Free Sex Therapy Offers to Be Posted in NYU Dorms This Fall, Therapist Says

By Danielle Tcholakian on August 7, 2014 8:31am 

 The fliers refer students to the Program in Human Sexuality at the NYU Langone Medical Center.
The fliers refer students to the Program in Human Sexuality at the NYU Langone Medical Center.
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NYU Langone Medical Center

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Paging Dr. Ruth.

New York University plans to post fliers offering free sex therapy for freshmen — as well as returning students — on every floor of every one of the school's 23 dorms this fall, the program's director told DNAinfo New York.

"Having problems related to SEX?" the fliers ask in large, bold letters, listing issues including "difficulty reaching orgasm" and "difficulty communicating your sexual needs." The fliers then refer students to the Program in Human Sexuality at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

The hospital's sex therapy program started 35 years ago, but this is the first year they're doing this kind of outreach to NYU students, according to program co-director Amy Rosenberg.

NYU's head of dorm life agreed to post the fliers throughout the school's dorms, rather than just waiting for the student counseling center to refer students who stepped forward to ask for help, Rosenberg said.

NYU spokesman John Beckman said in an email that the proposal to distribute the fliers was "still under discussion, as I understand it."

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Rosenberg shared a copy of the flier with DNAinfo and said the direct outreach to students is particularly important because young adults often find it difficult to seek help, so they wait until their struggles become overwhelming.

"They're tormented by it," she said. "It does take a lot for them to get help because there's so much shame involved in this."

The program treats a range of issues. Most common among men is erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, and among women, low libido or never having an orgasm, a condition called anorgasmia.

The clients work with gynecologists and urologists to rule out any biological causes — low testosterone, for example — but with college students, these issues are often caused by anxiety or prior traumatic experiences, Rosenberg said.

 Amy Rosenberg, licensed clinical social worker and co-director of the Program in Human Sexuality at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Amy Rosenberg, licensed clinical social worker and co-director of the Program in Human Sexuality at NYU Langone Medical Center.
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www.AmyRosenbergLCSW.com

Rosenberg said erectile dysfunction is becoming more prevalent than premature ejaculation among young men, a rise specialists attribute to a "prevalence of porn."

"A 20-year-old who started watching porn at 12 or 13, seeing exactly the body parts that they want and watching sex in exactly the way that they want, it's more difficult for them to get turned on by a real person," Rosenberg said. She said the issue seems to affect straight and gay men equally.

The sex therapy program is open to the public as well as NYU students, but members of the public pay a fee of $50 per session, while students are treated for free after an initial $50 evaluation.

Even $50 is still an extremely low cost, Rosenberg said. Sex therapy is typically $250 to $700 a session and isn't covered by insurance, though sexual issues often overlap with conditions that are covered, like depression and anxiety.

Rosenberg said about a third of the patients seen by the program are students from NYU, both undergrads and graduate students. The 18- to 24-year-olds make up about a third of the patients, she said.

Patients can come alone or bring their partners.

The therapy is given mostly by fourth-year psychiatry residents who take the class as an elective, and are closely supervised by a team of doctors, social workers and professors who specialize in sex therapy. The program also includes practicing psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who want training in sex therapy, and even some members of clergy.

Rosenberg emphasized that the fourth-year psychiatry residents have completed medical school and are in the last year of their residency.

"They're very experienced," she said. "These are people who are really running things at the hospitals. By the time they're at this point, they're just below the attendings."

For more information about NYU's sex therapy program, call 212-263-7419.

NYU-Langone Human Sexuality Program

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