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Neurodiverse Sex Therapy

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Specialized Sex Therapy for Neurodiverse Couples

Neurodiverse Sex Therapy in Dallas and Online

For most people, intimacy is an integral part of a satisfying relationship. It involves sharing one’s innermost thoughts and feelings with another person and counting on that person for support and understanding. Intimacy also includes physical closeness, such as hugging, kissing, and sexual activity.

For some people, however, intimacy is not so easy to achieve. For those on the autism spectrum, intimacy can be downright challenging.

Challenging, but not impossible.

Look at the list of common autism traits and one can quickly see how they might negatively impact intimacy in a relationship. From struggling with anxiety to sensitivity to touch, smell, or taste to having difficulty with emotional communication, those on the autism spectrum often have difficulty feeling close to another person (and their partners struggle with feeling close to them).

After struggling to connect intimately, many couples quietly resign to a relationship without. One study found that as many as half of neurodiverse couples were not having sex.

The good news is that there is hope. You deserve to have a healthy and fulfilling sex life, and sex therapy can help.

Intimacy Comes in Many Forms

In the traditional sense, intimacy is usually associated with physical acts of love. But there are many other forms of intimacy that couples can explore. For example, some people find emotional closeness to be just as fulfilling. Writing love letters or cards, exchanging meaningful glances and conversations, and exploring common interests together — all of these activities can help make a relationship more intimate.

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These are all areas in which a neurodiverse couple can struggle as well. Often times there is a mismatch in desire between partners. One partner might long for more emotional intimacy in the relationship while the other is quite alright with the status quo. Either partner may find they have a higher need for sex while their partner is content or even averse to exploring fantasies and desires.

This mismatch in desire can lead to frustration for both parties. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard an autistic partner say, “You know I love you. Why do I need to show it constantly? When it changes, I’ll let you know.” This isn’t nearly as comforting or reassuring as they often hope it will be.

Traditional Sex Therapy isn’t Designed for Neurodiverse Couples

While there are many wonderful sex therapists out there, many of them fail to take into account the unique challenges of neurodiverse couples.

Neurodiverse couples need to be able to find a therapist who can work with their particular needs. This might include exploring issues around sensory processing or managing anxiety, as well as finding ways for partners to enjoy physical and emotional intimacy in a way that works for both of them.

Something else to keep in mind is that even with the best therapist in the world, it may take a long time for neurodiverse couples to find common ground. This is because each person’s experience of their own neurology and that of their partner is unique. It can be helpful to work together with a therapist to build an understanding of how each partner experiences emotions, communication, and intimacy.

In addition to finding common ground, it is also important for neurodiverse couples to learn how to find ways of dealing with disagreements and difficult conversations (especially in regard to sex) in a way that does not trigger either partner’s sensitivities or dysfunctions. This can be challenging but rewarding when learned correctly.

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Slow is Smooth; Smooth is Fast

This saying comes from the Navy Seals, and I often repeat it to the couples I work with. One of my primary interventions is to get couples to slow down their interactions. Intimacy is so important, and the weight of it often leads couples to get tripped up in the moment.

When you’ve tried to bring up the topic of intimacy with your partner in the past, it probably hasn’t gone well. In fact, it’s become so predictable at this point that you can have the conversation in your head, and it’ll lead to the same result- nothing except frustration and hopelessness.

You want more from your partner, but when you try to ask, they get defensive. They feel like you’re asking for more than they can give (or more than they believe they can), and you begin to question if your desires are foolish. Should you really want what you want, or should you be satisfied with what you’ve got?

Slow down.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to wants, desires, and needs in a relationship. A skilled sex therapist can work with you and your partner to help you both get more of what you want.

You Might Not Get 100% of What You Want

It’s true. There may be things you want from your partner that they are unable or unwilling to give you. This is true of any relationship, neurodiverse or not.

Being in a neurodiverse relationship means that there are some things that are not going to change- you and your partner’s neurology for one. You may also never have the same level of desire for intimacy in the relationship.

No relationship is perfect (and yours is no exception). A great sex therapist who specializes in working with neurodiverse couples can help you navigate between what can and cannot change to lead you and your partner to a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship.

Start Sex Therapy for Neurodiverse Couples Today

If you’ve been feeling frustrated or discouraged in your relationship, it’s time to reach out for help. A specialized sex therapist can work with you and your partner to help you both get what you need and want from the relationship.

Finding an experienced sex therapist who is knowledgeable about neurodiverse couples can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. Working with a therapist who understands the unique needs of neurodiverse couples can be an invaluable way to bring greater understanding and satisfaction into your relationship. Start today on the path to a stronger, more satisfying relationship.