Do I Have to Talk About Sex in Couples Therapy?


Many couples come to couples therapy to talk about a problem in their relationship.  Sometimes what brings them is a sexual issue but often that is not their main issue.  One common question that people often have is, will you have to talk about sex?  You may be asked about it initially because it is a part of the larger picture of your relationship and the therapist may want to know what is going on with the two of you in a number of different areas, including sexual activity.  In most cases with most therapists, you will be the ones to set up what is talked about in your therapy. This means that you will address what is important for you to talk about is what will most often take “center stage.”  Therefore, if you don’t want to talk about sex or don’t see a problem in that area, you will not be talking about it in couples therapy.


However, if you or your partner wants to talk about a sexual issue, then it will be something that comes up and will most likely need to be addressed in the work, just as any other issue you or your partner brings up.  If the therapist feels that you need to talk about it and you don’t, you don’t have to talk about it—it is your time, you are paying for the sessions, and you don’t have to talk about anything you are not comfortable talking about.  If your partner wants to talk about it and you don’t, then it becomes an issue of what the couple needs to talk about, not just what you (or your spouse) wants to talk about.  So if your partner wants to talk about sex and you don’t, it will come up in the work, and both sides of the issue will have to be addressed to help the couple with it.  If the therapist wants to talk about the sexual relationship and neither of you want to do so, it is possible that it would be important for the therapy to spend some time on the sexual aspects of the relationship.  But if it is not making sense to either of the couple that you are spending time talking on sex in the sessions and that is not what you want, it would be good to say that to the therapist.  If the therapist is spending time on things that are not important to the couple, tell the therapist that she/he is off track.  As well, people don’t come back to therapy when it does not stay mostly focused on what they came for.

In summary, don’t be worry or be too overly concerned about having to talk about sex (or any other topic) when you go to couples therapy if both of you don’t want to talk about it.  And do make sure to talk about and work on the topics you do want to talk about.

About Robert Kraft Ph.D.

Robert G. Kraft, Ph.D., is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and has practiced in Nebraska ever since. As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy. He served on the Executive Committee of The Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis for five years, consulted with Richard Young Memorial Hospital for over 11 years and worked as a psychologist for over a dozen years before branching out into consulting and starting private practice. Outside of his work as a therapist in Omaha, he built a website about Vintage Martin guitars and developed software that helps mental health professionals with billing.