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Sex Therapy Case Study

The field of sex therapy has changed dramatically since Masters and Johnson were recommending brief, problem-centered treatments that tended to focus on the mechanics of sexuality. With simple cases of premature ejaculation or anorgasmia becoming increasingly rare, clinicians are now utilizing a sophisticated array of multidisciplinary approaches to treat a complex variety of challenging problems and patient populations. Bringing together, under one cover, case studies and clinical discussions by the very authorities whose work is changing the field, Case Studies in Sex Therapy provides a state-of-the-art guide to current clinical practice.

Presenting a comprehensive overview of treatment models, the case studies cover each of the major categories of sexual dysfunction. The first section focuses on cases of sexual desire disorders, a major area of sex therapy in recent years. Issues explored include desire disparity between partners, clinical interventions in marital and sex therapy, the interplay of low and excessive desire disorders in couples, biological aspects of inhibited sexual desire, treatment considerations with a homosexual couple, the application of integrative therapy for treating secondary low sex desire, and the many factors that may contribute to sexual avoidance. Illustrating the trend toward a richer, postmodern understanding of the instances and sources of adult sexual dysfunction, chapters also examine the interaction of therapy and politics as well as the effects of childhood sexual trauma or physical abuse on sexual desire later in adulthood.

Focusing on sexual performance problems, chapters in the next section demonstrate both the opportunities and the complex challenges posed to the clinician by the array of new medical, surgical, and pharmacological therapies. With an emphasis on the integration of medical and psychological approaches, these cases focus on the treatment of problems such as male erectile disorder and chronic genital pain. Reflecting the importance of social and cultural factors, the third section addresses the growing interest in the field in sexual addiction and compulsion. Case studies cover such contemporary and controversial issues as the treatment of a sexually addictive client and the treatment implications when a client has been sexually exploited by another therapist.

A major addition to the clinical literature, this indispensable resource will be of value to a wide range of mental health and medical professionals, including marriage and family therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, family physicians, and psychiatric nurses. Bringing the issues to life with case studies that are sure to stimulate classroom discussion, the book also serves as a teaching text for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.

“Avoiding sex had become part of our bedtime routine. Everything else in our relationship was great. It didn’t make sense!”

Keith, Relate Sex Therapy client

Where they started

Anne and Keith had been together for nine years but they started to hit problems with their sex life not long after the birth of their first child. Anne had a difficult birth and had to have an intrusive procedure which meant that she couldn’t have sex for several months. 

We didn't have sex for ages, even after Anne felt better, we barely managed to have sex more than once or twice a month. Neither of us were very happy about it, but we didn’t know what to do to change it.

Keith

Seeking help

Anne had read an article in a magazine about Sex Therapy at Relate and suggested to Keith that they try it, but like a lot of couples, they kept putting it off. Naturally they both felt unsure and a bit embarrassed about talking to someone else about sex. Eventually they rang up and booked an appointment.

We just went in with the attitude that a few blushes were better than a lifetime of frustration. We thought if we tried going a few times and it wasn’t for us then there was no obligation to keep going.

Anne

The Sex Therapist worked with Anne and Keith on a weekly basis to help them open up and talk about the problems they were having.

Our therapist was so friendly and relaxed about it, they deal with that stuff all the time, we wish we’d got in touch earlier. It ended up being a great decision. We became more comfortable talking to each other about the problems in our sex life. Our therapist helped us communicate better and gave us exercises to do at home.

Keith

Where they are now

It’s given us our intimacy back. It’s not just physical but emotional too – we’re so much better connected and really, really happy!

Anne

How we can help

If like Keith and Anne you feel like you need a bit of help with your sex life, there are various ways we can help.

*This case study is loosely based on the kind of scenarios we work with, as opposed to specific clients. Relate never shares the stories of our clients without permission, even with names and details changed.