Diana Urman, PhD LCSW

As a sex therapist, I get a lot of questions from men concerning their desire to improve their sexual performance.

When men complain about their performance anxiety, I begin my assessment by asking them about their beliefs and values regarding their male roles in partnerships.

Only twenty five of the fifty states in the USA require their public schools to teach sex education. Half may seem like a lot, but many states teach abstinence-based sex education. This means that students are learning why they shouldn’t have sex, instead of how to prevent diseases and pregnancy and about the pleasure aspects of sex.

Growing up without education on how to express themselves sexually and out of fear of being rejected by women, men often do not feel comfortable with their sexuality or feel sexually confident. Often, they feel disconnected from their body if they were taught early on that they shouldn’t have sex. At the same time, the societal expectations are that men should always be ready for sex as long as their partner wants it too. A lot of sexual confidence and power is focused around the penis and sexual performance, and the lack of education in most of America from childhood affects men’s sex lives throughout adulthood.

Many men feel responsible for providing sexual pleasure to their partner. They believe they should be able to give their partner what they want without any guidance, and they should always know how to satisfy them. They feel responsible for their partner’s pleasure so that they don’t feel unsatisfied and take it personally.

One of my roles as a therapist is to assist my clients in realizing what their beliefs are so we can dispel many of the societal and cultural myths. I recognize that more often than not, our expectations are not realistic or attainable, and a lot of time are very harmful in viewing yourself in a positive and realistic way.

In addition to debunking our societal myths and questioning our belief systems, I offer my clients a series of somatic techniques to control and let go of performance anxiety and learn to control their ejaculation.

In my next blog, I’ll be talking about erectile dysfunction, why you may have it, and how to detect and treat this common concern.




Blackman, Kate. “Sex Education In Schools.” State Policies on Sex Education in Schools. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

Diana Urman, PhD, LCSW

A long time ago, before I began my education, I used to think: Why is sex so difficult? Isn’t this something that comes naturally to people just like it does to animals?

One of the most damaging myths of our society is since sex is natural, we should know how to do it. Most of us assume we should be born with the knowledge of how to perfectly satisfy our partners and excel at it. Who needs a class when sex comes naturally to animals? Why should we need to learn how to please our partner if we are supposedly born with the knowledge of what to do and how to engage with our partner for mutual satisfaction?

Many of these beliefs and cultural messages are introduced early on in our lives, and most of them are implied and never questioned by us as they are part of our upbringings. We shame ourselves by being convinced that sex should come to us naturally as it comes naturally in the animal kingdom, and we feel inadequate when we fail to satisfy our partner.

There are numerous factors that aren’t being accounted for while comparing ourselves to our animal counterparts.

First, many cultures view sex from the standpoint of shame and oppression. Our sex education is based on fearing pregnancy and teaching STI prevention. We are not being taught about the pleasure of sex as many religions view sex as sinful, dirty, and dangerous.

Based on how sexuality is widely viewed, it is not surprising that a large number of people are insecure towards sex and lack knowledge about how to express themselves sexually and communicate their sexual desires to their partners, and even within themselves.

Imagine that we are given a map to explore the woods. When we get lost, we don’t seem to question the accuracy of the map. Our natural tendency is to question our validity, and blame ourselves. The truth is that the map we were given isn’t necessarily accurate. And in this case, it is instead a set of confusing messages and restrictions.

Many women are taught to accept the mind-blowing version of sex, the ideal. They are raised with the notion that men are responsible for arousing them. Most women and men don’t understand that it takes on average 20 minutes of stimulation for a women to get fully aroused.

Many men also learn that their sexual desire is overpowering and wrong, and needs to be controlled, as it will not be reciprocated and welcomed by women. In addition, there is lot of false information about having control over erections and that men hold the responsibility for providing sexual pleasure to their partners.

Unsurprisingly, humans are very private when it comes to sex. Sexual expression is typically only shown when not in private.
Animals, on the other hand, are very open with expressing themselves sexually.

They learn mating behaviors by watching others, along with from their own biological instincts. With that being said, if you take a baby monkey and raise it without companionship of biologically similar animals, it wouldn’t know how to engage sexually. The animal kingdom learns about sex by watching their counterparts have sex. In the wild, sex is a natural and playful part of day-to-day activity.

In addition, a human’s prefrontal cortex is much more complex than the one in the higher primates. When it comes to sexual desire and arousal, we require much more visual stimulation than our animal counterparts. Since humans are socially conditioned and are the products of their environment, their sexual desire requires a lot of communication to express their unique sexual needs to each other. According to Dr. Marlene Zuk, professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn About Sex from Animals, “Animals don’t have to work for simultaneous orgasms, but if you have weird circumstances, biology might not get the last word.” Animals have less biases that change how they think of sex, and as a result, their sex lives are much simpler.

In conclusion, we are exposed to a lot of confusing and harmful myths and societal messages which shape the way we view and judge how we engage sexually. If we don’t question these beliefs, we aren’t capable of freeing ourselves of them, and we continue perpetuating damaging myths. We are not letting ourselves learn about how to understand and communicate our sexual needs and desires, although we can be taught how to approach sex with more realistic expectations, and develop tools to be more expressive and connected to ourselves and our partners.

As a sex therapist and educator I am here to help you navigate through confusing and self-defeating patterns based off inaccurate beliefs, unrecognized awkwardness, and shame around sex, and engage in the learning process about yours and partner’s desires, how to communicate them, and how to fulfill them.


Zuk, Marlene. Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn About Sex from Animals. Berkeley: University of California P, 2003. Print.

Uncovering The Truth About Judgement-Free Therapy

Diana Urman, PhD


Can a therapist really be judgement-free?

For those who are considering going to a sex therapist, there are many important qualities to consider in a therapist. An unbiased point of view and non-judgmental approach are vital.

The truth of the matter is that completely judgement-free therapists don’t exist because none of us are truly judgement-free. All of us have personal beliefs, values, and ethics, which make us judgmental. These personal beliefs can make it difficult for people, including therapists, to see a different point of view. The real trick in finding a therapist is not to look for someone judgement free, but to focus on finding someone who is not judgement-laden, and is able to put their judgement aside to really listen.

Finding a therapist who is aware of their own biases and has the ability and willingness to recognize them is as important as compassion and empathy. A therapist who recognizes their personal obstacles and is capable of carefully separating their own values and beliefs from their clients’ is the professional you are searching for. If a therapist’s personal beliefs are not affecting their ability to listen to their clients, then you have found a true therapist, a professional whose role in your life will be instrumental to positive, life-long change.

In addition to being a sex therapist, I am a certified clinical sexologist and hold a PhD in human sexuality. As an experienced therapist, I have worked to restructure my attitudes and biases; I am aware of the beliefs, values, and ethics I still hold. This awareness allows me to be as judgement free as possible.

While listening to a client, I am continually seeing their point of view while remaining in touch with my personal ethics and values. At the same time, I make sure I am acting on behalf of my clients, not myself.

If you’re experiencing difficulties in your relationship or have concerns that affect your sex life, please contact me and let me know how I can be useful. Find me on my website, Diana’s Therapy, my Facebook page, Diana Urman Sex And Relationship Therapy,  and my Yelp listing, Diana Urman Therapy.




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