Sex therapy and sexological counselling in the online format
Today we live surrounded by technologies, and social networks are an undeniable matter and the fact is that the Internet is immersed in our lives. We have smartphones, laptops or tablets, and we communicate with our family or friends through chats or videoconferences, thus applying technology to various areas of our lives, whether professional, leisure, or even to find a partner, one need only look at the growing development of “flirting apps” in recent times (Tinder, Grindr, Wapa, Meetic, etc.). As Vaimberg (2012) says, we are “changing or creating new ways of relating, thinking or living our own identity”. Continue reading this blog on the Escort Service Website.
Such is the magnitude of the technological phenomenon that many areas have already been conditioned or influenced by it, forcing themselves to adapt to the new times. This is the case with sexological counselling and sexual or couples therapy. “If Masters and Johnson lived in these times, they would develop online sex therapy!” says one of the escort girls.
But what is sexological counselling, or sexual therapy, online?
Online sexological advice, or online sex therapy, is carried out virtually, that is, through a screen, by videoconference or other digital resources. Hence, the physical presence of a sexologist or a sexologist and The person or couple attended to in the same room is not necessary, thus making it possible to assess a screen without having to go to the sexology centre in question. You only need a computer and a webcam.
In the words of Vaimberg (2012): “technologically mediated psychotherapies are those interventions that respond to their objectives, using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)”.
In other words, what must be clear is that when talking about online sexological advice, we are talking about the use of a specific technical resource (which adapts to any of the psychotherapy modalities), but in no case are we talking about a new modality of therapeutic intervention, or said in Latin: sit on your sofa, turn on your laptop and enjoy the same sexological attention that you would receive in a face-to-face consultation.
Sounds good. So much so that there are already several countries that have begun to use this new assistance model, the USA (they were the pioneers), Canada, Australia or New Zealand… and in Spain, please, we will not be less!
Yes, yes, it sounds excellent, but. Is there no difference between the face-to-face format and the online one?
Although there is still not much scientific research on the subject, there are some studies on the subject (explicitly focused on psychotherapy), which have been able to conclude that there are no significant differences between face-to-face and online therapy in terms of alliance therapeutic refers (Cook and Doyle, 2002; Hanley, 2009; Hanley and Reynolds, 2009; King, Bambling, Reid and Thomas, 2006; Knaevelsrud and Maercker, 2006; Reynolds, Stiles and Grohol, 2006); (Richardson, 2012), especially in the videoconference modality (Rees and Stone, 2005). On the other hand, a study carried out in 2013 by Andreas Maercker, a professor at the University of Zurich, concluded that online therapy is shown to be just as effective as face-to-face.
Therefore, we could say that psychotherapy can now be carried out through videoconferences (using Skype, for example, or other digital resources). And according to the existing literature, with an effectiveness similar to the traditional modality (face-to-face).
But what are the pros and cons of online sex counselling?
It will not be all rosy, and we can’t deny that the online format has some drawbacks. One of them is that the closeness the sexologist and the person (or couple) attended to benefit from is lost, being in the same office, where they also share the same environment, noise, temperature, etc.
Another disadvantage, perhaps the most important, is that the intervention, being carried out through technologies and screens, can be affected by network outages, connection, sound or coverage failures. This creates interaction between the sender and the receiver as it does not receive the message correctly. And on the other hand, through online intervention, we can miss a part of non-verbal communication.
And even knowing this, do we bet on online sexological advice? Well, yes, that’s right, and despite the cons, for certain people or situations, the online intervention also offers numerous advantages, which far outweigh the disadvantages.
To begin with, perhaps the most crucial advantage is that online sex counselling or online sex therapy makes the intervention accessible to people who might not otherwise receive it, such as those who live in rural areas, or small towns, with no resources and professionals. It can also be beautiful for those who have a sexology centre nearby but find it difficult to attend due to physical difficulties, lack of time, or because their job requires them to travel frequently.
On the other hand, the online methodology makes it easier for those who have difficulties asking for traditional help due to issues such as shyness, for example, to have it easier this way. Another great advantage is that this methodology supposes a specific economic saving since it allows for reduced costs in means of transport, vouchers and diesel. On the other hand, it also feels like time-saving since displacements are avoided. And it is that we lead an increasingly faster pace of life and have less free time for leisure, so this format can help us all recover some of that much desired time.
Another advantage is that it allows the person to be in their own safe space, their home, providing them with a feeling of trust and closeness and making it easier for them to be more comfortable when talking about their intimacies and difficulties. In addition, the online format allows us to work on our difficulties with sexologists of a certain prestige or who have recommended us and do not live near our place of residence.
Finally, the part of verbal communication that we can lose with this format (commented on in the disadvantages) can be safeguarded in part by knowing how to use the tools in an appropriate way, such as, for example, placing the screen at a safe distance, in a way that allows us to have a greater angle of the image, thus losing fewer details of non-verbal communication.