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Sex Therapy Terms

The following sex therapy terms are defined here to help individuals better understand the behaviors and symptoms of themselves or their loved ones.

Anorgasmia – difficulty having an orgasm even with enough sexual stimulation – possibly becoming a source for personal distress.

CST  - Certified Sex Therapist – mental health professionals who have participated in specialized training and completed other rigors of certification outlined by the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) for the treatment of sexual issues and concerns.

Decreased Libido – lack or decrease in sex drive, experienced both in men and in women.

Delayed Ejaculation – a condition in men marked by difficulty to release of semen from the penis – physical or mental factors may be the cause.

Differentiation – in couples sex therapy, refers to each partner taking a stance of clearly stating emotional and sexual needs, without fear that the partner may not be able to provide those needs.

Dyspareunia – disorder in which women experience pain during intercourse – may be caused by insufficient lubrication and/or physical issues.

Erectile Dysfunction – also known as impotence, occurs when a man cannot achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.

Gynecologist – a physician who specializes in evaluating and treating problems with the female reproductive organs.

Impotence – also known as erectile dysfunction, occurs when a man can no longer achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.

Leftover Sex – the sex acts between two partners that are left to try after each partner refuses what they are unwilling to try even though his or her partner would like it – example oral or anal sex being intolerable by one partner, so what’s left only may be missionary position sex.

Performance Anxiety – worries about satisfying one’s partner sexually  – can be a major distraction that makes sex even more difficult.

Peyronie’s Disease – a condition in men marked by curved and painful erections caused by the development of scar tissue inside the penis, may make erections difficult to obtain or maintain.

Premature Ejaculation – also known as rapid ejaculation, occurs when a man reaches sexual climax and ejaculates during sex sooner than he or his partner would like – causes may be either mental or physical.

Rapid Ejaculation – also known as premature ejaculation, occurs when a man reaches sexual climax and ejaculates during sex sooner than he or his partner would like – causes may be either mental or physical.

Sex Therapy – a type of psychotherapy (with individuals or couples) to resolve issues with sexual function, sexual experience, sexual feelings, and intimacy.

Sexual dysfunction – difficulty with desire, arousal, orgasm, or resolution of sexual acts which prevents enjoyment of sexual activity.

STI – Sexually Transmitted Infections (formerly referred to as STD’s) – infections that are primarily spread through person-to-person sexual contact, or are transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, or through blood/tissue transfers.

Surrogate Partner – a specially trained professional who works with clients struggling with issues of intimacy and sexuality – surrogate therapy may include relaxation techniques, communication and social skill exercises, and sensual or sexual touching.  Surrogate partners work as part of a three-person therapeutic team which also includes the client and a sex therapist.

Urologist – a medical doctor who specializes in evaluating the genitourinary tract, including the kidneys, urinary bladder, penis, prostate, and testicles.

Vaginismus – involuntary spasm of the muscles of the vaginal wall, which interferes with intercourse.

Vulvodynia – chronic pain around the opening of the vagina without any obvious cause.



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