How to Talk about Sex with Clients
by Michele Loewy, MS, LMFT
“Just do it!” It is important to invite the topic since clients may not bring it up. Jessa Zimmerman reminds us, “As therapists, we communicate permission to talk about sex when we introduce the topic and are comfortable with the conversation.” She also reinforces that you do need to be professionally diligent about your scope of practice and limitations, but you can still ask the questions, incorporate this in your therapy, and then refer to a sex therapist as appropriate.
To get started, Ms. Zimmerman suggests to consider asking some of the following questions:
- What were your early messages about sex? What got modeled in your family about sex and intimacy?
- What were your earliest experiences as a sexual person? How has your sexual history progressed over time?
- What have been the significant emotional and sexual relationships in your life? What ended them?
- How do you identify in terms of sexual orientation, biological sex, and gender identity? Has there been a journey toward understanding your identity and what about that is important for me to know?
- Is everything working, sexually, the way you want it to or the way you expect? Do you have any concerns?
- Do you have any medical conditions or medications at the moment? Do you believe these are having any impact on your sexual functioning or satisfaction?
I say, “just do it” and see what happens.
Michele Loewy, MS, LMFT, has a private practice in Bellevue and Lynnwood, WA. She works with children, teens, and adults. She also provides crisis response outreach for school districts and works in an emergency department. You may contact her via her website at www.eastsidemodernfamily.com.
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