Well, they didn't hold anything back and shared some pretty revealing secrets that most people probably aren't aware of.
So here are some truly eye-opening secrets straight from sex therapists themselves:
Warning: This post includes topics of sexual trauma. Please proceed with caution.
1."A satisfying relationship inside the bedroom starts outside the bedroom. I used to intern with therapists, and they'd always stress the importance of communication. One of the therapists loved The 5 Love Languages (which I believe started as a book), but she'd tell them to take a free quiz online to figure out their 'love language.' So many patients throughout the years would say how learning their 'love language' helped save their relationships. I've personally found it incredibly beneficial as well. If nothing else, it opens the door for communication with your S.O. on what's important and meaningful to you, which can lead to a much more satisfying sexual relationship."
"When I first met my wife, she would talk about this, and I thought it was silly. Then, I started to read the details, and it clicked that this was how she was opening the door to communication. We both were previously divorced from horrible first marriages.
That trust worked its way into the bedroom — it's the best sex we have ever had, and we are in our 40s. So, as silly as these 5 Love Languages sound, they really work as a springboard to how you might subconsciously express or want to be loved. The idea is so simple, yet the effects are pretty profound. I cannot sing the praises of The 5 Love Languages enough!"
2."Everyone needs to learn about 'sexual concordance.' What a body does, and how you feel/think about it, are often two different things. Understanding how sexual concordance happens is probably the single greatest gift you can give yourself and your future/current partners. Generally, for men, they tend to be more sexually concordant than women. Generally, women are not quite as sexually concordant as men. For many people, a 'sexy situation' doesn't always equal arousal. Sometimes, for men and women, something that shouldn't (for whatever reason) be arousing is, and vice versa."
"Everyone needs to be aware that a body's response is not always in-line with what they think should happen. Emily Nagoski's excellent book Come As You Are is a great way to get sexual concordance in your vocabulary."
3."People can become conditioned by how we masturbate. Vibrators can cause insensitivity and numbness — vaginas and anuses are tight, but maybe not as tight as a sex device. Even the time of day, environment, and position can all become something you 'need' during sex but don't even realize. Communication is important between partners, but also with ourselves."
4."Erectile dysfunction is more common for young men than society thinks. Sildenafil (Viagra) and other ED drugs are not only prescribed to old men."
5."Both men and women (in talking about and beginning things regarding intimacy) require emotional bits — not just women. This is a common misconception and can lead to some problems. If a loving, kind, supportive, and communicative relationship is the foundation, sex is going to be much easier, comfortable, and open. Communication is always key, and when it isn't, there's usually some deep-seeded [sic] problem that needs to be mended (or at least addressed) before a couple can move into a flourishing sexual partnership."
"Dry spells can become cycles. Meaning, if a couple stops having sex because the husband becomes less emotionally available (as an example — a common one), a great fix for this can be sexual intimacy.
But on the other side, if problems aren't taken care of, a sexual relationship can be a band aid when surgery was needed."
6."I don't know about sex therapists, but occupational therapists can sometimes work with people who have disabilities and teach them socially appropriate sexual behavior. Sometimes they can teach people with physical disabilities ways to move their wheelchair or body parts that are disabled in ways that would make sex easier for them."
7."I'm a sexual health counselor. The best sex toys are either high-grade silicone, glass, or surgical steel (the latter two are also great for temperature play). Any of these three can be washed in the dishwasher. Also, as romantic as it sounds, never sleep inside your partner/have your partner sleep inside of you if you're using a condom. Between shifting and shrinking, all that semen will have a nice easy opportunity to work its way up the sides of the rubber."
8."In my sex therapy practice, I specialize in kink-aware counseling. You’d be surprised how many partners/spouses react negatively to their partner expressing an interest in BDSM. The stigma around sensory exchange (my preferred term for SM play) is huge. DS is only slightly better...the bias tends to be towards 'low self-esteem' as opposed to 'broken, traumatized person.' But neither mindsets are useful or accurate. I help people understand what and why people identify as kinky, and help people find common ground between 'vanilla' vs. BDSM in their relationships. BDSM doesn’t equate to abuse or domestic violence or imply a traumatic history."
9."People come in (usually people who never had sex before, or had some form of abuse in the past) who have a fear of sex, and some ideas they had were marinating for years about why it couldn't work with them or why they'd fail. I deal mostly with men with performance anxiety. They are the most frequent patients, and they typically believe they have very severe problems. There are also a lot of older men who are fearful that their sex drive is going away, and it causes undue stress. YES I can tell that they are genuine, and they are NOT just using me like a prostitute."
10."More women should put a mirror under their vagina to get to know it better. Tons of sexual issues come from a lack of self-body knowledge. People should also know that gay people aren't defined by anal sex or by being a top or bottom. It would be so much easier if people were taught that safe sex is not only avoiding pregnancy or STIs — they work to prevent both, and many persons tend to forget one of those parts. And it's never about trust with condoms — it's about yourself. Trust makes people blame the partner about STIs when it's mostly a decision made by oneself and not by the partner."
"I’d like to tack onto that that men should also take the time to know what they look like. That, and to realize that a vagina is only so deep despite what porn with its 'creative photography' portrays. It took me a long time to get comfortable with myself, though my current girlfriend is a massive help."
11."The most common theme I see in practice is people not communicating openly and honestly. The fix is simple — talk to each other. Just to be clear, the fix isn't actually that simple. But I don't want to break down years of training and hours of counseling into layman's terms and explain every little thing — so I shortened it to 'talk.'"
12."If you feel satisfied during sex, there's nothing wrong with your sex life. Two minutes, 30 minutes — whatever works best for you. We're talking averages (also timing yourself) — I used to swear it was 15–20 minutes. But the actual time? Eight to nine minutes. Sex can distort your perception of time."
13."Sex addiction isn't a formal diagnosis, and treatment will likely not be covered by insurance. Technically we diagnose another specified impulse control disorder with compulsive sexual behavior."
14.And finally: "I'm a therapist specializing in gender and sexuality, and I work with adolescents and families (though I've worked with all ages). One of the things I wish everyone knew (particularly young people and their parents) is that it's okay for your identity to grow and change as you grow and change. You can identify as gay now and later start identifying as bisexual. Lesbian might make more sense right now — and even if you later feel that something else describes you better in the future, that doesn't mean any of your feelings then or now are illegitimate (or that changing a 'label' makes you a 'liar'). Your attractions, sex drive, and body image can change (though usually not drastically) as you age. That's fine. Roll with it."
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.