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Lousy experience with sex therapy

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  • Lousy experience with sex therapy

    Hi, Everybody,

    I'm writing to rant and vent a bit, but I also want to share my bad experience in hopes that it won't happen to others.

    Last year, my husband and I went through a rough patch, lots of fighting about sex - particularly how IC and my health issues have affected our sex life. So it seemed like a good idea for us to try seeing a sex therapist and we went together. That seemed to be the "common sense" thing to do.

    I went into therapy expecting that I probably wouldn't like everything I heard, or be thrilled to do everything that she recommended that we do. However, I also wanted to be flexible and willing to compromise. I thought she would help us negotiate about our needs and differences, and understand each other better. I thought she would help us come up with solutions that would be fair to both of us, and take both of our needs and feelings into account. Not so much.

    I felt that she took sides with my husband (who has the higher sex drive).
    I felt that she treated my husband's needs as sacred, and mine as irrelevant.
    I felt that she treated me as "the problem" in our sex life and relationship.
    She always gave me a list of several things I should do to change myself, to be more sexual and please my husband - but she never once suggested that he make the slightest change in his behavior.
    I felt silenced by her. She did listen to me - but then discarded everything I said.
    I almost felt like it was an attempt to brainwash me. After every session, I felt more unheard, more shut down, more doubting of myself.

    I know I'm far from perfect, and I'm sure I could improve some things - but I think I'm not 100% wrong or bad, or stupid to want what I want, feel the way I feel.

    This sex therapist is a member of AASECT, so objectively, she is "qualified". She just seemed so invested in being "sex-positive" that she had no empathy for my feelings or views.

    I wish I had asked her a LOT more questions about her therapy at the first session. I wish I had asked her who influences her therapy, and what books she recommends to her clients.
    But I also remember at the time that I was freaking out with anxiety and hurt feelings about my relationship. I was panicking.
    I also wish I had challenged her more throughout therapy. I wish I had said something like, "That doesn't make sense to me". Or "Why are you recommending that? What is the basis for that?"
    Mostly, I wish I hadn't doubted myself and kept going as long as I did (9 months, once or twice per month).

    Things got better after we QUIT going to her therapy. I set some boundaries. I gave in on some things, but not on others. We fought some more, but we also talked about - and showed - each other we love each other. My husband is a good guy, and I think we're okay.

    But I hated her therapy!!! I'll be REAL cautious before trusting someone else again!

  • #2
    Re: Lousy experience with sex therapy

    I am speechless that would not what I would expect to happen at therapy.

    No one is right or wrong when it comes to sexual needs.

    No matter what you should never be made to feel that way, if your husband did that you would feel you were being abused.

    My daughter is a councilor of a different sort, she says you don't take sides that is not professional.

    It is very normal through a marriage to have periods when your not on the same page. Disease, pregnate, post delivery, hormonal changes, and men have issues too. Yes there maybe some fighting, some ups and downs, this is all normal.

    It dosent sound to me that she was helping your marriage to stay on track.

    Please don't let theses thought stay with you, having UC is damaging enough to our self esteem.

    This was not a problem you had any control over.

    I get it but try to let it go.
    My are with you all. May you all find a way to peace and joy in your lives.


    • #3
      Re: Lousy experience with sex therapy

      Hi, Mothergoose,

      Thanks for replying, and providing some comfort and support.

      The therapist didn't come out and directly say she thought I was wrong, it was a lot more subtle.
      It was more that I kept getting steered into a direction I didn't want to go in,
      and whenever I protested it seemed that everything I said was disregarded or undermined.
      And she did NOT ask my husband to change his behavior or expectations at all, so it felt very one-sided. It was in her actions and handling, rather than her actual words.

      Although, one of the things she said was that if I get a UTI after sex, I should "reframe" my thinking about it; I shouldn't blame sex; I should tell myself that a UTI "just happens" sometimes, but it's not caused by sex.

      I think I just wanted to say that this can happen - just like sometimes we see a doctor who's clueless or insensitive about IC. Therapists are just people, and they're all different, and have very different views and values. And sometimes their personal beliefs and biases come out - and maybe pushed on their clients. For example, therapists appear to have different views about monogamy or open relationships; or use of erotica/porn. Or saying someone is a "sex addict". Or about illness - some people have a "get over it" attitude.
      Also, after doing a lot of reading, I think I'm seeing a trend towards "more sex is better!" and favoring the more adventurous/more sexual partner's needs at the expense of the more cautious/less sexual partner.

      I AM still angry about this experience; but I think it will get easier to let it go. I'm just not quite there yet!


      • #4
        Re: Lousy experience with sex therapy

        P.S. Mothergoose,

        I remember you mentioned that your daughter is a counselor, and that she does not think it's a good idea to take sides in couples counseling.
        It sounds like she is one of the good ones.
        I've been reading several psychology books, and I think there are a lot of inspiring and truly helpful therapists out there, too. Just the one I went to wasn't good - or at least, not a good fit for me.


        • #5
          Re: Lousy experience with sex therapy

          It sounds to me like you managed to see a therapist who counsels about sex relationships in people without health problems. Years ago I attended a support group meeting discussing sexual relations and it turned out to be totally inappropriate for ICers --- it was aimed towards making sex more exciting --- not how to make adjustments, communicate, etc. in people with IC.

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          • #6
            Re: Lousy experience with sex therapy

            Yes it sounds like she was not a good one or a good fit for you.

            Now put that in context and forget everything she said and that she made you feel very small and ungpheard.

            You are a strong confident woman, embrace that

            Donna has a very good point.
            Last edited by Mothergoose; 05-05-2017, 02:01 PM. Reason: Added
            My are with you all. May you all find a way to peace and joy in your lives.


            • #7
              Re: Lousy experience with sex therapy

              Donna, I think what you said about her purpose makes sense; people do have different needs and goals.
              Just ended up going to the wrong kind of person, I guess.

              I hope you are feeling better every day!

              Mothergoose, thanks again for your support! Yeah, I was feeling a bit low about the whole thing.

              Thanks so much to BOTH of you for your help getting some perspective on this!!!