Most people in the general public don’t realise that there is a talking therapy for sexual problems and will often assume a solely biological cause for their problem.
Although biology plays a very important role in sexuality, many sexual issues have a psychological component and this is where psychosexual therapy comes in.
Our team specialises in the treatment of the following issues:
Erectile Disorder (ED) is the term used to describe problems getting or maintaining an erection. Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress or after drinking alcohol. Frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that need medical treatment, such as heart disease or diabetes, so a GP check is always the starting point for ED treatment. It can also be a sign of inadequate sexual arousal, emotional or relationship difficulties, or performance anxieties, all of which can be addressed in sex and relationship therapy.
Premature Ejaculation (PE) is defined as ejaculation that occurs in less than one minute following penetration. It is not uncommon and can often be resolved through sex and relationship therapy, although some medical treatments are available. The average time for ejaculation during penetrative sex is around 5 minutes and many partners don’t actually want prolonged penetrative sex. Understandably though, it can be frustrating for sexual pleasure to peak too soon, which is why seeking help from a specialist sex and relationship therapist can be helpful.
Delayed ejaculation (DE) is the term used to describe a situation where it takes a prolonged period of time for a person to ejaculate during sex or ejaculation is not possible at all. Like all sexual problems, DE can be caused by biological, psychological or social reasons. Some biological causes include diabetes, spinal cord injuries or MS. In sex and relationship therapy we would work through any past sexual trauma and relational factors contributing to the problem before exploring ways to increase arousal, excitement and sensation during sex.
The primary terms used for female pain and penetration disorders are vulvodynia, dyspareunia and vaginismus. Vulvodynia is persistent, unexplained pain in the vulva. The vulva is the female external genital area including the skin surrounding the opening of the vagina. Dyspareunia describes pain during penetrative sex. Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the pelvic floor muscles resulting in the closing of the vagina, making penetration impossible.
The biological causes of pain and penetration disorders include skin conditions, such as lichen sclerosis, eczema and psoriasis, general health conditions like diabetes and thyroid problems, lower urinary tract or over active bladder, and events such as pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
In sex and relationship therapy as would explore the impact of past traumas, any fears, anxieties or phobias around sex, desire and arousal issues, and any relational factors.
People of all genders can experience varying levels of desire for sexual activity. Some people do not feel sexual attraction or desire at all and may identify as asexual. Others may be in a relationship where their natural set point for sexual desire does not match that of their partner. As in all sexual problems, biological factors can be at play, such as low testosterone, general health and lifestyle problems and the impact of medications. Sex and relationship therapy can help to address relational and psychological barriers to sexual desire, such as anxiety, phobia, disgust, past trauma, poor technique and inadequate arousal.
We prefer the term compulsive sexual behaviours or out of control sexual behaviour to the often used but controversial term ‘sex addiction’. This is a situation in which a person feels that they have no control over their sexual behaviour and feel distressed by their sexual choices. We work with this theme in a way that does not pathologise high sex drives or non mainstream sexual preferences, taking a sexual health approach to support our clients in reaching a place where they feel comfortable with their sex lives.
‘Non mainstream’ sex that is consensual and lawful is not problematic in and of itself, but for some people, having specific sexual preferences generates guilt and shame. Kink aware sex and relationship therapy explores the client’s feelings towards their sexual preferences, often normalising them, whilst ensuring safe, consensual and lawful practice. We offer safe, non-judgmental therapy for people conflicted about their sexual preferences.
Our team is trained to work with couples and people in poly structured relationships, whether the relationship is based on a traditional, monogamous agreement or a consensual, non-monogamous structure, heterosexual or same sex. We can offer support with the impact of affairs, mismatched sexual desires, conflict and communication issues helping relationships to reach their greatest potential or to come to an agreeable end.
Childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and sexual crime can have devastating effects on mental health and sexual function. We provide long term, specialist care for people of all genders recovering from the impact of sexual abuse.
We follow the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy V2 (MoU2), when working with sexual orientation and gender identity concerns. Our Clinical Director, Julie Sale, and our Diversity Specialist, Kirstie McEwan are both members of the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy group, the national group that developed the MoU 2. All sexual and gender identities are honoured in our service and clients are offered a safe, non-judgmental place to explore any conflicts or concerns they may have with their identities.