BACKGROUND The treatment of sexual dysfunctions underwent a great change when sex therapy was developed more than 25 years ago. Since then the treatment programme has been modified in various ways, the response to treatment evaluated and other treatment approaches introduced.
METHOD A review of the literature concerning the application and outcome of sex therapy and other treatments for sexual dysfunction was conducted.
RESULTS The format of effective conjoint sex therapy is now fairly clear and there is good understanding of the sexual dysfunctions that respond best to this treatment and the couples most likely to benefit. Less is known about the effects of treatment of individuals without partners, bibliotherapy and combining sex therapy with marital therapy and with physical methods of treatment.
CONCLUSIONS Sex therapy is now a well-established form of treatment. It should be more widely available for patients seen in psychiatry departments.