My husband and I have been having problems in the bedroom. There’s just no spark any more- if we’re not too tired we’re too busy or just not in the mood. We want to get our sex life back on track and are considering seeing a sex therapist. How can we make an appointment and how do we know a good sex therapist when we find one?
Sexpert, Desiree Spierings BA (Psych) MHSc (Sexual Health); Sex Therapist; Relationship Counsellor; Director of Sexual Health Australia and Editorial Advisory Board Member of Virtual Medical Centre and Parenthub responds:
Consulting a sex therapist sounds like a good move for you and your husband. Rest assured that you’re not alone- many couples have sexual problems at some point in their relationship. It’s best to deal with these temporary phases before they become permanent issues, and finding a qualified sex therapist is a great way to do this.
Sex therapists help couples deal with relationship and sexual problems, just like the lack of spark in your sex life. They focus on treating sexual problems with counselling and other psychological interventions rather than medicines, so sex therapists don’t need to be doctors. While some sex therapists are also registered psychologists, many have other relevant qualifications like sexual health or counselling. It’s important to find a sex therapist that has the right qualifications for your specific problem.
Some sex therapists may be specialised in a specific area of interest. For example, gender issues, sexuality and ageing, or rebuilding your sex life after dealing with cancer. The right sex therapist will also depend on your location, for example if you are in a regional or remote area, a therapist who provides telephone consultation may work best. Telephone consults may also be a good option if you feel shy about meeting face to face or just don’t want to deal with hassles like travel and parking.
Both these organisations compile a directory of qualified sex therapists in Australia: the Society of Australian Sexologists and the Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists. Once you find a sex therapist who seems suitable, give them a call directly to make an appointment.
You can make an appointment by contacting the sex therapist directly. You do not need a referral from a GP, as sex therapy is not covered by the Medicare rebate scheme (unless the therapist is also a registered psychologist). If you have private health insurance, sex therapy may or may not be covered, depending on your scheme and the level of cover you have. Check with your provider before making your appointment.