Substantive Sexology

· April 9, 2019
In Spain, the trend that unifies all of the knowledge related to sex and the sexes is called substantive sexology. Learn all about it here!

In Spain, there’s a branch of science called substantive sexology. Although you may have heard the term “sexology” before, this particular science is unique. Substantive sexology studies the sexes. The important difference here is the use of “sexes” instead of just “sex”.

Substantive sexology doesn’t just study sex that you “do” (sexual relationships) or the sex that you “have” (genitalia). This discipline studies the sexes as an inherent part of the human condition.

“Sexes” is plural because it refers to female and male genitalia, but also to the infinite ways that people can feel and live like men and women. Consequently, substantive sexology considers sex (the sexes) to be a diversifying factor.

Why “substantive”?

The epistemology is now extensive enough to be able to talk about sexology as a discipline in and of itself, not just a branch or specialization of others. Nevertheless, sexological knowledge is fragmented and dispersed.

You can see the fragmentation in the way that each discipline studies sex as part of the broader topic, but not as a whole. People talk about the psychology of sex, sexual health, sexual anthropology, etc. That makes it difficult for people to take it seriously as its own discipline.

A couple kissing in bed.

People usually associate sexology as the study of what people do in bed. However, sexology is much more comprehensive than that. It includes sex, of course, but also everything that has to do with humans as sexed beings.

Substantive sexology got its name because it aims to be the sexology that encompasses all this fragmented knowledge into one coherent and structured discipline. This science distances itself from the way that other disciplines use “sexual” as an adjective or as a small part of a whole. Instead, sexology studies “the sexes”.

The advantages of substantive sexology

Having a unique identity with an episteme, a history, a methodology, and specific tools allows sexology to treat problems in much more effective and holistic ways. These are some of the benefits of reformulating sexology as a science:

  • Better trained professionals. Substantive sexology guarantees that practitioners have a broad knowledge of human sexuality instead of a narrow understanding of specific facets.
  • More diversity. Studying sex as a differentiating factor and also as a source of diversity guarantees the understanding of all the facets of sexual diversity. At the same time, it makes it possible to treat problems in a much more holistic way.
  • Academic participation. Unifying the discourse into one discipline makes it more likely for substantive sexology to be a university major. Gathering all the knowledge of sexology into one discipline is motivation in and of itself to reach the goal.
  • Service to society. This knowledge is going to clarify quite a few doubts that people have about sex and sexuality. Concepts like virginity, desire, seduction, or practices that are sometimes considered taboo will be free of prejudices or stereotypes. How will that happen? Through professional substantive sexologists who will provide a higher quality sexual education.
A couple with a sexologist.

A holistic approach

This new sexology best describes every aspect of sexual diversity and human sexuality. Not only that, but it integrates all the discourse about the sexes and everything that they entail.

In conclusion, the term “substantive” reclaims what sexology is and what it should be. However, it’s a temporary word. When sexology acquires the importance and identity that it deserves, there’ll be no need to qualify it because it’ll already be substantive.