The Scoop: Couples often live years in misery, waiting until their unhappiness finally threatens to end their marriage or relationship, before they seek therapy. But it’s not necessary to wait until a crisis to ask for help. Dr. Dawn Michael is a sex therapist and relationship counselor who specializes in working with couples who are experiencing intimacy problems and conflict. Dr. Dawn uses a judgment-free and relaxed style with clients to help them work through physical and emotional issues and make their sex lives better.

Sometimes bad habits can form in long-term relationships. Couples can fall into toxic patterns that make love more difficult to maintain. When that happens, sex therapist and relationship counselor Dr. Dawn Michael can step in with research-backed solutions. 

For example, one partner in a marriage or serious relationship may quickly resort to anger in the form of yelling, screaming, or swearing during a conflict. This is a form of bullying, and commonly the recipient of the anger will be just as quick to make excuses for the other person. Unfortunately, these bad habits are part of a cycle of abuse.

Photo of Dr. Dawn Michael
Dr. Dawn Michael is a sex therapist and author based in California.

“The end result of a husband or wife with unchecked anger management issues like this is that the person who is being screamed at will eventually become numb to and resentful,” Dr. Dawn wrote in her blog. “All of the love, affection, and respect they had for each other will vanish.”

Instead of trying to change the behavior of the angry spouse, Dr. Dawn recommends that the recipient change the way they respond to the bad behavior. She encourages spouses to stop accepting the abuse. When the other person raises their voice or starts to verbally attack their significant other, it isn’t the best time to engage. 

It’s better to address the situation together in couples counseling, and Dr. Dawn urges couples to do so before it becomes a crisis that could end the marriage or partnership.

“Most people are able to control themselves and their anger if and when expected to,” she wrote.

Dr. Dawn has years of experience as a sex and relationship expert and has been published in national magazines and websites. She works with couples directly and offers advice through her popular YouTube channel, articles, and books.

Communication is Key to Healthy Relationships

Before Dr. Dawn started her current work in sex therapy, she was a communications major in college. She went on to earn her master’s degree in marriage, family, and child therapy. She completed 3,000 hours working in a psychiatric hospital to gain experience in the field.

At the same time, she worked in the family business as an interior designer. But even then, she focused her efforts on improving the relationships of couples. 

“I created couples interior design courses on how to decorate a house and get along with each other,” she said. “The couples courses turned into how to make the master bedroom more romantic.”

She ended up taking over the family business, and she stayed busy designing several homes while becoming well-known in the industry for combining interior design with couples therapy. 

Over the years, she started a family herself. When her father was diagnosed with cancer, she and her family decided to sell the business. That’s when she shifted her career to focus exclusively on sex and couples therapy. 

“When I was no longer doing the design work, I started writing articles and I became the L.A. Love and Marriage examiner,” she said. 

At age 40, she decided to go back to school for her clinical sexology certification and later her PhD in human sexuality. She noticed a significant trend that one of the basic problems that couples face has to do with intimacy and poor communication skills. She wanted to help, and so she became a certified sexologist.

Therapy Can Help Improve Sex Lives Too

Dr. Dawn said her goal for couples counseling is simple: She aims to improve people’s sex lives.

“Some of my clients have had past abuse issues, sexual function issues, or other things that are not easy to talk about. I use humor in my sessions — with no judgment. I have a very open mind,” she said. “I have helped many couples stay in their marriages and improve their relationships by avoiding divorce or splitting their family apart.” 

Book cover
Dr. Dawn has written extensively about sex, relationships, and love.

Her clients are primarily couples who are married and in their early 20s and older. They span the spectrum of professions and backgrounds. All her clients come to her for help with sexual issues. Those problems can stem from mental issues or physical problems, or a mix of both.

Some male clients look for Dr. Dawn to assist them in overcoming problems with sexual function or help in finding the right partner for them. 

She most often works directly with clients in private sessions. The first session, which is 80 minutes long, is focused on getting to know their sex history, sex education, and personal issues. 

Common concerns that arise include an imbalance in libido between partners, a need to spice up their sex lives, painful sex, or even finding someone with whom to create a meaningful, intimate relationship. 

“One problem that is common is the use of pornography and how that can impact a relationship,” she said. “The birth of a child can be a wonderful experience, but can create problems on a couples sex life that can go on for years without proper resolution.”

The Happy Spouse: Adding More Virtual Options for Clients 

Couples therapy isn’t the only way Dr. Dawn dispenses relationship advice. She has created a library of helpful YouTube videos and blog articles that are free online. Dr. Dawn draws from her experience in communications to share her knowledge with couples in need.

“I feel blessed by each person that I see. They share their innermost secrets with me and allow me to help them,” she said. “If they are not able to see me in a session personally, they can use my guide book to help them.”

Dr. Dawn’s latest book is called “The Ultimate Intimacy Guide for Passionate People.” It is designed to help both individuals and couples learn how to work together to create more intimate, loving connections. It was written as a complement to her first book, “My Husband Won’t Have Sex With Me.”

Both books are based on her experience working with couples for over two decades and listening to their common concerns, struggles, and fears.

Dr. Dawn is currently working on a third book and adding more videos to her YouTube channel. The subjects covered in her videos are diverse and tackle all sorts of issues in the bedroom.

“I have helped many young married couples with children work through their issues and stay together helping them heal themselves and their marriages,” she said. “I feel blessed to help people, as well as learn from each person along the way.”