A good sex life should not just be the goal of sex therapy; it should be one of the objectives of any therapy.
When I started training as a therapist, I realised that many therapists are as uncomfortable with sex as their clients. So I decided to train as a sex therapist and try and raise the awareness of sexuality within therapy as a profession.
When I first started training as a therapist, what really got me interested in sex therapy was the contrast between the importance of sex in human experience and the weight that sex was given in the training that many therapists receive.
Although you would expect that sexuality would be central to a profession like therapy which is trying to understand people and what motivates them, the trainings that therapists undergo actually put very little weight on sex and sometimes you get to feel that therapy itself is not a profession that is very comfortable talking about sex. For example, when students would be assembled and told that the next week's topic would be sex as looked at by a particular school of therapy, there would be a ripple of excited giggling round the room.
Although I was training in the UK, and if we accept the stereotype that the UK is a more reserved sexual culture, that sort of atmosphere whenever sex was discussed in training made me think that perhaps therapy and therapists are not as comfortable about sex as they could or should be. It is interesting that therapists can be very comfortable in talking about depression, anxiety, shame, guilt etc. and be comfortable how to work through those issues with a client and get some result. But yet when it comes to talking about sex, which can be a painful experience when it is not working right for us, but can be one of the most exciting and fun and pleasurable parts of our lives when we get it right, it struck me that the balance was kind of wrong. Sex was not in there enough as a problem for people or as a pleasurable experience in their lives if they could do it to their satisfaction.
So it was clear to me that a lot of therapists in the UK were as confused as their clients might be. And that's fine. It's something that we need to take account of and discuss. But it is very important that therapists can deal with these issues in a confident and relaxed way. Because if a client has a sexual secret that they have never been able to share with anyone else, they are going to be more likely to be able to share that with a therapist who is comfortable and relaxed talking about sexual issues. So I think overall that one of the roles of sex therapy is to raise the awareness of sexuality within therapy as a profession. A good sex life should not just be the goal of sex therapy; it should be one of the objectives of any therapy.