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What are sexual problems?

People can experience sexual problems at any stage of life but may feel embarrassed about seeking help. These are often referred to as psychosexual problems because they are caused by psychological barriers, although there is often a physical component as well. 

  • Problems for women include:
  • Loss of interest or desire
  • Painful sex
  • Lack of arousal (e.g. lubrication)
  • Difficulty having an orgasm

Men may suffer from:

  • Loss of interest or desire
  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • Ejaculating (cumming) too quickly
  • Difficulty having an orgasm

How can I get help?

Our sexual health service is able to offer psychosexual therapy to help with these problems. Your GP will refer you to the psychosexual service and can also provide us with any relevant details of your medical history, medications and results of relevant blood tests. If, for any reason, you would rather not go through your GP, you can refer yourself by visiting the clinic but we may still need your GP to carry out some blood tests. You will then be placed on the waiting list and sent an appointment when your turn comes. Please note that we are only able to see people who live in the West Sussex area.

At your first appointment the therapist will ask you about your problem so that a full assessment can be made. This will include trying to work out what is causing it. Sometimes the answer may be as simple as stopping or changing a particular medication you are taking.

At other times the therapist may suggest exercises for you to practise between sessions. Some people may also benefit from using certain medicines. Usually up to six sessions are given, although more may be needed in certain circumstances.

Once you have had your initial assessment, your remaining sessions can be carried out by video call using a NHS-approved platform called Attend Anywhere, if this is more convenient for you.


Can I bring my partner?

We often encourage people to bring their partner with them so that the partner can understand more about the problem and what part they can play in helping to overcome it. There are times when the sexual problem happens because of difficulties in the relationship. At other times a sexual problem can be the cause of relationship difficulties. Because of this, the therapist will often need to ask about aspects of your relationship that may be important in finding a solution.


Are there any problems I can’t get help with?

We do not offer psychosexual therapy in the following situations:

  • Victims of recent sexual assault
  • Problems of gender identity/dysphoria
  • Where the sexual problem is part of a major psychiatric disorder
  • Relationship problems not related to the sexual disorder
  • Pornography or sex addiction, compulsive sexual behaviours
  • Sexual practices which would be the subject of action under the criminal justice system

Coils for non-contraceptive reasons
If you just need a coil to use as part of your HRT, to control your periods or if your partner has had a vasectomy. We do not provide this service, please contact your GP. If your GP practice does not provide this service they can refer you to another practice in the area who does offer this service or to the gynaecology service.

Menopause treatment
For all menopause support please contact your GP to discuss further.

Cervical cytology (smear tests) or colposcopy
These services are provided by general practice and the hospital. If you are over 25 have not had a smear in the last 3 years (5 years if you are over 50) please contact your GP practice.

Management of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Please contact your GP.

Fertility screening tests or fertility management
Please contact your GP.

Screening for cosmetic procedures
Please contact your GP.

The contraceptive pill to delay periods.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination.
The HPV vaccine is offered to girls and boys aged 12 and 13 as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme (However please note – gay and bisexual men under the age of 46 who have not been vaccinated as part of this programme can access HPV vaccination via our service

Colposcopy (procedure to find out whether a woman has abnormal cells on or in her cervix or vagina).

Hepatitis vaccination or testing for work or travel purposes

Travel vaccinations

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Sexual Health West Sussex