Deborah Huntley - Licencesed Clinical Psychologist

CALL: 941-366-2442

205 North Orange Avenue, Suite 304, Sarasota, FL 34236

Deborah Huntley - Licencesed Clinical Psychologist

Sex Therapy


A few words about my background in this specialty:

My dissertation research was on the factors relating to the ease or difficulty of women attaining orgasms.

After receiving my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northern Illinois University, I worked for a year at the Florida Mental Health Institute conducting psychological evaluations of sexual offenders living within a six-county area. I also visited and evaluated the forensic treatment centers of sexual offenders. Shortly thereafter, I began teaching an undergraduate course in Human Sexuality at the University of South Florida in Tampa and continued teaching this course four years before moving to Sarasota in 1981. Since coming to Sarasota, I have taught courses in sexual counseling for graduate students in training to become counselors.

In my private practice, I see individuals and couples who have one or more of the following concerns:

   • Sexual Desire Issues
   • Difficulty with Arousal/Erections
   • Difficulty with Orgasm/Ejaculations
   • Sexual Trauma Issues
   • Concerns about Sexual Orientation/Gender
   • Sexual Compulsivity/Addiction
   • Internet pornography problems

For more information on the sex therapies I offer, please review the FAQ below. There you will find the answers to many of your questions surrounding my overall procedures and protocols related to this specialty.


Frequently asked Questions about Sex Therapy


Q. What is a Sex Therapist?
A. In the state of Florida, the title of Sex Therapist can only be used by people who have met the requirements stated in the Florida Statutes. Currently, these statutes mandate 150 hours of continuing education units, divided into 12 specific areas relating to sexuality. Anyone who is practicing sex therapy or advertising themselves as a sex therapist who has not met these requirements is considered to be practicing outside their scope of expertise and can be fined and/or lose their license.

Q. Is there a special certification for sex therapists?
A. AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) is the most respected national organization that certifies therapists. This certification requires more continuing education units than does Florida, and two years of supervision while seeing sex therapy cases by someone who is certified by AASECT as a Supervisor. I have been certified as a Sex Therapist since 1979 and I am also certified by AASECT to provide supervision to other therapists seeking certification

Q. Do I have to be in a relationship and bring a partner to the sessions?
A. You do not have to be in a relationship to benefit from sex therapy. Sometimes a person's embarrassment or insecurity about their sexual functioning is a major factor in keeping them from pursuing relationships. If you are in a committed relationship, the therapy may have some sessions that are tailored just to the individual and some to the couple.

Q. What will therapy be like?
A. Sexual therapy is similar to other kinds of talk therapy in that you and/or you and your partner will meet with me in my office. We will discuss your concerns and what you have tried so far to bring about improvement. I will take a detailed history of the concern and we will construct some therapy goals which may involve some exercises performed in the privacy of your home. Some parts of sex therapy can be fairly direct with home-work assignments to help your body learn different patterns of response. Some parts of therapy will be more about resolving uncomfortable feelings, and this is often accomplished by talking about how the feelings get created (either in the here and now) or from past experience.

Q. How do I know if this is a sexual problem or more of a relationship problem?
A. Often the answer is both. Sex Therapists first obtain their license in one of the mental health disciplines and then they go on for additional training specifically in sexual issues. So they are able to work with both issues. Certainly, if a couple is having lots of resentment and neither partner is feeling cherished, their sex life is likely to suffer. On the other hand, if they have sexual difficulties, one or both of them may begin to withdraw from other aspects of the relationship until it seems there is no agreement on anything.

Q. How do I know if my problem is Mental or Medical?
A. I encourage all of my clients to seek consultation from their family practitioner, gynecologist, or urologist to have the medical factors evaluated and treated, if treatment is advised. Sometimes the medical treatment is all that is necessary. Often, if the problem has existed long enough, anxiety gets attached to all sexual endeavors and the anxiety becomes the issue that is the most problematic. With certain types of medical problems and treatments (e.g. prostate cancer) the client is going to be left with a body that no longer functions as it once did, and the individual or couple may want some help in shifting to other ways of pleasuring each other, to different expectations, and perhaps to some enrichment types of exercises to help cushion the loss.

  Deborah Huntley - Licencesed Clinical Psychologist