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It’s not always easy to talk about sex and relationships, even if you’ve been together for a long time. You may find that sex therapy (sometimes called psychosexual therapy or sexual counselling) may help your relationship.

Where can I go to have it?

It’s available on the NHS or privately. You can usually book yourself in to see a private counsellor, but for NHS services you will usually need your GP or another health professional to refer you.

Who will I see?

You will usually see a sex (or psychosexual) therapist or counsellor. They may have a background in medicine, nursing or psychology. They will have had special training in the causes and treatment of sexual problems.

How does it work?

It normally involves a series of counselling sessions. You can go on your own, but if you have a partner, its best for them to come along with you and be involved.

The first appointments will focus on the therapist getting to know you and finding out about what is going on in your sex life. You and your partner may have joint and separate appointments.

You may find the conversations with the therapist awkward at first but this should improve as your confidence grows. At the end of these first few sessions, the therapist will give you some brief information and advice and talk to you about whether further therapy might be useful.

They may refer you for couples counselling, or other psychological services or treatment. If you have further sex therapy it will often involve more discussion of sexual problems and specific activities and ways to work through them.

Will I have to get undressed during my session?

No - you will never be asked to undress or do anything sexual in the therapy room.

What happens when I leave the session?

You might have ‘homework’, such as exercises for you and your partner to get more in tune with your senses, ways to communicate more effectively, or experiment with different ways of being intimate.

Top tip:

Check that any sex therapist you see is registered with the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) or the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).