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Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

How Do I Find a Sex Therapist?

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Can you recommend any sex therapists in Milwaukee?

I get asked this question a lot! Sex therapists are psychotherapists who specialize in helping people with issues around sexuality. There are a wide variety of topics that a sex therapist can address, such as lack of arousal, healing past sexual trauma, differing levels of desire or interests in a relationship, and so on.

I do not personally recommend individual therapists, for a number of reasons. Just because I know someone and think they do good work does not mean that this particular therapist would be a good match for the person asking. I also don't know if a therapist is taking on new clients at any given time.

I suggest that folks who are seeking a qualified sex therapist search the directory maintained by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). AASECT is a nonprofit, independent organization that provides certification and credentialing for professionals in the sexuality field. A therapist can certainly practice sex therapy without being AASECT-certified; joining AASECT is voluntary, and there are no requirements other than a psychotherapy degree and licensure to address sexuality-related topics in one's practice. However, choosing an AASECT-certified therapist lets you know that a professional has a certain base level of knowledge and commitment.

Depending on your needs, you could also consider looking for a sex coach instead of a sex therapist. As I wrote in a previous column about sex coaching, this approach can benefit people who do not have a serious mental health concern or crisis, but are looking for someone to help them set and achieve their own goals concerning their sexuality. Some coaches will provide support via phone or Skype, which may make them easier to access than a therapist, depending on your location and schedule.

Many sex coaches are members of AASECT, but AASECT does not have a separate certification category for coaches, so they can be a bit harder to find. If you are interested in a recommendation for a sex coach, contact Sex Coach U https://sexcoachu.com/, a professional development and training organization for coaches. They may be able to put you in touch with one of their graduates.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the
Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side. She has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.