Sex, Sexuality & Gender Counselling

Relationships, behaviours & identity

Therapy offers a safe, confidential, non-judgmental space to talk about any troubling aspect of sex, sexuality or gender identity.

Sex forms a focal point of many powerful internal and external forces in human life. Indeed the grandfather of psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud, saw the sexual drive or libido as central to both wellbeing and psychological disturbance. So while a fulfilling sex life can contribute to overall wellbeing, a compromised sex life can contribute to depression, anxiety, relationship problems or other psychological distress.

Now humans are complex, and the process of fantasy, attraction, love, desire, arousal and fulfillment are rather individual and particular. Similarly motivations for sex are many an varied including emotional closeness, reassurance, self-esteem enhancement, stress reduction, partner manipulation, protection from partner's negative affect and behavior, power exertion, physical pleasure, nurturing one's partner, and procreation. So it is all rather a jigsaw, depended on many personal and interpersonal factors. Certainly the capacity to communicate, explore, trust, play, be creative, have a sense of humour and negotiate constructively are all useful.

So while we can surf the web and get any amount of information on virtually any aspect of sexuality, the topics of sex and intimacy continue to be difficult for many to talk about or resolve by themselves. Sexual issues may well be intertwined with emotional, psychological, relational, cultural or even medical issues. For this reason, your therapist is likely to take a holistic approach, viewing any particular issue as just one aspect of your overall wellbeing.

The wide range of  sexual issues can be broadly categorised in to three areas: sexual difficulties, porn use & problematic behaviors, sexuality & gender identity.

Please note : If these issues are related to past sexual trauma they may be eligible for an ACC sensitive claim.

Sexuality, gender & kinks

While attitudes to sexuality and gender identity have changed considerably over the past few decades, exploring these areas can still be a confusing process. These issues can be especially difficult for those who discover their sexuality or gender identity later in life, when they are in a relationship or have been brought up with particular family, religious or cultural beliefs.

Any of our therapists will accept you just as you are: straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, takatapui, fa'afafine, male, female, non-binary, gender-fluid, intersex, transgender, transsexual or curious. Therapy provides a safe space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings (kinks and all) and support you on your journey.

Sexual difficulties

Sex, sexuality & gender @ Auckland Therapy At some point in life, most people experience some sexual issues. Sometimes these will persist and become distressing. Sometimes these are best resolved in individual therapy, sometimes as a couple, sometimes as a combination of these. It is not uncommon for couples to come in together for a few sessions then one or both partners decide to do some individual work (or vice versa). More common issues include:

  • Lack of experience, confidence or unanswered questions
  • Unsatisfying sex lives
  • Self esteem or body image inhibitors
  • Erectile difficulties or loss of sexual desire
  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Different sex drives or compatibility issues
  • Changes after birth of children
  • Affairs and infidelity
  • Fear of intimacy, commitment or performance anxiety
  • Low-sex or no-sex relationships

Porn & problematic behaviours

The internet and mobile phone apps have created wide availability and diversity of pornography and sexual opportunities providing an environment where pornography and problematic sexual behaviours are an increasing concern for many men and women of all ages, both in and out of relationships. Also, the degree of moral panic portrayed in the media is not particularly helpful.

Indeed the technological changes may be viewed as a new sexual revolution, similar to the sexual revelation of the 1960s. Like all revolutions this is creating considerable social upheaval, both in the older generation, particularly in established relationships, and in the millennial generation of digital natives. In this time of change, many people are finding themselves in confusion and distress with few road signs to guide them. Indeed, many therapists are still catching up. That said here are some general guidelines of where to seek help:

Find a Therapist

All our therapists have a general appreciation of sex, sexuality and gender concerns and a general understanding of sex & intimacy difficulties. They also appreciate how these issues may intertwine with depression, anxiety, relationship issues and other psychological distress. While few therapists will ask directly about your sex life, you are most welcome to bring up any topics of concern without fear of embarrassment. See any of our Auckland Therapists..

Some of our team have more specific training or experience in sexual issues. So, if a sexual issues is central to your concerns you may wish to consider seeing one of the team from our Sex, Sexuality & Gender services.

For parents concerned about their teens see our Child, adolescent & family team.