Sex Therapy for Couples

  • Ruth E. Clifford
  • Robert C. Kolodny


Therapy for sexual dysfunctions or dissatisfactions has existed at least since the advent of psychoanalysis. Traditionally, lengthy treatment and broad-based personality change were seen as prerequisites for reversal of these symptoms. More recently, in the 1950s and 1960s, briefer treatments that specifically addressed the target sexual complaints developed. Behavior therapy (see Annon, 1974; Wolpe, 1958), cognitive therapy, (e.g., Ellis, 1968) and family therapy (e.g., Sager, 1976) all made strides in this area, working sometimes with individuals and sometimes with couples, or indeed larger family units. Masters and Johnson’s publication in 1970 of Human Sexual Inadequacy sparked much wider acceptance of the value of dealing with both partners when sexual dysfunction or dissatisfaction is the complaint. This chapter gives an overview of the current status of therapy for couples1 with sexual problems, emphasizing the Masters and Johnson approach but also discussing contributions of other leading sex therapists as these vary from, and often deliberately modify, the Masters and Johnson model.


Sexual Dysfunction Sexual Desire Sexual Problem Sexual Response Premature Ejaculation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth E. Clifford
    • 1
  • Robert C. Kolodny
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Masters and Johnson InstituteSt. LouisUSA

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