top of page

Embracing Sexuality: The Power of a Sex-Positive Therapist

By: Jessica VerBout, LMFT, CST Let's face it: Despite how in-your-face sexuality is in American culture, we're still living in a culture that often shies away from discussing topics related to sex and sexuality. The need for open, non-judgmental spaces for sexual exploration and healing can be an important aspect of a person's overall healing of themselves while in psychotherapy treatment -- sometimes without truly knowing this at first! This is where working with a sex-positive therapist come into the picture. What, exactly, is a sex-positive therapist? They are a trained mental health professional (ideally formally certified from a sexology organization, like the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists -- which I'm certified through) who fosters an affirming, non-pathologizing, and inclusive environment for individuals to address their sexual concerns, overcome challenges, and experience personal growth. Here, we will explore what it means to be a sex-positive therapist and the numerous benefits of seeking their guidance.



Understanding Sex-Positive Therapy:

Sex-positive sex therapy challenges the cultural and societal taboos surrounding sexuality. It recognizes that sexual desires, experiences, and identities are diverse and inherently healthy aspects of human nature. A sex-positive therapist operates from a perspective that embraces consensual sexual expression and values individual autonomy, pleasure, and well-being -- in whatever erotic preferences that may show up in.

Sex-positive therapists will create a safe and supportive environment, where clients can discuss their sexual concerns without fear of judgment or shame. They often will employ an open-minded, client-centered, non-judgmental approach, helping clients explore their sexual identity, preferences, and relationships in a healthy and empowering way.

Benefits of Seeing a Sex-Positive Therapist:

Reducing Shame and Guilt:

Many individuals carry deep-seated shame and guilt around their sexual desires or experiences due to societal norms, past trauma, religious messages, or cultural conditioning. A sex-positive therapist provides a space free from judgment, allowing clients to address and process these feelings. By reframing sexual experiences in a positive light, therapists can help clients shed shame and guilt, leading to increased self-acceptance and improved mental well-being. As any therapist should do, a sex positive therapist will not force you to change your views around sexuality or how to be sexual, but rather to provide the space to process how your views about your sexuality may be impacting your life and how to work within those beliefs.

Enhancing Communication and Intimacy:

Healthy communication and emotional intimacy are fundamental to fulfilling sexual relationships. Sex-positive therapists empower individuals and couples to explore and express their desires, boundaries, and needs openly and honestly. They provide tools and techniques to improve communication, negotiate consent, and navigate complex dynamics within relationships. By strengthening communication and promoting sexual exploration, therapists can help clients cultivate deeper connections and more satisfying sexual experiences. "Communication is the key to a long-lasting, successful relationship" is especially true when it comes to sexuality within a relationship! Often people (due to those pesky negative or shame-inducing messages mentioned above) do not know how to communicate their wants/needs/desires, and working within the safety of an environment fostered by your sex-positive therapist, you and your partner(s) can learn how to make your sex life even more satisfying than before!

Addressing Sexual Dysfunctions:

Sexual dysfunctions can significantly impact an individual's quality of life and relationships. A certified and/or sex-positive therapist is well-versed in addressing issues such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low libido, orgasm difficulties, painful intercourse, and more. By adopting a holistic approaches, and sometimes in conjunction with other medical professionals (as if the "plumbing" [bodily-side of things] is broken, there's nothing talking about the "electrical" [brain-side of things] will do), sex positive therapists help clients understand the underlying causes and provide guidance on effective techniques, exercises, and strategies to manage and overcome these challenges.

Supporting Sexual and Gender Diversity:

Sexuality and gender are diverse spectrums, encompassing a wide range of identities and expressions. A sex-positive therapist acknowledges and respects this diversity, creating an inclusive and affirming space for individuals across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. They can offer specialized knowledge and sensitivity to the unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities, helping clients navigate issues such as coming out, identity exploration, and discrimination.

Healing from Sexual Trauma:

Sexual trauma can have profound and long-lasting effects on an individual's mental, emotional, relational, and sexual well-being. A sex-positive therapist provides trauma-informed care, allowing survivors to heal at their own pace. (Any "trauma informed" therapist will come from a lens of "what happened to you?" rather than "what is wrong with you?") They prioritize client autonomy, validate experiences, and offer tools to rebuild trust, establish healthy boundaries, and reclaim sexual empowerment. Through trauma-focused therapies, individuals can regain control over their bodies, relationships, and rebuild a positive relationship with their sexuality.

Empowering Personal Growth and Pleasure:

Sex-positive therapy is not solely focused on addressing concerns or healing wounds. It also emphasizes personal growth, pleasure ('cause, really, "Pleasure is the measure," to quote the brilliant Emily Nagoski, PhD), and self-discovery in the many beautiful facets that make you who you are. Sex positive therapists encourage clients to explore their desires, boundaries, and fantasies, promoting a healthy sense of sexual self-esteem. By helping individuals cultivate a positive relationship with their bodies and pleasure, therapists foster an environment that supports personal growth, self-confidence, and overall well-being.


And all of this is done through talk-based psychotherapy!



All in All:

A sex-positive therapist serves as a guiding light in a society that often stigmatizes and suppresses discussions around sex, sexuality, and sexual and gender expression/exploration. By providing a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their sexual concerns, desires, and identities, these awesome therapists empower clients to reclaim agency over their sexuality and cultivate fulfilling and healthy relationships. Seeking the guidance of a sex-positive therapist can be transformative, allowing individuals to embrace their sexuality, heal from past traumas, and embark on a journey of personal growth and pleasure. It's time to embrace a sex-positive mindset and celebrate the diverse tapestry of human sexuality.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page