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Movies and media have created unrealistic expectations surrounding sex. In reality, sex doesn’t go smoothly all the time, and there are many reasons to seek the help of a psychotherapist who specializes in sex therapy.

You may have difficulty experiencing orgasms, worry about how often you and your partner engage in sexual activities, or feel insecure about your performance during sex.

If you have fears or frustrations about sex, it may be helpful to look into sex therapy or telehealth options, like online sex therapy.

Here are the best online sex therapy programs you can access from the comfort of your own bedroom.

Sex therapy is a type of talk therapy that addresses concerns related to sexual function, satisfaction, and intimacy in individual or couples counseling. It’s a specialized type of psychotherapy. Sex therapy can be effective for people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations.

Not all therapists undergo sex therapy training. Sex therapists are specialists who have expertise in sexual health. Some are certified sex therapists by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).

Like other forms of psychotherapy, sex therapy involves sharing your feelings about your sexual life.

Talking about your sexual experiences and worries with a sex therapist can help treat conditions like sexual dysfunction, which affects approximately 45.7 percent of women and 33.4 percent of men to some degree in their lifetime, according to research from 2020.

Online sex therapy is a type of telehealth service that can be accessed from home. Telehealth is more accessible and often more affordable than traditional in-person therapy, so online sex therapy is an option for people who have limited access to or prefer it to face-to-face sessions.

What is a sex therapist?

A sex therapist is a qualified professional (for instance, a doctor, therapist, counselor, or clinical social worker, among others) that has expert-level knowledge in sex therapy and mental health.

A sex therapist can help with various sexual-related problems, such as:

To select the best online sex therapy programs, we considered various factors, like:

  • an affordable price or insurance eligibility
  • a commitment to privacy
  • good customer reviews
  • useful communication methods
  • accessibility

We recommend only products from companies we stand behind as being credible and ethical. You can learn more about our vetting process here.

We chose services that offer online therapy by licensed therapists. However, not all therapists may be trained to offer assistance with sexual health — we recommend making sure that your assigned mental health professional is equipped with the proper skills by asking them about their experience, certifications, and affiliations.

ServicePriceIndividual or coupleChat and text available?Audio available?Video available?Can you choose a therapist?
Talkspace$69–$109 per weekbothyesyes (voice messages)yesyes
ReGain$60–$90 per weekbothyesyesyesno
BetterHelp$60–$90 per weekindividualyesyesyesno
Pride Counseling$60–$90 per weekindividualyesyesyesno
Couples Therapy Inc.from $3,500bothnoyesyesyes
Couples Learn$175–$450 per sessionbothnonoyesyes

Occasional sexual dysfunction or anxiety around sex can be a normal part of life. However, if you find that you’re unable to have a fulfilling sex life or your sexual problems are especially distressing or interfering with your relationships, it may be time to consider seeing a sex therapist.

You may also benefit from a sex therapist if you’re experiencing roadblocks to getting intimate with your partner.

Seeing a sex therapist does not just mean you have to be experiencing issues with your partners, though. If you generally have anxiety surrounding sexual performance, you may benefit from talking with a sex therapist.

  • Qualifications. Make sure the professional you’re paired with is certified in sex therapy (look for AASECT certification) or at least has further training in human sexuality than a general therapist.
  • Weigh your options. It’s OK to shop around! You can totally try out a few therapists before you find one that’s the perfect fit for you and any partners.
  • Insurance or cost. Most therapy apps do not take insurance, but if that’s something that’s important to you, do a little research to find out if they accept yours. If they don’t, consider the out-of-pocket cost that’s right for your budget.
  • What they cover. A good sex therapist addresses sexual issues, but a great one takes into account physiological experiences, too. They may also explore how your mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational health impacts your symptoms.
  • Specialties. Make sure to seek out therapists that specialize in attributes applicable to your sex life: LGBTQIA+ relationships, BDSM, polyamory, etc.

Remember that no one should require you to take your clothes off or perform sexual acts during sex therapy. Sex surrogacy is used to help people that have issues with sexual function via demonstration, touching, and engaging in sex acts. But it’s not the same as sex therapy.

If you’d prefer in-person appointments, there are likely therapists that specialize in sex in your area.

Start with an online database of sex therapists or ask a healthcare professional for a referral. You may also be able to search your insurance’s website to find one that accepts your insurance.

In-person or online, be sure to keep the above points in mind when finding a therapist that’s right for you.

Since sex therapy is a type of talk therapy, you can expect to do a lot of talking during your session. A lot of talk therapy revolves around the goal of shifting your thinking toward a particular thing, and in this case, that’s sex.

A licensed mental health counselor who’s trained in sex therapy will start by getting to know you and your sexual problems. This involves back-and-forth conversations. He or she may ask you questions, and you may have questions for him or her.

It can be difficult to open up about something you may consider private, but your sex therapist will never judge you for how you’re feeling. Through conversation, he or she will learn more about your experiences and challenges and may share some advice to help you reframe your way of thinking about sex.

Conversations during sex therapy may involve talking about your feelings toward sex and intimacy in general or focus on a specific memory or experience. You may discuss a repeated experience you find challenging, such as performance anxiety or difficulty having an orgasm.

Talking through these issues with a sex therapist can help remove the stigma, guilt, and shame you may feel around these challenges.

A sex therapist will never ask you to remove your clothes or engage in sexual behaviors with them, yourself, or your partner. Performing sexual acts during your appointment is never part of sex therapy.

But your sex therapist might give you prompts to explore later on and discuss during a future visit. He or she may give you ideas on how to think or act during sex to relieve some of the negative feelings you have.

Is sex therapy right for me?

If you experience sexual challenges or sexual dysfunction or if you have frustrations related to sex, you may benefit from sex therapy. There are many reasons to see a sex therapist.

For individuals, sex therapy can be helpful if you’re questioning your sexual orientation, experiencing low libido, or processing sexual trauma.

For couples, sex therapy can be helpful if you have mismatched desires or fetishes, difficulties communicating, or interest in opening up your relationship.

Online sex therapy may be right for you if you’re comfortable with online communication, and if you’re more comfortable doing therapy from your own home.

Online therapy also gives you more options compared with limited local options. Depending on your needs and expectations, telehealth services may be a better option.

How is online sex therapy structured?

Online sex therapy is structured using telehealth. Since online sex therapy can be for individuals or couples, you may attend with a partner.

Using a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you’ll connect to a secure video chat, where you can privately and comfortably speak with your therapist. This requires an internet connection.

Sexual acts don’t occur during online sex therapy. You, your partner, and your therapist do not engage in sexual intercourse or romance. You won’t be asked to disrobe, nor will your therapist disrobe in front of you.

Your therapist may assign homework for you or for you and your partner to do on your own time and speak about during later sessions.

What does online sex therapy usually cost?

The cost of online sex therapy can range. It can cost as low as $55 to more than $195 per session. This depends on the telehealth service you use, if you have health insurance, the therapist, and a number of other factors, like where you live.

Couples counseling tends to cost more than individual counseling. Sex therapy is typically more expensive than traditional therapy, since it’s a more specialized therapy service. However, online sex therapy is usually more affordable than traditional in-person therapy.

Is online sex therapy secure?

It depends on the service. You can check with your provider to see if any security measures are in place to keep your sessions private.

Do I have to attend with a partner?

No. It’s common to attend sex therapy with a partner for concerns that affect both parties in a relationship, but you may also attend solo for issues that affect only you.

Is it the same as marriage counseling or couples therapy?

Yes and no. Marriage counseling or couples therapy may cover sex and intimacy, but sex therapy focuses specifically on sex and doesn’t require you to be married or in a relationship.

Sex therapy is a specialized service and can be a form of couples counseling, but marriage and couples counseling is not sex therapy

Is sex therapy covered by insurance?

Because sex therapy is designed around evidence-based techniques that have been proven effective, some insurance companies will cover the service.

If you receive a diagnosis based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (such as ED or female orgasmic disorder) that has a diagnosis code, insurance will most likely cover the treatment.

Whether it’s covered will also depend on which service provider you use; some companies don’t take insurance directly.

If you want to use your health insurance for sex therapy, check with the therapy service to see if you’re covered and which insurance companies are in network.

A healthy sex life can be a fulfilling and natural part of life. For many, having a sexual connection with their partner has emotional and physical benefits. However, fears and frustrations surrounding sex can lead to sexual dysfunction.

Online sex therapy is one way to talk through your feelings and experiences related to sex and worked toward increased sexual satisfaction. Seeing a sex therapist can help individuals and couples achieve healthier sex lives.

Lacey Bourassa is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, Pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting her website or her blog.