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A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Sex Therapy

  • Barry McCarthy

Abstract

Sex therapy is a relatively new area of treatment formally established in 1970 with the publication of the Masters and Johnson book, Treating Sexual Inadequacy. Although Albert Ellis (1958) had written extensively in the sexual field, cognitive approaches have only recently received more emphasis. This chapter will examine a cognitive-behavioral approach to sex therapy. The three major components of the cognitive-behavioral approach are: (a) replacement of sexual anxiety with sexual comfort; (b) adopting positive sexual attitudes and learning sexual skills; and (c) a program of individually designed sexual exercises to be done between therapy sessions. The goal of this therapy is to develop a comfortable, functional, and satisfying sexual style. Sex therapists usually work with established couples, but sex therapy can be implemented with individuals who do not have regular sexual partners. This approach to sex therapy is based on the work of Masters and Johnson (1970), Annon (1974), Leiblum & Pervin (1980), LoPiccolo & LoPiccolo (1978), and McCarthy & McCarthy (1984). Sex therapy utilizes a broad range of cognitive-behavioral strategies and techniques tailored to the specific sexual problem.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry McCarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAmerican University, and Washington Psychological CenterUSA

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