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rosysunset
04-23-2012, 06:55 PM
I guess the title says it all: is it okay to talk about sex in therapy?

I've been seeing a therapist for about six months. I'm a pretty private person. I've never talked about sex with anyone--hardly even my husband actually (part of the problem!). But there are a couple things that are kind of bothering me and I'm considering gathering up the courage to talk about it in therapy. (Topics like trouble knowing what I desire and expressing my needs, etc.) But is it okay to talk about sex????

I'm guessing the answer is yes, but I'm not sure. What do you think? What has your experience been?

rosy

axi
04-23-2012, 06:59 PM
Yes, it is definitely okay to talk about sex. I did with my old T and other than the initial embarrassment, it was fine and it felt good to get it out in the open.

MysteryLove
04-24-2012, 01:35 PM
Yes. Therapists have heard it all and sex is so normal and common and human that they listen to people talk about it all the time. Sex comes up in therapy for me probably as often as every other session. If you want to say it, your therapist wants to hear it. It's a safe place for you to talk about whatever you want to talk about, and if sex is on your mind, by all means speak. :happy

rosysunset
04-25-2012, 01:14 PM
Thanks mystery and axi. How did/do your therapists react when you brought sex up? Were they embarrassed when you talked about it? How did you bring it up the first time?

take care,

rosy

bellydancer
04-25-2012, 01:52 PM
I've talked about sex with numerous therapists. None of them have batted an eyelash about it.

recoveringredhead
04-25-2012, 07:00 PM
My T brought up sex once just in passing and I nearly died. I've never spoken about it, but know I will have to eventually but I have mentioned adult body stuff before (and need to again next week actually). I've always been so embarrassed, mortified even but my T has never batted an eyelid or missed a beat. I'm sure I'm not the first person who has talked about these things with him and I very much doubt I will be the last.

Usually when I bring up this stuff there's a hell of a lot of fumbling, stammering, saying how stupid I am and that I'm really embarrassed and that it's really hard for me and that usually gives him and idea of what I want to talk about. I find it really hard to talk about this stuff and it's always me who's uncomfortable but he just reacts the same way he reacts when I talk about anything else. I do find it helpful to tell him how hard it is for me to talk about though. I don't know why but I do.

axi
04-25-2012, 08:25 PM
I was having an issue with my husband, so I needed to talk about the sex aspect. I think I just took a deep breath and blurted it out. She was fine and didn't seem surprised. It's part of their job, so it's normal to them.

midnightdreary
04-25-2012, 10:18 PM
rosy,

As others have said-- therapists have heard it and your T can work with you to make the conversation as safe and easy for you as you all can.

I think therapy is a GREAT place to talk about sex-- I've done it a few times and ohhhhh it's uncomfortable at first but it really does work out for the best. :winky

If you want to practice sharing and share anything on this thread I bet we'd all be happy to :ear as this is a safe place too. :gimmehug

rosysunset
04-26-2012, 02:39 PM
Thanks everyone! I do want to talk about sex in therapy, but know I will just melt with mortification when I actually try. I once had a therapist (who was a horrible therapist) that rolled her eyes and complained about the sex discussions she had with couples in her practice. It was an odd off-hand remark, but it definitely has made me feel like talking about sex is something that therapists dread. My current t. likes talking about dreams and made a remark once about sex as a common thing that comes up in dreams, so she probably (?) is totally fine with it, at least that's my best guess if I'm trying to think objectively.

I guess the two things I feel like I need to discuss but am incredibly embarrassed about is how I don't necessarily feel fulfilled with my sexual relationship with my husband and how I think our levels of desire are kind of mismatched--and mine is higher which is just the opposite of how it "should" be. I'm trying to figure out how I can ask for what I want without being totally ashamed, how to manage our differences in desire and stuff like that.

The second thing which is even more embarrassing is I just have a weird fantasy life... like I've had some semi traumatic experiences but for some messed up reason, parts of my fantasies correspond to the worst things that happened in the traumatic experiences. And believe me I did not enjoy the real experiences so I feel so ashamed that they play some role in what sexually excites me. How can this be????? SO embarrassing. But it's like I have to fantasize these specific things or I don't get excited. But this is a huge barrier to being in the moment with my partner. All so f*cked up.

Anyway, well, at least that was a little practice "talking"...... ugh.

take care,

rosy

MysteryLove
04-26-2012, 03:45 PM
I guess the two things I feel like I need to discuss but am incredibly embarrassed about is how I don't necessarily feel fulfilled with my sexual relationship with my husband and how I think our levels of desire are kind of mismatched--and mine is higher which is just the opposite of how it "should" be. I'm trying to figure out how I can ask for what I want without being totally ashamed, how to manage our differences in desire and stuff like that.
I feel like this too sometimes. My sex drive is higher than my boyfriend which can feel "wrong" because of male/female stereotypes but I'm learning that it's normal. Everyone is different. I think this is a perfectly reasonable and probably common thing to be brought up in therapy and your therapist if he/she is a good one will try to make it as comfortable for you as possible. Mine did not seem in the least bit surprised or embarrassed when we first began discussing sex. If saying "sex" outright is part of the problem you could try using phrases like "getting intimate" or "being physical together".

The second thing which is even more embarrassing is I just have a weird fantasy life... like I've had some semi traumatic experiences but for some messed up reason, parts of my fantasies correspond to the worst things that happened in the traumatic experiences. And believe me I did not enjoy the real experiences so I feel so ashamed that they play some role in what sexually excites me. How can this be????? SO embarrassing. But it's like I have to fantasize these specific things or I don't get excited. But this is a huge barrier to being in the moment with my partner. All so f*cked up.
DO NOT feel embarrassed about this. I am exactly the same way. :trigger talks about SA :trigger I always feel very guilty and confused about it because in no way did I enjoy the SA that happened nor do I have any desire to relive it. My T suggested that it is the feeling of being wanted, so badly that a man cannot control himself, not of being controlled or violated, that these fantasies are trying to recapture. :trigger

Hope that helps. Hugs for rosysunset. :love

axi
04-26-2012, 05:39 PM
I hope that you do discuss these things with her. Those are actually two things I discussed with my T and it helped. I think it is fairly common for people who have had a traumatic past event to want to play with the power dynamics of sex in a safe environment. Actually, I think it is common for most people to want to do that in some way.

Some T's are just not meant to be t's, I think. Your old T should NEVER have said that to you. I had one make a remark about another patient's sex life and also tell me about a fairly traumatic even in her own life. It made me feel extremely unsafe and I wound up switching T's. It wasn't about me, that was her personality and she should have had better boundaries-and so should yours.

Pooh-Bear
04-26-2012, 08:07 PM
Maybe you could say that you want to discuss intimacy issues but that you're feeling really embarrassed and struggling to bring it up? And then she can try and guide the conversation from there, perhaps ask a few questions to get you started.

Re the fantasies and the trauma, perhaps it's about being in control this time whereas last time you weren't? I too think it's not uncommon and I'm sure your therapist will not be phased by it in the least.

In saying all this, the thought of bringing up intimacy issues with my therapist gives me the right royal shits :zoinks and it's not something I've been able to bring up either ... yet! I remember telling my therapist once that I would need to at some stage discuss 'girly issues' and then I got all embarrassed and said something like 'oh but don't worry I'm not going to sit here and discuss my love life or anything'. It was so akward! But he just sat there completely calm and said something along the lines of 'girly stuff that doesn't involve talking about sex ... ok'. I just wanted the world to swallow me whole and I've never raised it again :lookin so thanks for your thread, it's kinda helpful :shy

recoveringredhead
04-26-2012, 09:03 PM
I must say that I too am finding this thread most helpful and I know I'm going to have to bring up 'girly' stuff (I love the way you phrased that :hugon Pooh :hugoff) sometime soon because it's doing my head in at the moment but I'm too terrified and embarrassed.

sprinkle
04-27-2012, 02:52 AM
Count me in as another who finds it hard to talk about this stuff - just this afternoon actually. I am getting better about it very slowly, but just find it one of the hardest things I have had to talk about in therapy. I actually find talking about it with friends much easier than my therapist.

My therapist suggested a book by an author named Rosie King who is a sex therapist, I have forgotten the name but it was about how partners will always have mismatched sexual desires and how to work with that, might be worth looking into some books too to give you some advice and ideas too, with the benefit of not having to talk about it out loud.

-sprinkle-

rosysunset
04-27-2012, 09:16 AM
You guys are all awesome, thanks for the responses. Mystery and axi, it makes me feel better that other people know what I mean about the trauma/fantasy thing. I still feel a bit like a freak, but if you guys didn't think I had three heads, my t. probably won't either.

Another embarrassing subject: masturbation. (I can't believe I just typed that word). Another thing that feels sooo shameful. I don't think I could talk to my t. about it for that reason, and yet it's something that is supposedly common... it is an issue just w/ my hubby and I having mismatched sexual desires and stuff but I feel like crawling under a rock rather than admitting it. But not sure how to avoid talking about it if I'm really being honest about the whole issue. Has anyone ever ummm brought this word up in therapy? How do you think a therapist would react?

Take care,

rosy

MysteryLove
04-27-2012, 09:58 AM
Masturbation is very common, even in women which society does not like to admit. I agree with what Pooh suggested, that maybe you could start out sort of vague and have T ask you some questions, try to give her signs when she's getting close to what is sensitive. I also think that your previous T should not have made the comment that she did; I'm glad you have a new one who is hopefully more responsive than that one. When is your next session? Keep us posted!

kappybooik
04-30-2012, 03:18 AM
As many people have said, this should be the absolute SAFEST place to talk about sex and sexuality.

Now safe, and comfortable are two different things. But it's often the thing we hide in a dark corner and feel so much shame about and that makes it an unqualified trigger in my book. Take a deep breath, dump your self-judgement and GO FOR IT!

I promise you its' nothing they haven't heard before if their a therapist with lots of experience.
Be Well and Good Luck!
Kathy:groovy

rosysunset
05-01-2012, 08:45 PM
I had therapy this afternoon and totally chickened out about bringing sex up. :( It actually was a full session talking about something else important--I'm getting ready to tell my mom about my ed and depression issues for the first time when she comes next week--but I did think about it and not say anything at at least one point. Argh.

Kappy, I love what you said about how safe and comfortable are two different things. And yes, shame is such a trigger, which is why I feel this need to talk about it, but also why I don't want to!

But there's always next week. I tried to rehearse how I would bring it up a couple times in the car this week, and it was awkward and weird each time. Maybe it will just be awkward and weird and I just need to get over it.

take care,

rosy

jaybay
05-01-2012, 09:03 PM
When I had to talk about something uncomfortable with my T, I used to write her a note. One that explained what the issue was, how I felt, and what I really wanted to do about it. It kept me from having to say the uncomfortable things out loud, but the issue was brought up and discussed. This might help?

Good luck with your mom! I wish you the best with it, and hopefully you can find some ease with having more support!

Pooh-Bear
05-03-2012, 10:31 PM
I agree with jaybay about if possible writing it for her? I know when I need to bring up something I'm really unsure about, I normally do it via email first and then my therapist will bring it up in our next session and the conversation goes from there.

I think no matter when or how you do it, that it's going to be weird and akward, at least in the beginning. But I'm sure the more you talk about it, eventually (hopefully) you won't find it so difficult.

And it's okay you didn't bring it up this week. There is always next week ... and the week after ... and the week after :winky :sarcasm

Best of luck with your mum too.

rosysunset
05-14-2012, 08:02 PM
I just want to report that I brought it up this afternoon in therapy, I actually talked about sex. I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself. :) I even survived.

My therapist was totally fine with talking about it, she didn't treat talking about sex like it was any different than talking about anything else (well, except for acknowledging that it was hard for me to talk about and that I have been doing a great job facing my fears and having some important but difficult conversations!). I feel very relieved how she really didn't bat an eye. She also asked some helpful questions that made it easier to talk, and just said that after I break the ice talking about it, most people find it gets easier to talk about.

We probably talked about sex for the last third of the session, and with how hard it is to talk about, I really didn't say all that much... but enough to give her a vagueish idea of one of my two major issues. And she definitely thought it was relevant to talk about.

So, phew, I can't believe I actually did it. I actually am kind of looking forward to getting to talk about this more next week.

take care,

rosy

axi
05-14-2012, 09:01 PM
Go you! *does a happy dance for you*

recoveringredhead
05-14-2012, 10:08 PM
I'm so glad that you were able to bring it up.

My T brought it up last week so it saved me having to do it myself but I was able to talk and it felt like a massive barrier had been broken down.

I hope you're able to keep it up.

Pooh-Bear
05-14-2012, 11:01 PM
That's fantastic, good on you! I was wondering how you were getting on with this.

I'm pleased it went well and that she didn't bat an eye lid. Yay you for being brave.

I'm curious ... how did you bring it up? You don't have to say if you don't wish :shy

I had a wee smile when I read that you're even looking forward to discussing it more next week. How's that for a turn around!!

rosysunset
05-15-2012, 07:20 AM
I know, Pooh, isn't it funny to want to talk about this? It's just after so much build up in my mind, it's such a relief to get this out there at least partially and I have this glimmer that this might really help! How I brought it up... well, the topic was body image and my t. was wondering how I'm doing on that and the answer is that it's just really hard. Probably the most common thought/feeling I struggle with, with respect to my body is feeling disgusting, and another really common one is feeling like a bad woman. She immediately said, "let's talk about feeling like a bad woman." At that point I said something about how that is kind of connected to intimacy stuff for me and wondered if it was okay to talk about physical intimacy. Of course there was a huge amount of hemming and hawing and staring at the ground mixed all the way through! And yes, recoveringredhead, I feel the same way that a huge barrier's been broken down, even if I'm still a bit mortified!

take care,

rosy

MysteryLove
05-15-2012, 07:25 AM
Congratulations! That's a big step and I'm glad you found it helpful. :happy Best of luck with the continuation of talking about this. :love

Pooh-Bear
05-15-2012, 06:15 PM
Fantastic! It's totally okay that you ummed and arred and stared at the ground and everything else in between (sounds like my session last night!!), but the fact is you did it! So proud of you :supergrin Hope you're proud of yourself too.