Sex therapists and clinical sexologists do way more than just make people giggle and squirm when it’s their turn at a dinner party to tell the guests what they do for a job. “Wait, you do what?” “Did you have to do pass a practical exam?”
The revelation is usually followed by a barrage of questions and more than a few jokes.
To put it as simply as possible: A sexologist is someone who has extensively studied, at a University level, the field of human sexuality in all its aspects. There are presently three fields of professional practice in sexology: research, sexual education and clinical practice. A sexologist can be adept at all three, or specialise in at least two of these areas.
You may be a little nervous about the thought of telling a total stranger about your sexual concerns or intimate relationships. That is certainly very understandable, because in general as a society, despite seeing sexualized imagery everywhere, talking openly and intimately about sex is often seen as a taboo.
I’m here to clear up some common misconceptions about my job.
5 things a sexologist won’t do in a session
- You can keep your clothes ON
No, you will not be asked to take your clothes off and I too will NOT be naked.
Nakedness is not optional. Wearing clothing is a must.
- I will not have sex with you
(I am not a sex surrogate, or sex worker – these are very different roles)
I belong to the Australian Society of Sexologists and abide by a set of rules/values and this is one of those rules. Sex will NOT be part of our work together. However, talking about it will be.
- I will not touch you (or your partner) or your genitals
(see number 2) However I may show you drawings, photographs, instructional DVD’s or video clips in order to assist you with some of your sexual concerns.
- I will not judge you
This is a safe space. Believe me when I say sexologists and sex therapists have heard it all. We won’t laugh at you (well, unless you tell me a really funny joke)
- I will not and cannot prescribe you pharmaceutical medication
I am not a medical doctor – I will refer you to one if you need or ask for it.
What are some of the thing I will do?
Talk. We are going to talk, a lot. Confidentially.
I know that ridiculous restrictive, unrealistic societal sexpectations can get ALL of us down. We will talk, explore and unpack your feelings and concerns about your presenting issue. I will ask you a lot of very specific questions regarding sexual activity and sexual concerns, as well as learning about your current and past relationships, childhood, family, beliefs about gender, sexuality, relationships etc.
This is not because I am nosey, but it helps me to get an idea of why you might be feeling the way you are and what we can do, together, to improve and enhance your life.
Oh, and I will most probably give you homework too (but I promise it won’t be maths).