Curious about sex therapy? This is what it involves

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If you’ve never had sex therapy, you might rely on how it’s portrayed in film and TV for some insight.

“A lot of people I’ve worked with recently said they didn’t even realise sex therapy was a thing until they saw Sex Education on Netflix,” says Melbourne sexologist Kassandra Mourikis.

The Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists NSW (ASSERT NSW) defines sex therapy as a “specialised form of professional counselling that focuses on addressing the sexual concerns, sexual functioning and sexual expression of human beings”.

Removing the mystery around the process is important, because it can help with all kinds of concerns including desire, erectile dysfunction and sexual pain.

I spoke with a few sex therapists to find out what it’s really like.

How do you pick the right sex therapist?

Sex therapy is a self-regulated industry. That means untrained and inexperienced people can call themselves sex therapists.

For example, a qualified counsellor might decide to work in sexology based on books they’ve read.

Or someone with no qualifications might attend a six-week course and call themselves a sexologist.

Or, they might take an academic approach by completing a Bachelor of Psychology and a Masters of Sexology, for example.

Regulatory bodies like ASSERT NSW and the Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd (SAS) hold sex therapists to a certain standard.

SAS, for example, has developed guidelines for the accreditation of sexologists who work as psychosexual therapists, sex therapists, sexuality educators and sexologists.

SAS national chairperson Lisa Torney says you can check its list of accredited sex therapists, but there are also many capable and experienced sex therapists who aren’t accredited.

She recommends having a phone chat with a prospective therapist to find out if they are a good fit.

Ms Mourikis suggests asking about their specialty and for an overview of how they might be able to help you before committing to a session.

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