Relate issues warning on harm done by unqualified 'sexperts'

Indira Das-Gupta

Relate, the UK's biggest provider of sex therapy, is calling for tough new laws to regulate the talking-therapies industry because, it says, unqualified "sexperts" are putting people's relationships at risk.

The charity claims that reality TV shows such as Channel 4's Sex Inspectors, where couples are offered tips on improving their sex lives, could be giving people the wrong advice, which could go on to harm their relationships in the long term.

Under present regulations, anyone can set themselves up as a sex expert without training. Relate believes that the entire therapies industry is ready for an overhaul.

It believes that recent growth in demand for advice is leading more untrained people to set themselves up as sex therapists, undermining trained professionals.

Paula Hall a sex therapist at Relate said: "The untrained therapist often assumes wrongly that a relationship is on the rocks, and some couples split before discovering that their sexual problems are habitual or often hormonal."

Relate chief executive Angela Sibson added: "We've seen the consequences of bad counselling and we urge the Government to strengthen regulation of the whole talking-therapies industry, which will bring new credibility to this rapidly growing field."

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