Telling people what work I do is always interesting.
I’ve had every reaction imaginable, from people wanting to know every possible detail to others completely changing the subject
Mostly though, people are intrigued.
The truth is, we all have questions about sex. We all want to know if we’re normal. We want to know what other people do. And secretly, we want to know how we can make it better too.
Sex Therapy has been growing in recognition and popularity since Masters and Johnson’s groundbreaking work in the 1950s and 60s. It's a recognised profession with an incredibly high standard of accreditation. That being said, it’s sometimes misrepresented and misunderstood.
So here are the 10 questions that I get asked most often- and a few might surprise you!
Who would see a sex therapist?
Sex therapy is for both individuals and couples.
All kinds of people choose to see sex therapists and for a range of reasons.
People may see a sex therapist to overcome sexual challenges like feeling sexually disconnected, difficulty reaching orgasm, painful sex, mismatched libidos, erectile dysfunction or simply to find out how to make a good relationship even better.
My clients are normal people who want their relationships and sex lives to be the best they can be. Some are married, some have never had a relationship, some are parents. I’ve had clients from the ages of 18 to their late 60s.
Do you do live demonstrations in your sessions?
Definitely not. This isn't Sex in the City. There’s never nudity or sexual practices in our sessions.
We adhere to the same professional standards as regular therapists, psychologists and counsellors - with a strict code of ethics.
Much of what we do in sessions is discuss current challenges and ways to resolve them. I mostly provide information and education. Although, I also give my clients practical tools and skills too. Some non-sexual activities are done in the session, but any sexual or intimate activities are done for homework. I also use puppets, aids and diagrams to help illustrate when I need to.
What’s your most interesting/fascinating/weird case?
I have been asked this question by everyone from my brother to Uber drivers.
But actually, my work is more straightforward than people expect.
I work with couples who are feeling disconnected from each other, who want to laugh more and argue less. I help them navigate difficulties that arise when one partner has a higher libido than another or when one partner just doesn’t feel like sex anymore. I help women learn to orgasm for the first time. I help men deal with erection difficulties and I help men learn to ‘last longer’.
Yes, occasionally, I work with someone who is turned on by something that we would call a fetish, but really what I’ve learned in 7 years of working with people around sexuality is that there’s a really broad range of ‘normal’.
What on earth made you decide to become a sex therapist?
I never thought I would end up a sex therapist. It’s not one of the options that careers counsellors tell you about at school.
It began for me with discovering Tantra, a kind of yoga with great benefits to your sex life.
Tantra completely changed my life. It helped me feel more confident, embodied and sexually free. It also helped me attract happier relationships. It made such a difference to my life that I had to share it.
Although Tantra is an incredible foundation, I also wanted to know more about how I could help people have more satisfying sex. I ended up studying sex for almost 10 years at 3 exclusive universities becoming a Sexologist, Couples Therapist and a Sex Therapist.
Does the G-Spot really exist?
Although, it’s not really a ‘spot’ as such.
The G-spot is a sensitive area inside the vagina which is a system of glands and ducts that surround the female urethra. This ‘spot’ can be found on the front top wall of the vagina for women. Stimulation of this area can be particularly pleasurable for some women, but may also cause some discomfort when stimulated for the first time.
Are cervical orgasms actually ‘a thing’?
A number of nerves reach the pelvis, allowing different ‘kinds’ of orgasm when each area is stimulated.
Stimulation of the clitoris activates the pudendal nerve. Stimulation of the vagina activates the pelvic nerve. Stimulation of the cervix stimulates the vagus nerve which can also lead to orgasm.
Research shows that women can reach orgasm through stimulation of various erogenous zones including lips and nipples, and also through imagination alone.
Can all women orgasm through intercourse?
No. Many women find that they don’t orgasm through penetration sex.
There can be a number of reasons for this including inadequate foreplay, the clitoris not being adequately stimulated, fear of ‘letting go’ with a partner and more. Often what is needed to support a woman to reach orgasm is more time spent in foreplay and also direct stimulation on the clitoris.
Sex therapy can help some women learn to orgasm in partnered sex.
Are potential lovers intimidated by you?
I always feel surprised by this question. Mostly because I see myself as one of the least intimidating people you could meet. Yes, I talk about sex for a living and yes - I’m definitely well-educated and experienced - but I still see myself as a shy country girl at heart.
Like anyone, I still have fears and insecurities about sex and relationships too.
Do you think open relationships can actually work?
People make relationships work in all kinds of ways. Increasingly, I see people opt for alternatives to monogamy.
My job isn’t to tell people the kind of relationship they should be having, but to provide tools and information on how to help them make their relationship the best it can be.
I’ve seen people in non-monogamous relationships be happy and I’ve seen people in monogamous relationships struggle.
Every relationship takes work. Self-awareness and open communication are the keys to making any relationship work.
What has been your ‘favourite’ story?
Honestly, I couldn’t choose one.
Every day I am humbled and awed by the courage my clients show. Every day I see couples turn the corner to a better relationship.
Time after time, I’ve seen couples on the brink of separation move forwards to rekindle loving relationships. That’s the favourite part of my job. Knowing I could help when my clients needed it the most.
Isiah McKimmie is a Couples Therapist, Sexologist and Sex Therapist who has been helping women and couples discover deeper intimacy and lasting desire for a decade. She offers online courses and online therapy sessions worldwide via Skype. Find out more and download free resources at www.isiah-mckimmie.com