It's a kind of behavioral psychotherapy designed to change certain patterns of sexual behavior.
It helps the individual to accept and feel comfortable with his/her own sexuality.
It helps the individual to initiate and maintain sexual relationship.
It helps the couple to improve quality of their relationship.

Basic principles of Sex Therapy:

  • Improve communication within relationship to help resolve the resentments and misunderstandings that keep a sexual problem going.
  • Correct sexual myths, misconceptions, unrealistic expectations and attitude.
  • Reassurance and permission giving i.e. sanctioning behavior and eliminating guilt over certain sexual practices.
  • Technical advice and Specific suggestion
  • Teaching alternative means of sexual gratification.


(1) PLISSIT model : Formulated by Jack Anon & Robinson in 1978.

  • Permission giving : Permission to talk about sexual matters.
  • Limited Information : providing limited information to the client about his/her concerns.
  • Specific Suggestions : counselor offers certain specific suggestions to manage sexual situations.
  • Intensive Therapy : undertaken when some other complexities like major psychopathology, marital discord, substance abuse etc. co-exists.

(2) COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY : involves use of established principles of learning for the purpose of changing un adaptive behavior.

The goal of the therapy is to identify and challenge the irrational beliefs that are the root of emotional disturbances. The basic assumption is that 'human beings are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them.' This therapy can be applied to individual as well as couples too with some modification.

There are specific techniques in this therapy

1. Guided Imagining : The client is instructed to go through an anxiety hierarchy involving the desired behavioral sequences.

2. Cognitive Rehearsal : After anxiety hierarchy, the client is instructed to self rehearse the same imagined hierarchy at home, until he/she feels comfortable and relaxed with the thoughts of engaging in sexual activity.

3. Covert Reinforcement : It is the imagined presentation of a positively reinforcing scene to increase the probability of a desired response.

4. Thought Stopping : Through this technique the client is encouraged to practice his/her ruminative thoughts which cause distraction from sexual situation.

5. Covert Assertion : It is designed to be implemented following a thought-stopping procedure and focuses on eliminating ant residual anxiety or preoccupation not eliminated by earlier methods.

6. Covert Sensitization : Designed to decrease the probability of an unwanted behavior or thought through aversive conditioning techniques.

7. Implosive Therapy : Designed to increase the probability of a behavior occurrence through imaginary confrontation between the individual and the dreaded or anxiety provoking stimuli.

(3) RATIONAL EMOTIVE THERAPY (RET) : RET for sexual dysfunctions involves the use of emotional imaginary confrontation involving irrational beliefs and negative self statements.

(4) SENSATE FOCUS THERAPY(4) : This is a modification of cognitive behavior therapy. When brought out in 1959 by Masters and Johnson, it was revolutionary concept in the therapeutics of sexual dysfunction.
This strategy shifts the therapeutic focus to the relationship in stead of the individual. They worked with the couple with the view that there is no such thing as an uninvolved partner in a committed relationship in which there is any form of sexual distress. This provides the opportunity to gain the cooperation and understanding of both the partners in overcoming the distress.

Salient features of this therapy…
1. Therapy is individualized to meet the specific needs of each couple.
2. Sex is assumed to be a natural function, controlled largely by reflex responses of the body.
3. Because fears of performance and "spectatoring" are often central to cases of sexual dysfunction, therapy must be approached at several levels.
4. determining "who is to blame" for a sexual problem is discouraged as a counterproductive exercise.
5. Helping couples see that sex is just one component of their relationship is stressed.

Basic Principles :

1. Improve communication within a relationship to relieve the resentments and misunderstandings that keep a sexual problem going.
2. Correct ignorance and misunderstandings about sex.
3. This approach is primarily educational. You are not curing an illness but help learn new and more satisfactory ways of getting on with each other.

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