Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy. Sex therapists assist those experiencing problems in overcoming them, in doing so possibly regaining an active sex life. The practice of sex therapy remains controversial. It is approached with ambivalence in social, religious, and educational systems. The transformative approach to sex therapy aims to understand the psychological, biological, pharmacological, relational, and contextual aspects of sexual problems.
Sex therapy requires rigorous evaluation that includes a medical and psychological examination. The reason is that sexual dysfunction may have a somatic base or a psychogenic basis. A clear example is erectile dysfunction (sometimes still called “impotence”), whose etiology may include, firstly, circulatory problems, and secondly, performance anxiety. Sex therapy is frequently short term, with duration depending on the causes for therapy.
Sex therapy can be provided by licensed social workers, physicians, psychologists, or therapists who have undergone training and become certified. In the United States, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) oversees clinical training for a sexual health practitioner to become a certified sex therapist (CST). Any licensed mental health counselor can practice sex therapy. Certified sex therapists do not have sexual contact with their clients.
AASECT Certified Sex Therapists are licensed mental health professionals, trained to provide in-depth psychotherapy, who have specialized in treating clients with sexual issues and concerns. In the absence of available licensure, they are certified, registered, or clinical members of a national psychotherapy organization. Sex therapists work with simple sexual concerns also, but in addition, where appropriate, are prepared to provide comprehensive and intensive psychotherapy over an extended period of time in more complex cases.
(Source: American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists)