There aren’t too many Sexologists out there and since it is a small community most of us know one another. There is one constant that we all seem to get asked many times over the course of careers though. How did you choose to become a Sexologist? The term “sexologist” sounds suspect to many from the beginning.
You can tag “ology” onto just about anything and it sounds hokey. Or they get us confused with sex surrogates, which I don’t mind educating people on the difference, it’s just that it always reminds me that outside my little sphere of the world, people genuinely don’t know.
What is a Sexologist? Sexologists generally have an academic degree of some sort. What they do with this degree can range from sex coaching, to therapy (with a complimentary graduate degree in some form of counseling), they are researchers, work in public health and academia, they may work in the art world, or they may be writers or media experts. Some of us work as expert witnesses on law cases. It really runs the gamut, so no wonder people are confused.
I chose to become a Sexologist because it was such a diverse degree. At 19 years of age through a Human Sexuality course at Arizona State University, I declared my new objective. Damn it, I’d never make money in musical theater any way. So I set out on a plan that would take me eight years to complete. Get an undergrad in something related, then a masters in Counseling Psychology (because I knew I wanted to practice therapy), and then a post-grad degree in Marriage and Family Therapy would round things out as I worked my way to doctorate.But my feelings about sexuality and access to solid sex education go way back to my upbringing, which did not involve any of the latter. Nor was even the mere sign of anyone’s sexuality allowed in our household. Seriously if a kiss on TV lasted more than a second, we were demanded to turn the channel. It was a repressive household and it made me highly aware that other people out there were not functioning with adequate sex education either. I thought of it as completely unjust.
So later on, when I had to “come out” as a Sexologist to my parents they were angry and I think simply didn’t understand. Therefore, they would never discuss it and when a relative called to ask about an update on me, I was deemed a Marriage and Family Therapist. Oh well, so be it. I had sex lives to save.
And that’s what gives back to me everyday. The notion that yes, one can go to school for sex is a real one. I’m reminded every time I get a question e-mailed or phoned into me or when I work with clients on their issues, that the work I do is important. And generally a pretty interesting tidbit of information about me that often becomes a full blown discussion about sex every time I attend a cocktail party. You do what? Why? How? And so it continues…