Best Online Sex Therapy Programs

These companies provide online counseling with a certified sex therapist

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Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that focuses on your sexuality and the way that it influences your relationships and mental health. People usually seek out this type of therapy to discuss issues related to gender identity, sexual expression, intimate relationships, body image, romantic and erotic relationships, kinks and fetishes, and sexual disorders. Sessions can be attended alone or with a partner and they can take place in person or online. Sex therapy never involves nudity or physical contact with the sex therapist; however, they will suggest hands-on activities that you can complete at home, either alone or with a trusted partner.  

Because the term "sex therapy" is not a protected term in most states (that is, a term that can legally only be applied to a certain type of therapy or practice), anyone can say they offer sex therapy—but that doesn't mean they have the additional training in providing informed, sex-positive, and sex-affirming counseling that this specialty requires. So if you're looking for a sex therapist in person or online, it's important to consider a few things: their training (look for a postgraduate sex therapy certificate or an AASECT Certification) and whether they are members in good standing with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. A qualified sex therapist doesn't need to have both of these things—but they should have at least one. Here are some sex therapy resources we recommend that have at least one of these credentials (if not more).

Best Online Sex Therapy Programs of 2022

Best Overall : Modern Intimacy


Key Specs

Cost: $150-300 per session 
Platforms: Laptop, phone, or tablet
Free Consultation: Yes; 30-minute free consultation which you can self-schedule through their website

Why We Chose It

Modern Intimacy is a highly regarded practice within the sex therapy community with a team of clinicians committed to providing the highest level of competent sex therapy services. It operates in several high-population states around the country and offers a variety of sexual health courses to anyone seeking information and resources on specific sexual health topics. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Culturally diverse team of clinicians

  • All therapists are certified or under supervision while training

  • Serves clients across a wide variety of gender, sexuality, and relationship differences

  • Offers psychological assessments and evaluations

Cons
  • Therapy services are only available in six states

  • Doesn't accept insurance

Overview

Founded by a licensed psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist Dr. Kate Balestrieri, Modern Intimacy is a judgment-free and sex-positive space for clients to learn, heal, and grow without stigma or shame.

Its staff of culturally diverse, highly-trained clinicians is well versed in working with secular and religious clients, monogamous and polyamorous clients, folks exploring their gender identities, and people in non-traditional relationship models, such as BDSM/kink.

Nearly every therapist on staff is either a Certified Sex Therapist or actively pursuing certification and all are familiar with and trained in working across the sexual health spectrum. Issues they cover include sexual dysfunctions, infidelity, love, sex, porn addictions, alternative lifestyles, LGBTQI+ affirming therapy, trauma, and body image. Some of the clinicians also offer somatic therapies such as Trauma Yoga, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), and NeuroEffective Touch.

Sessions are available both in-person and via a HIPAA-secure telehealth platform to clients in New York, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, and California. People interested in working with a Modern Intimacy clinician can self-schedule a free, 30-minute consultation through the practice website. The cost for a sex therapy session ranges from $150 to $300 per session, with sliding scale pricing also available. However, Modern Intimacy does not accept insurance.

Modern Intimacy also offers a wide variety of psycho-educational classes and webinars focused on topics such as toxic relationships, pornography use, body image, and more. 

Best for Couples : Lasting


Key Specs

Cost: $59.95 per month
Platforms: Online platform accessible via proprietary app for laptop, tablet, or phone
Free Consultation: No

Why We Chose It

While Lasting cannot replace a Certified Sex Therapist, it is a unique app-based therapy program aimed at couples who may struggle to make time for traditional couples or sex therapy. It helps them work through their mild to moderate relationship challenges in a structured, yet self-directed way, improving their communication, mindset, and conflict around sex and intimacy.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • More affordable than traditional couples or sex therapy

  • Utilizes attachment theory and emotionally-focused therapy for its program

  • Allows partners to participate in therapy asynchronously

Cons
  • Not tailored to unique user needs

  • You will not be working with a live clinician

  • Some concern about user data privacy

Overview

Lasting is an app-based mental health service that is now affiliated with Talkspace, one of the largest providers of online and app-based mental health services. It offers couples an asynchronous app-based model of care that is accessible without limitation within your subscription and is available to users in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.

While you will not work with a live therapist if you subscribe to Lasting, you will collaborate with your partner to learn communications and conflict resolution skills, as well as other relationship-related tools thanks. This is accomplished through the app's therapy program, which utilizes attachment theory and emotionally-focused therapy.

However, because you do not interact directly with a therapist, it is best suited for couples experiencing challenges with anxiety, depression, body image, postpartum concerns, mismatched libido, arousal issues, conflict resolution, and communication around intimacy. More complicated sexual health needs might require a higher level of intervention than Lasting’s model can offer.  

A subscription to Lasting is $59.95 per month; however, the company does run specials occasionally offering a discounted rate to get started or a seven-day free trial.

Best for Live Chat : Talkspace


Get $150 off your first month using promo code VERYWELL150.

Key Specs

Cost: $260-$400+ per month
Platforms: App, laptop, tablet, phone
Free Consultation: No

Why We Chose It

While chat-based therapy is not for everyone, it might appeal to users who are too busy for traditional therapy or feel uncomfortable talking about sex or intimacy in live calls. Of all providers offering chat-based therapy today, Talkspace is the best option because of its accessibility and ease of use.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Accepts some insurance

  • Affordably priced monthly subscription without insurance

  • Asynchronous text and audio messaging may feel more comfortable for some users

Cons
  • Experience may feel less personal due to the limitations of text format

  • Some users may have concerns about data privacy

Overview

Founded in 2012, Talkspace was the first service to offer unlimited messaging therapy on a large scale with a variety of therapists available in all 50 states. Its breadth still makes it still stand out.

Offering therapy via text, email, live chat, or video call through its website or app, Talkspace's therapists come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are licensed psychologists, and others are clinical social workers or marriage and family therapists. 

To sign up, you'll first choose from one of its available plans, which range in price from $260 (for text-only) to over $400 a month (and include live video calls). Then you'll fill out a short intake questionnaire about what you're looking for from therapy, which will help the algorithm match you with a selection of therapists from which you can choose a practitioner.

Because there is no guarantee that you’ll be matched with a Certified Sex Therapist (though of course, you can keep going through their selections until you find someone), Talkspace is best suited for issues such as anxiety, depression, postpartum concerns, body image, trauma, desire discrepancy, intimate communication skills, and low libido. People experiencing significant sexual dysfunction, physiological issues such as erectile dysfunction or vaginismus, or seeking kink- or poly-affirming care might not find Talkspace to be the best resource for their needs.

Best for LGBTQIA+ Couples : Queering Therapy


Key Specs

Cost: Varies by the therapist
Platforms: In-person, laptop, phone, or tablet
Free Consultation: Yes

Why We Chose It

Though this boutique therapy practice only serves California, Queering Therapy leads the field in providing competent, qualified, affirming sex therapy to the LGBTQ+ community without stigma or shame.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Gender diverse and nonbinary clinicians on staff

  • Kink and polyam affirming

  • Family therapy available

Cons
  • Limited to clients based in California

  • Small practice, may have limited availability

Overview

Founded by Beverly Ellis, a board-certified sexologist and Certified Sex Therapist, Queering Therapy is a small boutique therapy practice based in San Francisco that serves the entire state of California via telehealth appointments. While this practice does only serve one state, (unlike other options on this list), the practice is one of the most highly regarded in the country, representing the gold standard for GSRD (gender, sexuality, and relationship diversities) communities.

There are only four therapists currently on staff, but all approach their work from a sex-positive, kink-affirming, anti-racist, anti-colonialist, fat-accepting perspective. They specialize in mental health care related to sexual and gender identity, including sexual dysfunction, low libido, desire discrepancies, infidelity, alternative lifestyles, LGBTQI+ affirming therapy, trauma, body image, and guilt/shame.

Treatment is available for LGBTQIA+ individuals, as well as couples and partners in polyamorous, kinky, or otherwise non-traditional relationships. The practice is a private pay fee for service, though it does offer sliding scale pricing. However, it does not take insurance, and prices vary by provider. All therapists do provide a free consultation.

Best for Polyamorous Relationships : Golden Vibes Counseling Center


Key Specs

Cost: Varies by provider
Platforms: HIPAA-Secure Telehealth or In-Office
Free Consultation: Yes

Why We Chose It

Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Golden Vibes and its panel of over a dozen sex-positive, LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC-affirming mental health providers is another regional sex therapy provider that is a leader in the field. Offering telehealth sessions to clients throughout Wisconsin, Golden Vibes is a model of what polyam-affirming mental health care should be.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large team of clinicians working with clients to promote lifespan sexual health

  • Offers a variety of therapeutic modalities including art therapy, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Brainspotting, and Somatic Experiencing

  • Diverse panel of therapists offers clients choice and flexibility in selecting a provider

Cons
  • Currently limited to clients based in Wisconsin

Overview

Serving clients throughout the state of Wisconsin, Golden Vibes is beneficial for anyone choosing an alternative relationship structure, who identifies as BIPOC or LGBTQIA+, or who is gender questioning or seeking gender-affirming care. Many of Golden Vibe’s clinicians are available to work with adolescents and children. Golden Vibes offers a breadth of specialized therapy treatments to support and affirm clients of all ages and all identities, including polyamorous partnerships and their families, Its blend of creative modalities and inclusive care sets the standard for what an inclusive and affirming sex therapy practice can look like. 

Potential clients accessing the elegant and comprehensive website will find answers to all of their questions, provider profiles, and information about accepted insurances.

Offering therapy services both in-office and via their HIPAA-secure telehealth platform in both English and Spanish, Golden Vibes therapists are equipped to help their clients navigate sexual dysfunction, infidelity, low libido, and desire discrepancies, Alternative lifestyles, LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy, trauma, body image, and gender identity exploration can also be addressed. Fees vary by provider and insurance; however, the practice does offer a sliding scale, and brief free consultations are available.

Best for Culturally Inclusive Therapy : Council for Relationships


Key Specs

Cost: $50-200
Platforms: Telehealth therapy is available via HIPAA-secure platform accessible by laptop, tablet, or phone
Free Consultation: No

Why We Chose It

A nonprofit mental health provider offering sex and relationship therapy to culturally diverse individuals and couples, the Council has clinicians working across 45 treatment areas as well as psychiatric services. In addition to their work with clients, Council for Relationships also has a strong professional development arm, where it trains the next generation of sex therapists.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Nonprofit committed to offering accessible sex therapy services

  • Diverse clinical team who are leaders in the field of sex therapy

  • Psychiatric services available in-house, a rarity for many mental health practices

Cons
  • Limited to clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

  • Sliding scale rate may require client to work with a clinical intern

Overview

Founded almost a century ago, Council for Relationships has a long-established track record of high quality and effective mental health care. Praised by William Masters & Virginia Johnson (founding leaders in the fields of sex therapy and sexology), Council for Relationships is a leading voice in the field of Culturally Inclusive Sex Therapy.

Because they are not only mental health providers but also clinical educators, Council for Relationships has an exceptionally high level of skill represented among its clinicians, and many serve not only as direct-care therapists but also as sexuality educators and sex therapy instructors.

This deep knowledge makes Council for Relationships therapists ideally suited to working with complex sexual and relational health concerns. Clients who identify as BIPOC, who are in multiracial relationships, or who want to work with someone well-versed in issues related to sexuality and culture would be well-suited to working with the team at Council for Relationships. Visitors can learn about the history of the organization, browse provider profiles and learn more about the clinical and educational offerings available at Council for Relationships on its comprehensive website.

As with many sex therapy practices, Council for Relationships does not accept insurance; however, they offer sessions with their team of clinical interns that begin at $15. Sessions with a fully licensed provider range from $50–200 per session. Therapy is available in-person or via a HIPAA-secure telehealth platform and the Council is currently accepting clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Most Affordable : ThriveWorks


Key Specs

Cost: $39 per month + $0-$99 copay per session
Platforms: In-office or HIPAA-secure telehealth platform
Free Consultation: No

Why We Chose It

ThriveWorks is a large-scale group practice that has managed to harness the best aspects of companies such as Talkspace while retaining all the perks of working with a local, in-office provider. Because it has locations around the country and a variety of providers working within each location, clients can be confident that they will not experience a disruption in care should they need to move or travel. Its affordable subscription-based model also makes ThriveWorks a solid option for folks looking for accessible therapy.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Office locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia means that almost everyone can find a therapist

  • Affordable rates for those who may not have insurance coverage

  • Flexibility to move between telehealth and in-office care, depending on need and preference

Cons
  • Not available in Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia

  • Number of available therapists may vary by location

  • Not guaranteed to work with a Certified Sex Therapist

Overview

Founded by a former consultant for the American Counseling Association and columnist for Counseling Today magazine, ThriveWorks is available in 42 states plus Washington, D.C. For $39 per month, subscribers get access to therapeutic support via email and telephone, 24-hour “Ask a Coach” access, online psychoeducational content including the ThriveWorks proprietary “Therapy Buddy” app, and live Success Navigator administrative support.

Clients may choose to use the $39 email + app option only or can opt to schedule live sessions with a therapist for an additional fee. ThriveWorks does not offer a free consultation; however, there is a seven-day trial and a 100% satisfaction guarantee with membership. 

ThriveWorks’s website is clean, transparent, and well-organized. Visitors will have no trouble getting their questions answered or scheduling an initial visit. Individuals looking for flexible, local support for issues such as anxiety, depression, body image, trauma, and sexuality may find what they need at ThriveWorks, which offers counseling for individuals, couples, adolescents, and children.

While it does not specifically describe itself as LGBTQIA+ or kink/polyam affirming, you may certainly request to be paired with a therapist who identifies as such; however, you are not guaranteed to be matched with a Certified Sex Therapist. Once subscribed, users can connect with their therapist via email, or can schedule live sessions either in-office or via a secure telehealth platform.

Live therapy sessions for clients without insurance are $99 each, but most insurances are accepted so the actual out-of-pocket expense may be much less than this. Contact your local office or your insurance company directly to confirm coverage. Note that ThriveWorks is not available in Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, or West Virginia.

Best Sex Therapy Retreat for Couples : IntimacyMoons


Key Specs

Cost: $6,000
Location: St Lucia 
Free Consultation: Yes

Why We Chose It

IntimacyMoons is a luxurious, all-inclusive couples retreat that centers sexuality and intimacy in a way that many other sex retreats do not. By focusing on a multidimensional approach to relationship health, IntimacyMoons ensures that its attendees have opportunities to reconnect with their partner's body, mind, and soul.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • All-inclusive package includes food, lodging, excursion activities, massage, and VIP airport service

  • Includes time for group and individual couples work, relaxation and downtime, as well as a concluding vow renewal ceremony

  • Small group means lots of individualized attention from facilitators

  • Private retreats are also available

Cons
  • May be cost prohibitive for many

  • Requires overseas travel; airfare is not included in pricing

  • Childcare is not provided for parents; children must remain at home

Overview

Founded by Marissa Nelson, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Certified Sex Therapist and Educator, IntimacyMoons packs a lot of deep work and joyful play into its weeklong retreats. For couples who can afford the financial investment, these retreats can feel as much like a lux vacation as they do couples therapy.

Open to all kinds of partnerships, including cohabitating but unmarried partners, LGBTQIA+ partners, and polyam/kinky partnerships, each retreat is seven days and includes time spent in individual couples consultation, participating in group therapy activities, attending enrichment classes and excursions, and spending time alone with your partner.

At $6,000 per couple, IntimacyMoons is certainly a relationship investment, but the cost does include food, lodging, airport transport, recreational activities, and a concluding vow renewal ceremony. For couples seeking more individualized attention, IntimacyMoons, which is a BIPOC and woman-owned business, offers private retreats as well.

Best Sex Therapy Retreat for Individuals : Pleasure Principle Retreats


Pleasure Principal Retreats
Key Specs

Cost: $1,250 for individuals, $2,500 for couples
Location: Nashville, TN
Free Consultation: Yes

Why We Chose It

Pleasure Principle Retreats is unique in offering both couples retreats and opportunities for individuals to reconnect with their bodies and sexuality in a venue that is not focused on hooking up or finding a partner. Grounded in the principles of sex therapy, Pleasure Principle Retreats offers an affordable, accessible option for anyone seeking an immersive sex therapy experience.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Centrally located in Nashville, TN

  • Pricing is reasonable for a multi-day retreat event

  • Facilitated by Certified Sex Therapists

Cons
  • Held in a home-style setting, which may limit participant privacy

  • Airfare is not included in pricing

  • Childcare is not provided; other arrangements must be made by parents

Overview

For anyone seeking an affordable retreat that packs a lot of value into their time, Pleasure Principle Retreats, founded and facilitated by psychotherapist and Sex Coach Renee Burwell, is the clear winner. At less than half the cost of other retreats, attendees experience five days of group and couples activities, yoga, group processing sessions, and excursion activities, as well as all meals and lodging.

Open to all kinds of participants, including cohabitating but unmarried partners, LGBTQIA+ partners, and polyam/kinky partnerships, Pleasure Principle Retreats also offers separate retreat events for folks wishing to attend solo. Each retreat provides participants the opportunity to reflect on their relationships with their bodies, with sex and intimacy, and with each other. The retreat is centrally located in Nashville, Tennessee; note that the $1,250/$2,500 cost does not include airfare.

Best Sex Therapy Directory : AASECT


Key Specs

Cost: Free to use
Location: Every state except South Dakota and West Virginia, as well as several countries
Free Consultation: Varies by provider

Why We Chose It

AASECT offers a one-stop resource to locate Certified Sex Therapists, Educators, and Counselors in nearly every state and many countries. All providers listed are vetted by AASECT to ensure the highest levels of education and sexual health competency.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Directory offers listings for nearly all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. and several countries

  • Directory listings are heavily vetted with credentials verified

  • Free to the public and easy to use

Cons
  • Users cannot search by specialty, which can make searches more cumbersome

  • Some states do not have AASECT Certified Sex Therapists

  • Therapists with sex therapy training who chose not to pursue certification are not listed

Overview

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a national professional organization leading the way for sex therapy as a field and providing ethical guidance and educational standards to those who practice sex therapy. AASECT members approach their work with clients from a sex-positive, LGBTQIA+ and trans inclusive, BDSM/kink, and polyam-affirming perspective.

AASECT as an organization does not support a Sex Addiction Model of therapy, so clients seeking treatment from this perspective may not find a good match; however, there are many therapists who specialize in Out of Control Sexual Behavior who are listed. Every therapist included in this frequently-updated directory is a masters-level or higher qualified mental health provider, who has received at least a foundational level of training in kink/BDSM-aware therapy, LGBTQIA+ issues, gender-affirming care, and polyamory/ethical non-monogamy. 

Final Verdict

Sex Therapy is a field dominated by local, independent practices dedicated to providing empowering, scientifically accurate, and inclusive care. Among these, we’ve chosen Modern Intimacy as the best overall sex therapy provider, due in no small part to its commitment to serving clients across several highly populated states and providing helpful psychoeducational resources to folks who might fall outside of their service areas.

Particularly for those seeking specialized services, smaller practices such as Golden Vibes, our choice for the best polyam therapist, and Council for Relationships, our choice for the best culturally inclusive therapist, highlight the importance of sex therapy in their communities. The flip side, of course, is that finding a local sex therapy provider can be quite difficult, but resources such as the AASECT directory certainly make the process easier.

The size of many sex therapy practices can also mean that even when one is available in your area, they might not be taking on new clients. In situations such as this, it’s great to know that options such as ThriveWorks (our choice for the most affordable therapist) offer flexibility and access to care.

The most important part of sex therapy is the quality of the relationship between client and provider, which will always depend on your rapport with the specific therapist, regardless of where they practice. Look for local, Certified Sex Therapists—or at least therapists who have sought out continuing education around sexual and relational health—and know that the best therapist is the one who feels right to you. 

How Is Sex Therapy Different From Other Kinds of Therapy?

You might have noticed that there are many smaller practices on this list. That’s because the field of sex therapy is one that requires specialized training and advanced supervision above and beyond that which all therapists receive through the course of their regular training. It can be difficult to find a qualified, competent, and properly trained Sex Therapist. Certainly, the AASECT directory listed above can help, as can the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Kink Aware Provider directory and the Poly-Friendly Providers Directory. The best way to find a sex therapist is to start with one of these three guides and search for someone in your area who may be practicing in a setting more like Golden Vibes or Modern Intimacy than a resource like Talkspace. 

About The Companies That Did Not Make Our List

Because of the sensitive nature of the topics discussed in sex therapy—ranging from erectile dysfunction and sexual orientation questions to childhood trauma and out-of-control sexual behavior—we’ve created a list of resources that minimize privacy concerns for those seeking care. Many large-scale providers, such as BetterHelp and PrideCounseling (to name a few) are still figuring out how to manage user privacy and data protection. For these reasons, we prioritized options that offer flexibility and choice in therapy platform delivery, as well as the safest tools possible for clients who are already dealing with deeply personal challenges.

Sources

McClain, F. L., & Amlin, D. M. (2022). Mapping Sex Therapy Across the United States: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Counseling Sexology & Sexual Wellness: Research, Practice, and Education, 3 (2), 39-49. https://doi.org/10.34296/03021052 

Whaley, C.R.J. (2018). Contemporary Telemental Healthcare Delivery: The Therapeutic Relationship and Applied Considerations. Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 1-6. 

Germain, T. (2021). Mental Health Apps Aren’t All As Private As You May Think. Consumer Reports, https://www.consumerreports.org/health-privacy/mental-health-apps-and-user-privacy-a7415198244/

Compare the Best Online Sex Therapy

Company Cost Platforms  Free Consultation States Available
Modern Intimacy Best Overall $150-$300 In office, secure telehealth Yes NY, CT, FL, IL, CO, CA
Lasting Best for Couples $59.95/month App No 50
Queering Therapy Best for LGBTQIA+ Couples Varies by provider; office, secure telehealth Live sessions (text, phone, video), text messaging Yes California
TalkSpace Best for Live Chat $69-$129/month Secure telehealth, spp No 50
Council for Relationships Most Culturally Inclusive $15-$200 In office, secure telehealth Yes NJ, PA
Golden Vibes Best for Polyamorous Relationships Varies by provider In office, secure telehealth Yes WI
ThriveWorks Most Affordable $39.95/mo + $0-99 copay per session In office, email, app Yes 42 + DC
IntimacyMoons Best Couples Retreat $6,000 per couple On location in St. Lucia Yes N/A
Pleasure Principle Retreats Individual Retreat $1,250 for individuals, $2,500 per couple On location in Nashville, TN Yes N/A
AASECT Best Directory Free www.aasect.org Varies by provider Nearly every state + many countries

Guide for Choosing the Best Online Sex Therapy Programs

What Is Online Sex Therapy?

Sex therapy and the discipline of sexology are specific academic and clinical disciplines that require a vast amount of medical, physiological, psychological, and relational knowledge to practice without harm. Sex Therapy never involves nudity, sexual behaviors in session, or physical contact with the Sex Therapist. The fact that most states allow anyone to describe themselves as a “sex therapist” can make online sex therapy feel odd, or even unsafe, for some clients. Clients want to know that a clinician is a qualified, competent, ethical mental health provider who’s able to meet their unique needs.

Many Certified Sex Therapists are offering online therapy, but when someone first searches for online sex therapy, it's natural to worry about the quality of the practices, or assume that the only options are large, general mental health providers who have built a strong online presence.

However, the best and most capable online Sex Therapists are probably in an office just down the street from you. The ability to verify competency, via resources such as the AASECT directory, and to have the option to meet with a provider in person can go a long way towards helping people in need of sex therapy feel reassured and confident about online sessions. 

People seek online sex therapy for all sorts of issues across the sexual health spectrum, including sexual dysfunctions; infidelity; love, sex, and porn addictions; alternative lifestyles such as polyamorous relationships; LGBTQI+ affirming therapy; trauma; and body image. However, more intensive sexual health issues might require in-person therapy rather than an online model.

Are Online Sex Therapy Programs Worth It?

Sex therapy, as a mental health treatment, can be just as effective online as it is in-office, even for unique needs. Sex therapy may be worth it for you if:

  • You are experiencing distress or discomfort in your sexual or intimate relationships.
  • You’re worried about whether or not your sexual behaviors are “normal.”
  • You and your partner aren’t connecting intimately the way you used to.
  • You and your partner want different things in the bedroom (sexual frequency, kinks/fetishes, etc.).
  • You and your partner are BOTH interested in participating in the sex therapy process.
  • You’ve experienced sexual trauma.
  • You’ve felt guilt or shame around your gender, sexuality, or sexual behaviors.
  • You’re living with cancer, disabilities, or other medical conditions that are disrupting your relationship with your body and/or your sexual functioning.
  • You or your partner are experiencing menopause, pregnancy, postpartum challenges, vaginismus, premature ejaculation, or erectile difficulties.
  • You’re worried that you’re not making “good” choices around sex and sexuality.
  • You or your partner are gender questioning.
  • You’re struggling with general mental health or relationship concerns and want to work with a therapist who will understand and not stigmatize your non-traditional relationship (such as polyamory, swinging, BDSM/kink). 

Comparing Online Sex Therapy Programs

When selecting a Sex Therapist to work with, there are several factors to consider. Your first step might be to consult a directory such as AASECTs or www.kapprofessionals.org to narrow your search down to the providers working in your area. Next, logistical variables such as online versus in-office availability, insurance coverage, and out-of-pocket costs will likely help you winnow down your initial search results. If you choose a group practice or a larger company such as ThriveWorks, you will need to inquire into who within your local office is accepting new clients. 

Be sure to ask potential therapists about their specific training in sex therapy if their profile does not explicitly state it, especially regarding continuing education courses, certificate programs, or certifications they may hold. The gold standard is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, but there are many highly competent non-certified therapists working in the field as well.

If you are a member of a gender, sexuality, or relationship minority community (such as genderqueer, kink, or polyam), ask about their experience working with clients similar to yourself. Don’t be afraid to inquire whether they are gender-affirming, kink-affirming, or support any other relevant community you identify with. If you are looking for help related to porn use, infidelity, or ethical non-monogamy, it may be wise to ask a potential therapist if they approach these issues from a Sex Addiction or an Out of Control Sexual Behavior treatment perspective.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Online Sex Therapy Different From Couples Counseling?

Sex therapy focuses specifically on issues related to gender, sexuality, intimacy and the body. Sex therapy clients can be in a relationship, but many individuals seek out sex therapy to deal with challenges such as guilt/shame, gender identity, sexual behaviors, and more. Couples in sex therapy will likely work on many of the same things as they might in traditional couples counseling—such as communication skills and relationship repair—but will also receive specific coaching and guidance around their sexual and intimate life together as well. 

How Do Online Sex Therapy Programs Work?

Because sex therapy is a specialized form of talk therapy, it works much the same whether you’re online or in the office. All homework or activity suggestions received in sex therapy (such as sensate focus touch exercises) are meant to be implemented by the client outside of the session, at home alone or with their partner. No Sex Therapist, whether online or in office, will ever ask you to do sexual acts with or for them or to send sexual images to them.  

Are Online Sex Therapy Programs Right for Me and My Partner?

From newlyweds just figuring out their intimate life together to retirees navigating changing bodies and relationships, many people can benefit from sex therapy. Relationships go through dry spells, differences in desire or fantasy, physical or emotional changes, and changes in family size and structure—any of which can cause problems in the bedroom. Whatever your worry is, it’s neither too big nor too trivial. Don’t be afraid to seek out a Certified Sex Therapist.

How Much Do Online Sex Therapy Programs Cost?

Sex Therapy can vary widely, depending upon availability and insurance coverage. For some, the cost will be their standard insurance copay. For those seeing an out-of-network or private pay sex therapist, session rates can vary from $50-$300, depending upon your location and need.

Do Online Sex Therapy Programs Accept Insurance?

Many insurances will cover individual sex therapy. However, coverage for couples counseling (whether Sex Therapy or general) is often more restrictive. If you want to see a therapist together with your partner, check with your insurance first to see if marriage/couples counseling is covered under your plan.

Methodology

Our methodology for evaluating online therapy companies is comprehensive and data-driven. To review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 33 companies and surveyed 100 current users of each. This allowed us to directly and fairly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on:

  • Website usability
  • Sign-up process 
  • Therapist qualifications 
  • Types of therapy offered
  • Quality of care
  • Client-therapist communication options
  • Session length
  • Subscription offerings 
  • Client privacy protections 
  • Cost and value for money
  • Insurance coverage
  • Average out-of-pocket costs
  • Therapist assignment process
  • Ease of changing therapists
  • Overall user satisfaction
  • Likelihood clients would recommend them

Finding a Local Sex Therapist

If you are looking for a local sex therapist who can see you either in person or online, the best way to find a reputable therapist is to visit one of the two organizations that certify sex therapists. Both the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and the American College of Sexologists offer lists of certified sex therapists, some of whom practice online. 

Today, many therapists have transitioned part or all of their practice online. Therefore, local sex therapists may well be able to see you virtually. Individual costs will vary, but many individual sex therapists take insurance.

As certified sex therapists are licensed professionals, reimbursement may also be possible for individuals who have out-of-network behavioral health coverage. However, it is important to check with your insurer about your coverage before starting to work with a new therapist. They may only cover certain types of therapy, or a single therapist if you are also seeing another therapist for other reasons.

Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. McClain F, Amlin D. Mapping sex therapy across the united states: an exploratory study. Journal of Counseling Sexology & Sexual Wellness: Research, Practice, and Education. 2022;3(2):39-49.

  2. Langarizadeh M, Tabatabaei MS, Tavakol K, Naghipour M, Rostami A, Moghbeli F. Telemental health care, an effective alternative to conventional mental care: a systematic reviewActa Inform Med. 2017;25(4):240-246.

By Stefani Goerlich
Stefani Goerlich is a private practice clinician, author, educator, and media consultant who specializes in working with issues related to BDSM/Kink and other erotic minority communities.

Edited by
Hannah Owens
Hannah Owens

Hannah Owens is the Mental Health/General Health Editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health.

Learn about our editorial process
and
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

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