What is sex therapy, and what happens in a sex therapy session? -- Bill, 34, Ft. Lauderdale

Sex therapy is the treatment of any kind of problem related to sex by a person who specializes in these issues. Problems suitable for sex therapy range from erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low sexual desire, sex addiction, painful sex, lack of sexual confidence, unwanted sexual fetishes, and many more issues.

Sex therapy involves talking about concerns so that individuals or couples better understand what’s going on and find ways to deal with it. Many couple’s sex problems are really communication problems—and sex therapy can open up that communication and allow feelings to be expressed in a neutral and safe space. Just being able to talk candidly with a partner can lead to resolution of misunderstandings and insight into patterns of behavior that are “stuck” or dysfunctional.

A common sex therapy technique is called “sensate focusing,” which is a set of exercises for couples or individuals that increase awareness of sexual needs, preferences, and body responses. The goal of sensate focusing is to shift attention away from the genitals, at least temporarily, so that other sensual possibilities can be explored and so that a couple can gain greater appreciation for the full range of pleasure that is possible with sex. You can learn more at the website of the American Association of Sexuality Educators counselors and Therapists.

Dr. Harry Fisch is a board certified urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He’s here to answer reader questions in an effort to get guys to “man up about health.”