Can Anyone Be A Sex Therapist? / by Dr. Natalia P Zhikhareva

What exactly is sex therapy and what do sex therapists do?  A common question indeed.  Contrary to what some believe, there’s nothing strange or kinky going on behind the walls of a sex therapist’s office.

Sex therapy helps couples talk about sex with each other.  A sex therapist feels comfortable talking about sex and nothing is off-limits or taboo.  Sadly in most states, just about anybody can claim to be a sex therapist and operate without a license.  It is incredibly important to understand what sex therapist is and how to obtain one.


A sex therapist can be a psychologist, mental health therapist, a marriage and family therapist, or a clinical social worker that have obtained additional specialized training in sex therapy.  Sex therapists are specifically trained in sex therapy methods beyond the graduate work required for licenses. 

Seeing a sex therapist is like going to a gynecologist for gynecological problems rather than to a family practice physician.  Both have specialized particularly in that area.

Most sex therapists have awareness of sexuality that rises above personal opinion or personal experiences.  Sex therapy views sexual issues as being resolved by specifically addressing them.  Sex therapists also tend to have much greater than average knowledge about the physiological processes that are part of human sexuality. 


Sex therapy can help with a wide array of issues related to one’s sexual health.  Common reasons for consulting a sex therapist include:

  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Sexual pain
  • Problems with sexual communication
  • Problems with getting or staying aroused
  • Unusual sexual desires
  • Negative attitude or fear towards sex due to previous trauma
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Sex or pornography addiction
  • Sexual identity issues
  • Sexual orientation issues
  • Gender identity issues
  • Stress and/or anxiety regarding sexual performance
  • Body image and self-esteem issues
  • Conflict with religious beliefs or values and sexuality


Unfortunately, sex therapy is one of the few forms of therapy that allows many counselors to operate without a license in certain states!  Scary I know!  When choosing a sex therapist, don't just fall for someone claiming to be a ‘sex therapist.’ 

A solid sex therapist has undergone additional coursework in the field of sexuality and is certified by The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).  A person claiming to be certified under AASECT should be listed under AASECT directory of certified therapists.  A certified sex therapist can be found using AASECT directory.

Some individuals may have undergone additional rigorous training in sexuality coursework and may currently be working toward AASECT certification.  These individuals should clearly indicate their pre-licensed status.


One thing is certain: under no circumstances should you have to take your clothes off in a sex therapist’s office!  Let me repeat – taking off your clothes is a NO NO! that should never, ever occur – and if you are asked to do so, leave immediately!


American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).

Dare to bare and share what you thought sex therapist was prior to reading this post?