Laura Berman, PhD is a world-renowned sex and relationship educator and therapist, popular TV and radio host, New York Times best-selling author, and assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. She has helped countless couples build stronger relationships, improve their sex lives, and achieve a heightened level of intimacy. Her television show, In The Bedroom With Dr. Laura Berman, is featured on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is also a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show as well as a member of The Dr. Oz Show Advisory Board. Dr. Berman counsels couples and individuals for both relationship therapy and sex therapy. To arrange an appointment you can contact the offices of Laura Berman, LCSW, PhD, at 312.854.8810.
Dr. Berman! Thanks for helping us clarify some common questions that people
have about sex therapy. First, how long have you been practicing sex therapy,
and what made you choose this unique field?
I’ve been a sex educator, researcher and therapist for more than 20 years. I was inspired to choose this career path because I wanted to help couples enjoy passionate sex throughout their relationship. I also wanted to help women embrace their bodies and their sexuality without shame or fear.
how do you work with couples?
In a typical first appointment, I would learn more about my patients’ background and their reason for coming to therapy. I would delve into their sexual history and learn more about their sex life and their specific issues (For example, is she never in the mood? Do they argue over the frequency of sex?). If physical issues might be at play (such as out-of-whack hormones), we confront that as well.
are the most common issues that couples have?
I have heard it all when it comes to sexual questions and concerns, but there are several common issues that bring people in, such as infidelity, lack of trust, difficulty reaching orgasm, infrequent sex, mismatched libidos (e.g., she’s always in the mood, but he rarely is), and also relationship issues. Many couples grapple with parenting issues, work stress, as well as other concerns such as illness or caring for an elderly parent in the home. Some couples are also there to confront issues of grief or loss, or to recover from sexual trauma such as rape or sexual abuse. These are all serious issues that can be difficult to navigate alone, which is why therapy is so important.
you ever get ‘weirded out’ by the issues or fantasies you hear?
No. I have been doing this for over two decades, and I really have heard it all. Most importantly, I realize that there is no such as thing as ‘normal.’ We all have unique sexual issues and desires. Sex therapy is about helping to ensure that sex is as pleasurable and healthy as it can be, so patients shouldn’t think twice about bringing up concerns to me. It’s what I am there for!
you think some couples are simply hopeless when it comes to repairing their
Definitely not. If a couple is committed to improving their relationship and they are willing to do the work necessary to make changes, then no relationship is unsalvageable. With therapy, couples can improve their relationship and their sex life more than they ever thought possible. And that’s what makes my job so rewarding, even after all of these years.