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ARE YOU SUITED FOR SEX THERAPY?

A good candidate for sex therapy is someone interested in finding out more about himself. Therefore, he is somewhat intro- spective, has some insight into himself and wants to learn more. He will have functioned well sexually in the past, and his problem will have developed recently. This is particularly important, because men with erection problems may become extremely depressed, and solving the problem early can help men avoid the cycle of rejection and despair that can develop overtime.

Some therapists require that a man with an erection problem already have a partner in a relationship. The reason for such a rule is that because sex is something which concerns both partners, both should participate in any resolution of a sexual problem. The two partners don’t have to be married or to have been together for a long time, but it’s important that they feel good about each other. Other therapists will work with men who do not have a steady partner, or don’t have a partner at all.

Perhaps most important of all, a good candidate for sex therapy is someone who is motivated: He wants to improve his sexual functioning and his sexual relationship and learn more about his body. He is willing to do the homework the therapist assigns; he wants to change.

There are also key characteristics a good candidate does not have. He doesn’t suffer from persistent, long-term, low sexual desire, even though the erection problem may have recently reduced his interest in sex. He’s not seeking help just because he’s being pressured to change by his lover. He doesn’t have very restricted and firmly fixed ideas about what is “normal” sex; he will consider sexual behavior besides intercourse, and he’s willing to experiment. He does not carry within him a strong prohibition against sex. For example, a man who says, “I avoid sex until I can’t stand it” will need to spend additional time in sex therapy examining and reconsidering his attitudes.

Along the same lines, someone who remarks, “I masturbate only when I can’t stop myself” isn’t going to be comfortable stimulating himself as part of a sex therapy program. Working on his attitudes toward self-pleasure would be an important first step, and a good sex therapist would be able to help him examine and possibly change those feelings.

Just as the wife or lover plays an important role in diagnosis and treatment, she can be crucial to successful sex therapy. In the best situation, the partner is interested, involved and sup- is that you and your partner honestly share your feelings and concerns with the therapist.

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