Stand Up To Anxiety | Dr Terry Sergeant

Stand Up To Anxiety

Online counselling and CBT for worry, stress, and anxiety

Stand Up To Anxiety

Online counselling and CBT for worry, stress, and anxiety

Sex & Relationship Therapy

Sex Therapy

Confidential support to understand and manage any issues you are having with sex or sexuality, either individually or with your partner(s).

Can you relate to any of the following?

  • Are you struggling to find pleasure in your sexual experiences?
  • Do you experience difficult feelings like anxiety, self-consciousness, or shame when it comes to sex?
  • Have you been facing challenges in maintaining intimacy with a partner?
  • Have you experienced sexual trauma?
  • Has your sex life been disrupted by erection problems, delayed/rapid ejaculation, painful sex, or other issues?
  • Do questions about sexual desire, performance anxieties, or communication barriers in your relationship resonate with you?
  • Are you worried about having a sex or porn ‘addiction’?
  • Are you in a ‘sexless’ relationship?
  • Are you exploring relationship diversity, such as the spectrum of monogamy to non-monogamy?
  • Perhaps you’re exploring aspects of your sexual identity?

Whatever your situation, these are just some of the many things that individuals, couples, and partners bring to sex and relationship therapy.

Why is sex difficult for many people?

Sexual difficulties are a common experience for many, influenced by a complex interplay of psychological, cultural, and physical factors. Despite being a natural part of human life, sex is often enveloped in silence, misunderstanding, and anxiety, making it a challenging area to navigate for individuals, couples, throuples, and poly folk alike.

  • Poor Sex Education: In many places, including regions of the UK and Ireland, sex education can be lacking in depth and breadth. This gap leaves individuals without the necessary knowledge to understand their bodies, desires, and the nature of healthy sexual relationships. The absence of comprehensive sex education can lead to misconceptions, fears, and a lack of communication skills around sex.

  • Cultural and Religious Views: In areas with traditionally conservative views on sex and sexuality, such as Northern Ireland and parts of Ireland and the UK, cultural and religious teachings often portray sex within very restrictive parameters. This upbringing can instill feelings of guilt or shame associated with sexual desires and activities, complicating individuals’ ability to embrace their sexuality positively. Conversely, while places like London, Dublin, and Belfast might be perceived as more liberal, the remnants of conservative attitudes can still influence personal and societal perceptions of sex, making the navigation of sexual health and intimacy a complex process for many.

  • Negative Messages About Sex: Growing up, many individuals receive negative messages about sex, whether from family, community, or media. These messages can contribute to long-standing beliefs that sex is shameful or should only occur within certain conditions, leading to internal conflicts about sexual desires and behaviors.

  • Body Image Anxieties: Concerns about weight, looks, attractiveness, and specific worries such as penis size can significantly impact sexual confidence and enjoyment. The pervasive influence of media and societal standards can exacerbate these anxieties, making individuals feel inadequate or unattractive, and thereby hindering their sexual expression and fulfillment.

  • Mental Health Issues: Depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges can profoundly affect sexual desire and performance. The interrelationship between mental health and sexual health is significant, with each potentially exacerbating the other. Individuals struggling with these issues might find it difficult to engage in or enjoy sexual activities.

  • Navigating Modern Sexual Landscapes: Even in more liberal environments, the evolving nature of sexual relationships, identities, and the pressures of modern society can add layers of complexity to individuals’ sexual lives. The rise of digital technology and social media has also introduced new dimensions to dating, intimacy, and sexual exploration, sometimes contributing to feelings of isolation or comparison.

Addressing these difficulties requires a compassionate, informed approach that acknowledges the unique experiences and backgrounds of each individual. Therapy can provide a confidential space to explore these challenges, offering guidance and support in navigating the intricacies of sex and intimacy with understanding and care.

What is sex and relationship therapy?

Sex and relationship therapy is a specialised form of therapy that concentrates specifically on issues related to sexual health, sexual functioning, intimacy, and relationship dynamics. It aims to address a wide range of concerns, from difficulties with sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction, to navigating the complexities of romantic relationships. This form of therapy provides a safe and non-judgemental space for individuals and couples to explore their sexual and emotional needs, improve communication, and work towards healthier and more fulfilling sexual and romantic relationships.

Key Features of Sex and Relationship Therapy:

  • Specialised Focus: Unlike general counselling, which addresses a broad spectrum of mental and emotional issues, sex and relationship therapy hones in on the sexual and relational aspects of a person’s life. This specialisation allows therapists to offer targeted strategies and interventions.

  • Comprehensive Approach: This therapy type integrates various therapeutic approaches tailored to sexual and relational health, including psychosexual education, communication exercises, and intimacy-building techniques. It considers the physical, psychological, and emotional components of sexual issues.

  • Open Dialogue About Sex: A hallmark of sex and relationship therapy is its openness to discussing topics that might be considered taboo or uncomfortable in other settings. Therapists are trained to create an environment where all aspects of sexual experience can be explored freely and respectfully.

  • Couples and Individual Work: While general counselling can also be done with individuals or couples, sex and relationship therapy specifically addresses how sexual issues affect personal relationships and how relationship dynamics can influence a person’s sex life.

Issues addressed in sex therapy

Below are examples of some of the common issues that individuals or couples seek counselling for:

  • Desire Discrepancies: Navigating differences in sexual desire to find mutual satisfaction and understanding.
  • Erectile Dysfunction and Performance Anxiety: Overcoming physical and psychological barriers to enjoyable sexual experiences.
  • Intimacy Issues: Enhancing emotional closeness and physical intimacy in relationships.
  • Sexual Identity and Orientation: Exploring and affirming one’s sexual identity and navigating related challenges.
  • Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Healing from past trauma to reclaim a healthy sexual life.
  • Communication Challenges: Developing open and honest communication about sexual needs and preferences.

My experience working with sex and sexuality issues

I have completed postgraduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Couples Therapy, an evidence-based treatment which aims to help couples resolve relationship distress in all its forms, including sexual matters.  Furthermore, I was previously employed as a counsellor in a sexual health clinic for more than four years, supporting individuals and couples with a range of sexual issues.  I also spend a further four years working for an LGBTQ+ sexual health charity.

Dr Terry Sergeant

Counselling Psychologist and CBT Therapist

Providing online counselling in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, and London, England, as well as other parts of the UK and Ireland.

Book an initial appointment

Arrange a therapy session

If you are seeking counselling for a sex, sexuality, or relationship issue, use the button below to schedule an appointment today.

Resources

The following websites are intended as helpful resources. We are not liable for the contents of any external sites listed, nor do we endorse any commercial product or service that may be mentioned or advised. 

Northern Ireland:

  • Relate NI:  provides relationship counselling and psychosexual therapy in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland.
  • Regional Psychosexual Service:  The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust provides a specialist psychosexual therapy service in Northern Ireland.
  • Nexus NI:  Free counselling service in Belfast for anyone impacted by sexual abuse.
  • The Rainbow Project:  an organisation that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ people and their families in Northern Ireland.

UK and Ireland / General Resources: