by Erynn Besser, LPC, NCC
We’ve all been there, someone mentions “sex therapy” and we are immediately taken to the scene in “Meet the Fockers” where Barbra Streisand is directing a room full of 80-something year old’s on how to do the reverse cowgirl. The camera then pivots to her clients practicing this move in front of an enthusiastic Streisand. This is often how sex therapy is portrayed in our culture.
You may be asking yourself, “will my therapist really make me act out a scene from Meet the Fockers as my partner, not to mention my therapist watches on?” “
No, thank you. No way.”
Agreed. As a sex therapist, I often get folks asking if coming to sex therapy will look like what is depicted in the movies. Luckily for all of us, it’s not. So, what is sex therapy really then?
Sex therapy is talk therapy, where your therapist has a specialized understanding of the many factors that can impact our sexual satisfaction, function and the relationships we have with our partner(s) and ourselves. Many of the experiences that we come into relationship with are a natural part of being human and occur throughout the lifespan. Yet, many of us find that we know as much about our own bodies and sexuality as we do about COVID-19! We find that this aspect of our experiences are rarely talked about in our day to day lives, which can often leave us feeling ashamed and alone.
Therapy is a place where we can feel safe to explore our experiences and know that we are not alone. Sex therapy itself is a multidimensional area, ranging from conversations about boundary setting and intimacy to understanding our libidos, desires and more! As a sex therapist, I love proving my clients with education on sexual health as well as learning to effectively evaluate the many assumptions about sexuality we may hold, which can have an impact on our physical and emotional well-being.
So, while many of us can agree that Streisand’s camera presence is always one to be respected, what we see in the movies doesn’t always provide us with the full picture. Yet, she did get one thing right when it comes to sex therapy, which is this: No matter how old we get, sexuality is something to be celebrated and we can feel empowered by the many aspects of our identity!