Busting myths about sex therapy

Today I wanted to talk to you about coming and seeing a sex therapist or a sexologist because I think there a few misconceptions lurking around about what it's actually like.

(Prefer to watch? Click below...)

Myth busting #1: you need to have a history of trauma

The first thing I want to speak to is I had a few clients say to me at the beginning of this year that there they're concerned that they didn't really need sex therapy or coaching or that they weren’t really worthy of it because they didn't have a history of trauma and that’s something that people naturally assume – that you have to have something bad happen in your past in order to warrant needing to go and see a sex therapist. That simply isn't the truth. Some sex therapist focus on assisting people who have a history of trauma and sexual abuse but that's not always the case and those specialists that help people with extensive trauma are usually clinical psychologists that have had extensive training in different approaches to trauma.

So no, you don't have to have a history of trauma or have something really bad happen to you to feel that you need to go and talk to someone about yourself and your sexuality. The women I see in sessions are usually experiencing anxiety about sex and women experience anxiety about sex because they feel stressed to the max. Everything that's happening in their daily lives is just spilling over into their sex lives and they’re living in a semi-quasi-survival mode and that is totally incompatible with your libido. Honest truth - you cannot be stressed to the eyeballs, living off your primal brain fear responses that are telling you to be on alert, that you aren’t safe or secure and then feel sexy or interested in sex in the night-time when it's propositioned. It's probably not going to happen.

Women come and see me because they are living in hyper-arousal (stress/overwhelm/anxiety) and they are living up in their head. Their brain is constantly ticking, they are having problems sleeping, troubles eating, just problems switching off in general is causing their libido to shut down because their bodies are saying to them that their libido isn't a priority right now. Just staying alive and staying safe is.

When we are stressed and overwhelmed, we can get caught up in this really crazy loop that makes it appear that something is really, really wrong in our intimate lives. Women tell me that they love their partners or they still want to share that experience of intimacy with them but when it comes to sex this is nothing there and arousal can be a real challenge.

If you're feeling like you used to be interested in sex, had desire, arousal, mojo and libido and all of a sudden that's falling flat, I advise you to take a look at what's happening in your daily life first and foremost. Is there some form of conflict going on in your relationship that could be meaning that you don't again you don't feel safe or you don't feel open enough to give your body in a sexual way? This can be because of what's going on in terms of arguments, conflict and disagreements in your intimate relationship.

Myth busting #2 You need to come to a sex therapist as a couple

This is something I don’t agree with. I think it's really necessary for some situations and some relationships, especially when they had a crisis point - two people need to go together. Crisis point means that you're talking about separating but you really want to salvage the relationship.

You might know that I work with women exclusively and it’s a journey that I've been on myself as well. I've gone to sex coaches to do my own personal work without my husband present, mainly because it wasn't necessary for him to come. He didn’t have the same sets of conditions and limitations on his sexuality like I had. I had received millions of messages about why I shouldn’t be sexual, why I shouldn't be open, why I need to keep a lid on everything and I had to undo all of that through my own work so he didn't need to be present for any of that really.  

You can come to sex coaching or therapy by yourself as a woman and the women that I see, usually their partner is very supportive, very kind and very loving. They just want to have contact with, see or be exposed to the woman that they often met at the beginning of the relationship and for some reason there has been shut down for her and their partners just really want to see that woman again. They want to see that woman that is carefree in her sex life and more giving as well (hint, she usually over-gives in other ways but that generosity doesn’t happen in sex - it's too spent).

One of my motto’s is: when you start to work on yourself and explore yourself and liberate yourself, your partner will walk along with you for that time and they will learn from you because you are learning about yourself.

Men (if you're in a heterosexual relationship) I can tell you right now that men, really mature men; men that really deeply love their women with all their heart just want to see their partner in pleasure. It gives them so much pleasure to see their partner in pleasure and it's a really beautiful thing. That's mainly what they're asking for and they're already feeling really free within themselves, it's just that it's up to us as women or it’s up to her to give herself that that sense of approval that she can be sexual so then she can say: I am a sexual woman and really own that because that is a really beautiful thing.

Myth busting #3: Demystifying who a sex coach is and what happens in sessions

Although my favourite title is sexologist (a qualified person that specialises in human sexuality) I also call myself a sex coach because I like the word coaching - it's really active and it really focuses on what is going on in your life now and what we can change now so that the future is better for you. I know you want to be more embodied, be present, let go, enjoy sex, feel your arousal, start making sound and begin to feel juicy!

The process: The first introductory session is an hour and a half to explore what has happened in the past – we need to debunk the shitty advice you have received about sex - for example that you have to put out for your husband x amount of times per week to keep him happy or else a relationship will end (cue pressure and fear!). I also get an understanding of what your beliefs are about sex and what experiences really stand-out to you as being influential. Then we look at what is going on in your daily life, how you respond to giving and receiving and if that brings up challenges in sex because if you are really, really giving in everything, you are probably really depleted when it comes to sex.  

The first session is really exciting because once we shed that sexual story, we can use the second session to move on and really hone in on what it is that you can bring into your life so that it's more enjoyable so that you feel more connected, so that you're using touch with intention, so that you're not just responding because you think that's what someone else needs to hear. Coaching is really great for that and lots of people call themselves sex coaches but I am different in that I am tertiary qualified.

I won't deny that I am really proud of the fact that I have qualifications to backup what I do. In short, I was a registered nurse, then I got a Grad Dip of Counselling so that I could emerge the other side as a counsellor and I can actually call myself a counsellor. A few years later I went through and did the sexology degree at Curtin University in Perth, which is really exclusive. If it's not the only one available right now that's only 1 of 2 available in Australia so it's really specialised and unique and I completed the Graduate Diploma so that I could call myself a sexologist.

When you want to go see someone about your sexual problems, I’d advise that you check out what their qualifications are and to ensure you are comfortable with that. I want to put out there that it is ultimately about how comfortable you feel talking to that person about your sex life. (In the video I speak into how I used to offer a discovery call – this has since changed to an introductory session!) With the introductory session, I want you to feel assured that I can help you with your concerns. I don't want you to get into the room and go f**k I do not want to talk to her, I feel closed with her, I don't feel safe. Your safety and your sense of confidence in the person that you see for coaching or therapy is number one. That will generate the best outcomes for you.

I’m really proud of my academic achievements because I am a very big sex geek! Look around and see where the person you want to work with has journeyed personally and professionally and have a phone chat with them if you aren’t sure.

Lastly, the reason why I do coaching packages rather than one-off coaching sessions is because one-off sessions just don't work. You can come in for the introductory session and shed your sexual stories but walking away from that point is not going to give you the outcomes that you want and that's a lot of energy - physical and mental energy for me and for you. The magic is going to happen when you keep coming and my baseline package is 4 sessions. It's been that way for almost 2 years now and I've not looked back because women hit this turning point around session 3 usually and when they come back in for session 4 they are so glad that they stuck around and are on the other side of their issue. That old stuff comes up, those old sabotaging patterns come up and there is a sense of completion at the end.

I hope this has given you a clearer perspective as to what is possible within sessions. If you are on the precipice of saying yes - I invite you to step forward into sessions. You already know what comes of waiting on the edge...

Lauren xo