Once again, Quora has outdone itself with this question. There's something so fundamentally funny about the question, yet it leaves you with a certain amount of fear. We know (or at least hope) that the answer is a clear and outright no, but the fact that the question has been asked in the first place raises quite a bit of concern.As I took on the research part of this segment, somehow I realized why this question was asked in the first place. So let's get into it.
Sex therapy is a form of counselling intended to help people or couples resolve sexual difficulties, such as performance anxiety or relationship problems. Clients generally meet in the therapist’s office. Some choose to attend sessions alone; others bring their partner with them. Session frequency and length usually depend on the client and the type of problem being addressed.
A sex therapist can be a psychiatrist, a marriage and family therapist, a psychologist, or a clinical social worker. We are specially trained in sex therapy methods beyond the minimal amount of training about sexuality that is required for each of those licenses. Sex therapy views sexual issues as being resolved by specifically addressing them, rather than by the assumption that when the individuals in a relationship work out the relationship issues, the sex will just fall into place.
Now, when it comes to the question - "do they have sex as part of treatment?" - the answer is a clear no. But, there are a few sex therapists that do engage in sex with their client as part of therapy. One of the most outspoken ones is Padma Deva.
Padma is a trained psychotherapist who acts as a ‘sexual surrogate’ for men suffering from a variety of sexual problems which are hampering their ability to have a normal physical relationship. When she meets a new client for work she does so not in an office or coffee bar but in the privacy of a hotel room. The meeting typically lasts for two hours during which time the two of them are likely to undress, massage and caress one another. Sometimes they will have full sexual intercourse.
She argues that although we may live in a liberal age, those with sexual problems seldom have the confidence to discuss their issues openly, even with partners. That is where sexual surrogates like her come in. Trained by the International Professional Surrogate Association, Padma says her role is to be a type of a mentor, guiding people who are struggling with intimacy issues.
She and the client meet in a hotel room or rented accommodation for the sessions. Through a mixture of talking and physical exercises, she will teach them how to communicate their desires, and how to manage anxiety so they can connect intimately with a ‘normal’ partner.
A lot of other practising therapists have been outraged over the sexual surrogate controversy though. They believe it is absolutely immoral and unethical to have physical contact of that sort with a client. Clinical psychologist Dr Michael Mantell says: ‘The services of a surrogate do not resolve underlying emotional and relationship difficulties. Surrogacy may teach about sexuality, but it does not teach about love or how to maintain a loving relationship.’
That's the catch, many therapists do think that engaging in physical activities such as sex and being involved personally, helps clients deal with their issues better. In India however, this is an entirely illegal practice. Any kind of therapist is not sanctioned to get physical with their client on any basis.
So, if you asked the question out of simple curiosity - there you go, it's not entirely legal. If you asked in relation to a specific incident, you should probably be cautious and even considering changing your therapist.