The Heterosexual Dilemma: Special Considerations in Sex Therapy with Straight Couples (4CE’s)


October 17, 2021

9am-1pm EST (4 CEs)

Presented by: Stephen Snyder, MD

Live Via Webinar OR Via Video Recording following the live class


Women and men tend to differ in important ways — psychologically, culturally, and erotically. These differences tend to figure prominently in the problems that bring heterosexual couples to sex therapy. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the ordinary erotic differences between women and men; differences in male and female psychosexual development; key cultural scripts governing male and female erotic experience; and the expectable frustrations of heterosexual life. We’ll examine how a gender-sensitive approach, informed by a knowledge of male-female differences, can improve assessment and treatment for the most common sexual problems experienced by heterosexual couples. Case examples will be used throughout.

Learning Objectives:

  1.     Discuss the differences between men’s and women’s social and emotional development, and how these differences may play out in heterosexual relationships.
  2.     Describe the common differences between male and female eroticism, and the misunderstandings these often cause for heterosexual couples.
  3.     Describe the “conventional script” for heterosexual mating, and discuss how individuals’ erotic natures may or may not fit this script.
  4.   Explain how a gender-sensitive approach can improve treatment for the most common sexual problems experienced by heterosexual couples.


Activity Schedule:

9:00 – 10:00    We’ll look critically at “unisex” approaches to sex therapy; review the many reasons why gender is a difficult (and dangerous) subject; discuss the ordinary erotic differences between men and women; examine key differences in the psychosexual development of men and women; and relate all the above to the clinical situation of working with male-female couples in sex therapy.

10:00 – 10:40    Most heterosexual couples follow highly scripted male and female roles. Failure of one or both partners to satisfy their roles ordinarily leads to anxiety and distress. We’ll discuss how this “conventional script” for heterosexual mating puts different pressures on men and women in couples, and specific dilemmas that can occur when partners fail to follow the conventional script.

10:40 – 11:00  Q+A

11:00 – 12:00    Male-female relationships are inherently frustrating. We’ll discuss the ordinary erotic frustrations of heterosexual life; common sexual miscommunications, sexual conundrums, and sexual impasses between women and men; and male neuro-atypicality and its impact on female partners. We’ll also look at the infantile roots of men’s emotional masochism and discuss strategies for resolving it.

12:00 – 12:45   Finally, we’ll apply the conceptual tools developed in the previous three hours to the assessment and treatment of the most common sexual problems in male-female couples. We’ll discuss gender-sensitive assessment and treatment for male and female arousal difficulties, ED, premature ejaculation, difficulty reaching orgasm, and loss of desire.

12:45 – 1:00  Q+A and conclude

Additional information

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