Couple Family and Sex Therapy NYC


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Gracie Landes, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist located in Chelsea - the Flatiron District of Manhattan will work with you to build solutions that fit you when you have:

the desire to improve any aspect of your life •  trouble adjusting to a new situation or life transition • conflicts that keeps you from being closer to people you care about • anxiety, lack of information or embarrassment about sex • questions about relationships or sexual health...

and you want to work with someone who is dedicated to providing counseling that is brief, respectful and effective, and to discovering what works

Filtering by Category: SEX THERAPY BLOG

slow down your sex life to speed it up

Couples who eventually make it to see a trained sex therapist have usually been down the road of failed date nights, hokey mood music and sexy lingerie. They make to our offices discouraged and skeptical. Because of that and because the Internet is full of quick fixes that don't actually work, I'd like to discuss a slow one that does. Sensate focus exercises, designed by sex researchers Masters and Johnson, have been helping couples achieve greater sexual intimacy for decades. They do this paradoxically, by slowing people down and taking intercourse off the table for a while.

Here’s an broad overview of the steps:

- Disconnect from distractions like chores, TV, pets, children

- Refrain from recreational drugs or alcohol

- Spend about an hour alone with your partner 2-3 times a week, taking turns touching each other, focusing on your own sensations while you touch them, gradually adding in more mutual touch, more erotic touch, slowly building up to intercourse (or whatever you do that you call having sex, usually, but not necessarily some form of penetration), only when you are both ready, comfortable and confident. If that sounds hard to schedule, think about how you much time spend watching TV or surfing the internet looking for ways to spice your sex life.

- Between sessions, journal about what you are learning, talk to your partner about it, and notice how you are becoming intimately and erotically connected as a team in this joint project.

- Repeat and refine this process as directed by your sex therapist.

The actual instructions are very detailed, and with good reason: people easily get stuck in negative thoughts, misunderstandings and self-criticism. Slowing down and following instructions builds success into the process. It's best to work with a certified sex therapist who understands the process well enough to coach you through it and troubleshoot any difficulties you may experience.

Here’s why it works so well:

By allowing you to rediscover your natural curiosity in an an open, exploratory, non-pressured way, free from negative evaluation, you experience touch in a new way. Disconnecting sex and touching your partner from negative evaluation, you can become more able to enjoy pleasurable sensations again, negotiate how each of you does and doesn’t like to be touched and associate your partner and sex with openness and freedom. Think of it as mindfulness meditation for your sex life.


I am heartened that I have  colleagues who continue to find ways to address this contentious issue, who are not willing to accept easy answers, who are dedicated, like I am to discovering what works, and to being opening to new information:

Shame doesn't work

This  New York Magazine (published 1/31/17) is an important contribution to the conversation about how to treat sexual compulsions, especially about the fact that shaming people is counterproductive. While that may seem obvious, a lot of providers haven't caught up to the research:

Now more than ever people need the facts about sex

Marty Klein's article on how facts should shape public policy especially about sexuality is worth reading. I spend a lot of time in my practice undoing the damage done by ignorancee about human sexuality:


When a client comes to me with this complaint, it is usually for one of these reasons:

- most of their recent sexual activity has been with porn, and now that they are with a new partner, they are having trouble connecting to that person

- their partner thinks they want too much sex, want the wrong kind of sex, or that they watch too much porn

- their partner caught them practicing non-consensual non monogamy 

- another therapist thinks they are a sex addict

- they are uncomfortable with or feel stigmatized by their desires. 

Because I practice solution focused brief therapy, a way of working that looks at  how clients will recognize a successful outcome for therapy, I don’t need to label a person to help them, and I don’t need to give them advice. I do need listen very attentively, and ask a series of carefully crafted questions to elicit precise descriptions of what things will be like they begin to improve, how they will know they are on the right track. Listening carefully for these clues inevitably leads to helpful conclusions. These are questions that will lead to improvement, descriptions of when things were better, and to pick up clues in what they say. 

While as a certified sex therapist I have must subject matter expertise, it is equally important for me to have expertise in relating to clients in a way that actually helps them. I have heard so many stories about experts who didn’t listen to clients, gave advice that didn’t apply to them, or talked down to them. It is only once I have truly understood how a client measures success that I can accurately point them to resources.

There is a a growing body of evidence ( to support the idea that asking someone solution focused questions is much more likely to help clients than telling them what to do. When this way of relating is backed up with knowledge of sexual and psychological health, my client and I have truly built a solution that works for them.