LECTURE Let’s talk about sexology

Posters flaunting preventative sex slogans drew an audience as sexologist Marilyn Volker spoke candidly with students on Wednesday, Oct. 20, about sexual issues ranging from the importance of protection to how to be a great lover. Party favors included flavored condoms, lubrication, spermicide and stickers sporting the slogan “Just wear it,” but the message was clear: Let’s talk about sex.

Sexologists are sex coaches that are specialists in human sexuality and try to offer navigation to individuals and couples experiencing sexual problems. According to www.washingtonpost.com, Florida is the only state that will license sex therapists, while others are generally certified in counseling and psychology.

Studying human sexuality dates back to Hippocrates and Plato in Greece, but ideas of modern human anatomy and sexuality took form in the beginning of the 16th century. According to www.sexuality.org, the father of sexology, Iwan Bloch, coined the phrase and described sexology as a rational study. In the early 19th century, sexology was influential in treating and preventing what was considered sexual “abnormalities” of the time, and psychologist Sigmund Freud further developed the growing field when he published his theory of sexuality, which included its different stages and problems that can arise if patients are trapped in a particular stage.

Modern sexology has taken shape by borrowing sex issues from other fields such as anatomy, psychology, anthropology, biology and epidemiology. Main topics of interest include normal sexuality, sexual development, sexual intercourse (including sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex), sexual dysfunctions, sexual addiction, sexual abuse and paraphernalia.

Considered a taboo theme throughout most of history, in modern times, sex has become mainstream and is openly discussed in all forms ranging from the dreaded talk with the parents to exploitation by the mass media. Additionally, the importance of openly discussing sex and issues relating to sexual behavior has taken a forefront because of medical issues such as HIV and sexually transmitted diseases; the natural desire to talk about sex has seemingly turned into a necessity.

When clients see a sexologist, sexologists try to understand the underlying problem for the sexual frustration, whether it is a relationship issue, history of sexual abuse or a recent medical injury, and try to offer suggestions and guidance in correcting or overcoming the matter.

While calling to schedule an appointment with a sexologist for around $150 an hour in efforts to achieve maximum sexual potential or discuss sexual issues may not be a necessity right now, whether you’re having it, thinking about having it or waiting, talking and learning about sex with someone is a necessity.

Bari Lieberman can be contacted at b.lieberman@umiami.edu.