Are You Looking For An Alternative To In-Office Sex Therapy?

coupe holding hands kitchen tableIs the inconvenience of driving to a therapist’s office preventing you from starting or continuing sex therapy? If you live in or around a big city, you may be reluctant to fight your way through traffic for each session. At the same time, your professional responsibilities or parental duties may leave little time for trips out of the house.

Would you prefer to talk about intimate matters such as your sex life in a private setting? You may worry that you might run into a friend, colleague, or other acquaintance on your way into your sex therapist’s office. Even if you don’t mind other people knowing that you’re getting sex therapy, you might have other reasons for avoiding public places, such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Are you having a hard time accessing a good sex therapist? If you reside in a rural area, there probably aren’t many sexologists near you. Even if you live in a big city, there may not be many AASECT-certified sex therapists within a day’s drive, leaving you wondering if there is anyone who can help you.

Given these challenges, you might assume that sex therapy is out of reach. Fortunately, that isn’t true. You and your partner can get the help you need regardless of where you live.

In-Person Therapy Doesn’t Work For Everyone

couple kissing sunlightWe all lead busy lives and juggle multiple responsibilities. There are bosses to appease, children to care for, and errands to run. Basic self-care activities such as exercising and eating a healthy diet are hard enough to find time for, let alone something more time-consuming like in-office therapy.

Those who do find time to visit a “sex therapist” are often disappointed. Here in Washington, any therapist can call themselves a sex therapist─even if they aren’t certified with the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). And therapists who lack formal sex therapy certification and an evidence-based approach to treatment are often ill-equipped to help.

The lucky couples who do manage to find an AASECT-certified therapist within driving distance may nonetheless be unable to show up. Many have unreliable transportation or health conditions that make in-office visits impractical. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has made many people reluctant to visit a therapist’s office for fear of contracting or spreading the disease.

COVID-19-related financial problems and health concerns, and the persistent proximity of their partners due to spending more time at home, have created additional stress. For many couples, pre-existing relationship problems have gotten worse as a result, and new issues have come to light─all during a time when it is more difficult to receive in-office therapy.

Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome the obstacles between you and effective therapy. If you’re seeking an alternative to in-office treatments, online therapy can offer the same benefits with fewer drawbacks.

Online Sex Therapy Is Convenient, Private, And Effective

couple smiling kissing cheekWhen you talk to a therapist online, you can get qualified help no matter where you live and regardless of any health challenges you may be facing. Online counseling eliminates the time and stress of driving to a therapist’s office. It also gives you access to expanded appointment times from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., making it easier to squeeze therapy into your busy schedule.

Everything that is typically done in a face-to-face session can be done via our virtual meetings. My video conferencing software allows me to see your body language, granting me the same insights I would have access to in person. Any homework I would normally hand to you can be transmitted via email. And I can take your credit card information over the phone.

We will use a video conferencing program called Skype, which is free to download, easy to use, and approved by the U.S. government for teletherapy use during the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Skype uses robust, 256-bit encryption per Advanced Encryption Standards (AES). I also take advantage of Skype’s Private Conversations feature, further protecting our discussions from prying digital eyes.

Online therapy will allow you and your partner to discuss personal matters in the privacy of your home. You won’t run into any acquaintances in my waiting room or during your commute to my office. Neither will you have contact with any strangers, protecting you from diseases like novel coronavirus.

Multiple studies have shown that online mental health counseling is just as effective as in-office therapy.2,3,4 My own experience has confirmed this, with even those clients who were initially hesitant being pleasantly surprised by how well it works. In fact, online sex therapy may even be more effective than in-office in that it gives you access to highly qualified sex therapists that might otherwise be unavailable to you.

As an AASECT-certified sex therapist, I have a track record of saving relationships and marriages. I coined the term “sex positive” in the late 1970s and have spent my career advocating for a healthy, pleasure-positive approach to sex. My qualifications as an effective, sex-positive therapist—and my ability to connect with you through empathy and humor—are far more important than how we meet. My online counseling service will allow us to connect no matter what logistical, physical, or mental health challenges you may be facing.

As you consider online therapy, you may have some hesitations. . .

I’m not sure now is a good time.

If you’re waiting for your schedule to clear up or for COVID-19 to go away, you may be waiting for quite a while. Even a short delay in getting the help you need could be a significant setback for you and your partner, especially if you are new to therapy or just now diving into your treatment plan. By addressing your sexual or relationship problem now, you can prevent it from getting any worse and start enjoying a stronger, closer relationship as soon as possible.

I’m concerned that other people in my household might overhear our therapy sessions.

If you have kids, you might worry that they’ll barge in unannounced. You might also have concerns about a partner or other housemate overhearing our introductory one-to-one session, but there are many things you can do to ensure our privacy. If you have younger children, you can sit them down with a movie and snacks in another room. For older kids, you can lock your door and instruct them not to disturb you except in an emergency. You can also use a headset or put on music/white noise to make our conversations even more difficult to overhear.

Is online therapy covered by insurance?

couple at carnivalLegally, online therapy is considered equal to in-office services. In 2015, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law requiring insurance companies to cover online health care services to the same extent they cover those delivered in-person. You should know that the level of reimbursement will vary based on your provider and plan, and my services may be considered out-of-network. However, your session may be reimbursable if you provide your insurance company with a proper receipt and the right codes. I will provide both and would be happy to walk you through the process of submitting your claim if you need help.

Improve Your Relationship And Your Sex Life From The Privacy Of Home

I offer online couples therapy and sex therapy for straight, cisgender, and LGBT+ couples struggling with intimacy issues, desire discrepancy, infidelity, erectile dysfunction, and other relationship challenges. I invite you and your partner to join me for a free phone consultation to find out whether we might work well together. Contact me to schedule our first conversation.