Emma Schmidt & Associates: Better Health Includes Sexual Health

Emma Schmidt & Associates: Better Health Includes Sexual Health

As newlyweds, Emma Schmidt, Ph.D., and her husband expected that their sex life would be great. The couple had been raised in a faith-based community and abstained until marriage. But after the wedding, there was a problem with intercourse.

Dr. Schmidt was disheartened by how difficult it was to get guidance with their sexual issues. Ultimately, she found a pelvic floor therapist and was diagnosed with vaginismus, a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles involuntarily or persistently contract, causing pain.

Relieved to receive a fixable diagnosis, Dr. Schmidt felt compelled to help others in the same boat.

“I knew that there were other people having relationship challenges or shame responses to sex,” says Dr. Schmidt.

Twelve years ago, she opened a sex therapy practice because she felt strongly about making sexual healthcare more accessible. She has a Ph.D. in clinical sexology and is a licensed professional clinical counselor, supervisor and certified sex therapist. Now she has 10 sex therapists as part of her practice, and the practice has grown every year.

Today, Dr. Schmidt works to demystify what sex therapy actually is. “It’s getting to know yourself as a sexual being,” says Dr. Schmidt. “It’s learning how to date when you have sexual pain. It’s navigating increasing intimacy and decreasing shame. It encompasses a lot.”

Dr. Schmidt and her therapists specialize in different areas of sex and relationship therapy. For instance, some tackle the medical side of sexual pain, sexual dysfunction, vaginismus and postpartum care. Others help patients with low libido and those who have gone through cancer, menopause or have other medical concerns that can challenge intimacy. Some therapists focus on relationships, infidelity or trauma.

“Usually, people come to sex therapy when they’re at the end of their rope, but we want them to be proactive and come in before that. They don’t have to suffer when it could be something that’s treatable,” says Dr. Schmidt, who notes that sex therapy is for partners, couples and individuals.

Changing Lives Abroad & At Home

Emma Schmidt & Associates has four locations: Hyde Park and West Chester, Ohio; Fort Mitchell, Kentucky; and Fishers, Indiana. They even have a global impact in Nepal and can provide services in Spanish.

“We approach our mission locally, nationally and globally,” says Dr. Schmidt.

In Nepal, they have partnered with a safe haven for girls (usually 17 years and younger) rescued from sex trafficking through their partnership with a nonprofit called “Mukti”.

“We support a care team who do a lot of trauma care,” says Dr. Schmidt. They are helping to heal the girls and train the therapists, including offering group supervision and group therapy for the care team since their work can be intense.

Locally, Dr. Schmidt and her staff give speaking engagements, partnering with like-minded people in the sex health field, such as sex medicine doctors, pelvic floor therapists and other community members like Women Helping Women, who want more access to sexual healthcare for their community.

Dr. Schmidt wants sexual conversations to be just as commonplace as talking about food.

“Sex topics shouldn’t be shameful or embarrassing,” she says. “Instead, it should feel good to be able to make informed decisions about your body and your sexual health.”.

It’s not unusual for Dr. Schmidt and her team to have clients who have another therapist they visit for other reasons but don’t feel comfortable talking to that therapist about their sexual issues. That’s perfectly okay, says Dr. Schmidt. “We want to supplement people’s therapy experiences.”

The right therapy relationship makes all the difference. Dr. Schmidt and her associates offer free 15-minute consultations to allow clients to see which therapist is the best fit for them.

“We want people to be proactive about their sexual healthcare the same way they are with general healthcare,” says Dr. Schmidt.

Do you need to talk to someone about your sexual health? Emma Schmidt & Associates’ Hyde Park location is at 3665 Erie Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45208. Call 513-438-0448 or visit emma-schmidt.com for more information.

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