Frequently Asked Questions about Sexology
What is the difference between a sex therapist and a sexologist?
I am NOT a therapist, counselor, psychologist or mental health care provider. As a sexologist, I assess people’s concerns specific to sexual problems and look for ways that will allow them to improve/enhance their sexuality. Working with a relationship counselor or sex therapist is beneficial when there are emotional or relationship issues.
What kind of education does a sexologist have? Are you licensed?
People study sexology at the doctoral level. They come to the field with graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines including: counseling, sociology, social work, healthcare, women’s studies, theology, and anthropology.
I have an undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition, a Master’s degree in health education and in 2009, I completed my Ph. D. in Human Sexuality. I am certified by the American College of Sexology (http://www.americancollegeofsexologists.org/).
Can I benefit from seeing a therapist and a sexologist simultaneously?
Sometimes, as people discuss their sexual concerns, they reveal deeper relationship issues that should be addressed by a therapist. If this were the case, I would refer you to a therapist. Whether or not you work concurrently with a sexologist and a therapist is a decision you make after consulting with both. Every situation is unique.
§ For example, a woman complains about low sexual desire. She also resents her partner for a variety of deep and significant issues. They are disconnected in their marriage AND do not have sex. It would be best for this woman/couple to work on their relationship issues and then address their sexual concerns. However, this woman might choose to see a sexologist and therapist at the same time. Or, perhaps, she might choose to take a break from therapy for several weeks and work with a sexologist for a few sessions.
§ In another example, a woman survives sexual assault. She should first address the critical emotional healing with her therapist. When the time is right, I would help with the work of healing her sexual wounds by reconnecting her with her body and sexuality.
How long would I work with a sexologist?
Because work with a sexologist is more narrowly focused on sexual concerns rather than relationship concerns, it isn’t usually long term. However, different people progress at different rates. The “typical” number of visits for a client is roughly three appointments every two weeks, then two appointments three to four weeks apart, then appointments as needed. I usually don’t work with a client for more than three to four months. Work progresses rather quickly on a single issue if the client is consistent with sessions and assigned homework.
§ For example, a client comes to me with a complaint about premature ejaculation. His work will be developing ejaculatory control. I assign him exercises to do at home to achieve both this and increased pleasure-awareness. For some men, this might take one or two weeks, for others it might take a little longer.
What is a private consultation session like?
After we’ve discussed your concern and arranged an appointment over the phone, we’ll meet in my office which is small space but warm, comfortable and private. During our first visit, I’d learn more about your background and offer factual information about your specific concern(s). I’d then give you some “homework” to work on before our next appointment.
In subsequent sessions, we would start off by discussing your experience with your home assignments and addressing questions. I then offer you more information, discuss the progress being made, address any barriers that may have arisen, and conclude with assigning more exercises to do at home.
Who are your typical clients?
I see single people and couples who are heterosexual, homosexual, and everything in between. I see men and women; young people (including youth and children) and old people; people who already have spicy sex lives to those who want a spicy sex life. All are welcome.
My partner is too embarrassed to go to a professional about our sexual concerns. Can I come alone?
Certainly! What is most important is that your partner is willing to participate in the exercises that are assigned for the both of you to complete.
Do you treat sex-addiction?
The term sex-addiction is a hotly debated topic among sexologists. Some feel that you can’t be addicted to sex, other say that, in rare cases, you can. Still others feel that using the term “sex-addict” pathologizes all sexuality. And then there’s the question of who decides what behavior is normal and what isn’t. There are many programs that address “sex-addiction” and they can be costly with expectations for behavior change that is both drastic and shaming.
The bottom line is, if your sexual behavior is causing you stress then what you name it is unimportant. I would be happy to talk with you on the phone and tell you if I could be of assistance or if this situation would be out of the scope of my practice.
I have pain during sex. Should I see my OB/GYN or a sexologist?
First, give me a call. Pain during intercourse could be remedied with something as simple as a lubricant or a different sexual position. Other situations may require a visit to your OB/GYN.
What does “homework” involve? Can you give an example?
Homework may involve exercises I give for a couple to do together or they can be more self-reflective, done alone. For example, I might ask couples to spend time at home just touching as much as they can—hold hands, gives massages, sit with your feet in each other’s lap—but no genital or breast contact. Or, if a woman is experiencing low sexual desire, I might ask her to do a sex desire timeline of her life. This is a simple but enlightening exercise.
What does it mean when you say permission-giving, pleasure-seeking and pleasure enhancing?
With all my clients, I stress that their sexual concerns are normal. I want help my clients to find ways to have the best sex they are capable of having.
§ For example, there is nothing wrong with fantasizing. You don’t have to give it up to have a good sex life.
§ There is nothing wrong with reading or viewing erotic material.
§ Sexual aids can enhance sexuality.
§ Explicit sex education material provides opportunities to learn new techniques and skills to increase sexual pleasure.
§ Masturbation, and being able to talk about it is important, even when in a relationship.
§ Exploration during sex, such as using erotic language, role playing, trying different sexual positions, or oral sex, can increase enjoyment and pleasure for both you and your partner.
Will my insurance cover a sexologist?