Existential sex therapy

Barker, Meg (2011). Existential sex therapy. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26(1) pp. 33–47.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14681991003685879


This paper considers what existential psychotherapy has to offer the ever-expanding field of sex therapy. First it considers the critical stance that existential psychotherapy takes towards diagnosis and categorisation, explaining why it is important for sex therapists to engage critically with notions of ‘sexual dysfunction’, and suggesting ways in which we might work with clients around the losses and gains of various labels. Following this, existential therapy is briefly outlined and applied to sexual issues, drawing particularly on the work of Peggy Kleinplatz and Irving Yalom, as well as the author’s own client work. Three aspects of existential therapy are explored in depth: The focus on client’s lived experience, the multiple meanings they may have around sex, and the importance of considering the various dimensions of existence. Throughout this latter half of the paper examples will be given where sex therapists worked with existential themes (including how to live a meaningful life, how to relate to others, mortality and the freedom to choose).

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions