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Sex Therapy

Sex therapy is a short-term form of counseling, generally involving 5 to 20 sessions with a sex therapist. A typical session may be one hour every week or every other week.

During the session, the counselor will give the patient "assignments" to do at home, such as:

  • Reading books about sexuality
  • Touching exercises that are designed to take away the pressure to perform during sex
  • Practicing better sexual communication skills

Sex therapy may be useful for treating erectile dysfunction if a man is able to have a normal erection during sleep, the results of his physical examination and blood tests are normal and he is generally in good health. Sex therapy may also be helpful when erectile dysfunction is caused by stress, such as: work worries, financial worries, relationship conflicts, and poor sexual communication. In these cases, sex therapy may be the best treatment option.

Does sex therapy work?

Sex therapy is most effective when a man’s sexual partner is willing to be part of the treatment. Studies have shown that for men with stress-related ED, having the partner involved in the therapy resolves the problem 50%-70% of the time. When the man must go through counseling alone, the results are somewhat lower.

Sex therapy is unlikely to work if a man drops out of treatment after only one or two sessions.

Sometimes several sessions of sexual counseling can be helpful to a man who is going to receive medical or surgical treatment for erectile dysfunction. A counselor can help guide a couple in agreeing on a treatment or help them improve their sexual communication and lovemaking skills. A single man may benefit from counseling on how to talk to his partner about penile injections or a vacuum constriction device, both treatments for ED.

Does health insurance cover sex therapy?

Some insurance plans cover sex therapy. Once you select a therapist, call her/him to ask about whether or not his or her services are covered by your insurance provider. If payment cannot be worked out through insurance, many therapists can adjust their fees. Sex therapy clinics tend to be less expensive than private therapists. The cost of sex therapy programs can vary depending on the nature of the problem and the response to treatment.

How do I find a sex therapist?

Call your local hospital or university medical center to see if they have a sex therapy clinic. Also, ask your doctor if he or she can recommend a therapist.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/6/2007...#10048


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