Clinical Sexologist - Characteristics and Myths

07 August, 2020
Have you ever wondered what a clinical sexologist does? Do you know what kind of training they receive? Is everything you hear about this profession true? Continue reading and you'll be surprised!
 

A clinical sexologist is a figure surrounded by a certain aura of mystery. Before saying who they are and what they’re like, it’s a good idea to talk about the discipline itself. Sexology is the science that studies the differences between the sexes. Their identities, mixtures, differences, and interactions, both intimate and public. In other words, it doesn’t study sex per se but both genders, with all the diversity each one of them entails. This is because there are many ways of living and feeling when you’re a man or a woman.

In this case, this is a scientific discipline that’s approximately one hundred years old. In other words, it isn’t as established or normalized as other disciplines.

Precisely the newness of this science fuels uncertainty, ignorance, and, along the way, prejudice. Mainly because, when a given discipline doesn’t have a long journey, it needs time to settle, institutionalize, and enjoy a certain approval and social consideration. In addition, there’s a popular belief that this kind of therapy is the sole and exclusive manager of “intimate problems“. But in fact, it deals with many more situations.

The newness and the subject it deals with make it rather peculiar. So much so, that clinical sexologists are professionals who still lack knowledge. What exactly do they do? What’s their training? These are just two of the most frequently asked questions. The answers to which are still ignored by many members of society.

 
Two people and their therapist.

Characteristics of a clinical sexologist

One can group sexology interventions into four broad groups: education, counseling, therapy, and research. These four areas, different and diverse, provide a diversity of professional profiles that are more than noticeable. Thus, it’s hard to define a specific professional profile.

However, a sexologist should have certain traits. At least, they help them develop in their chosen profession:

  • Social skills. In practically all areas, a clinical sexologist will have to deal directly with individual or couple difficulties. Thus, it requires certain diplomacy in the treatment, the words, the forms, and, ultimately, the type of communication. They must strike a balance between getting close while remaining professional, and vice versa. It’s definitely a difficult task that requires practice.
  • Curiosity. Be it to address subjects that are difficult to deal with in other areas, or simply because the study of the sexes offers a lot of diversity. In fact, the sexologist is a constant student. Thus, it’s hard for a person in this profession not to be curious and cultivate knowledge.
 
  • Mental opening. A clinical sexologist mustn’t only be willing to learn every day. They must also be willing to be open-minded and receive information from many sources to then discard or assume it before processing it. In other words, a sexologist, due to the continuous and rapid evolution, must constantly update their knowledge.

The training of a clinical sexologist

You already know what a sexologist does and what characteristics are recommended for the exercise of their profession. However, perhaps you don’t know what kind of academic training they have. It’s important to highlight that sexology is more or less developed in general terms depending on the country. This means it has an academic and labor entity in those countries in which the discipline is now advanced.

Contrary to what some people may think, a sexologist doesn’t have to be a doctor or a psychologist who specialized in sexology. However, they must have some kind of training in this area.

In fact, in some countries, there are some great sexologists who graduated in sociology, journalism, physical therapy, philosophy, social work, and anthropology, among others. This discipline is so broad that the diversity of academic profiles guarantees it works from practically all perspectives.

Two people in therapy.
 

Myths about clinical sexologists

“They only intervene in porn addictions.”

Yes, sexologists treat porn addictions but they do a lot more. Since, in addition to working in the face of this type of difficulties, a sexologist can also help with breakups and infidelities, for example.

“They’re really good in bed.”

This myth may seem nice and even funny, but despite being a widespread myth, it can create difficulties. It can also lead to unrealistic expectations about how a sexologist operates in their most intimate setting.

“Being good in bed” is an expression that’s rejected in sexology. This is because there’s no such thing as a “proper way” to have sex but many. One must learn those things that bring more pleasure in order to have a satisfactory sex life.

“They mainly teach you how to use condoms in high school.”

More than a myth, this is the typical image regarding the intervention of sexology in the school system. It’s important to talk about sexual health. Thus, they do teach how to put on a condom and what kinds of contraceptive methods exist. They also teach students about sexually transmitted diseases. But they go further and give students the tools to be in charge of their sexuality and not give in to the pressure exerted by their peers.

It’s also important to teach how to manage intimacy in a relationship so that boys and girls learn their boyfriend or girlfriend can’t control it. And this is just one example of the kind of intervention sexologists carry out in classrooms.

 

An exercise of visibility of sexology as a profession is necessary to put an end to the stigmas and myths around it. At the end of the day, the main beneficiaries of this exercise will be the users who need any type of sexological assistance.