Sex therapy is the result of relatively recent scientific attention to human sexual function and dysfunction. Out of the increased knowledge of the physiology and psychology of human sexual behavior has come a new professional appreciation for human sexual response. At a time in our society when sexuality is being more openly discussed, we are beginning to realize how uninformed many people really are about this important personal topic.
The importance of sexual function for individuals varies, of course, but for many it is closely tied in with their total concept of self identity. For these, problems in sexual function may lead to devaluation of self – “When I cannot feel good about my sexuality, how can I feel good about myself?” We are also in a time when marital and family units seem to be quite vulnerable. Concepts of these traditional relationships are being reevaluated, challenged and restructured. Alternatives to marriage are now being more openly tried and are becoming more widely accepted than at any other time in our history. Regardless of the structure of the intimate relationship shared, sexuality serves a valuable function for most couples. It becomes an expression of caring, not only for the partner, but for oneself. It can become a powerful bonding element in a relationship, which, in today’s society, must withstand considerable demands on time, energy and commitment. Dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship and the loss of that shared intimacy, in many instances, may lead to negative feelings and attitudes which are destructive to the relationship. Many marriages end therefore, because of unresolved sexual differences and difficulties.