talking about sexual problems. But therapists are used to talking about sex, and will create a nonjudgemental and confidential space where anything can be discussed openly. If you have a sex-related issue, please get in touch today.