As sex therapists, it goes without saying that what we do is widely misunderstood. People sometimes assume- penis stuff- go to urologist, vagina stuff- go to a gynecologist. But what about the emotional/psychological toll having something like erectile dysfunction or a sexual desire disorder takes on you as a person and the people you're intending to have sex with? Physicians are a great adjunct in sexual health, however they are rarely trained in human sexuality, never mind trained in counseling.
What about when your sexual desire disorder or sexual aversion disorder is a symptom of past sexual trauma or guilt? What about when your erectile difficulty isn't helped by viagra, because you have extreme performance anxiety? Pills help when there's a physiological cause- a kink int he plumbing so to speak. But the fallout from that is where the sex therapist comes in. A urologist isn't going to teach you about edging during masturbation or sensate focus.
People seek therapy with a sex therapist for issues related to sexual identity- which despite making great strides in civil rights, has not gotten any easier to figure out on a personal level. People seek sex therapists out to deal with sexual infidelity or emotional affairs, or because they want to try polyamory or an open relationship. This is not the cause of some pseudo-science "sex addiction" label, but add that to the list, as well. Sometimes people don't know that humans are sexually driven and confuse this with what they have heard about 12 step programs in the media. Sometimes people feel like their sex and gender don't line up. Hormones and surgeries might be part of the treatment for some, but again- therapy helps address the emotional turmoil that often accompanies a lifetime of feeling like your insides and outsides don't match.
Sex therapists start their training in mental health counseling or marriage and family therapy. They then find a supervisor specializing in clinical sexology / sex therapy and continue their experience and training in dealing with these and countless various other counseling aspects related to human sexual expression.
MyTherapist New York offers sex therapy and relationship counseling that is sex positive, modern and effective with offices in Manhattan