Sexologist a standard at UM

Both in and outside of the classroom, college students are full of questions. One renowned sexologist has some of the answers.

Dr. Marilyn Volker has been presenting for UM student organizations for over 20 years on issues students are curious about regarding sexuality and relationships.

Most recently, she was a guest speaker for students at both Hecht and Stanford residential colleges. Students packed the room where she was presenting, even having to huddle outside in the hall to see Volker’s presentation.

“There’s almost a rivalry between the two [residential] colleges to see how many people can turn out for my presentation,” she said. “It’s a healthy rivalry to get good information, though.”

Junior Romy Portuondo, a resident assistant on a Hecht programing team, helped plan Volker’s most recent visit to the Coral Gables campus this semester.

“Students love the sexologist! She is extremely entertaining and open,” Portuondo wrote in an email to The Miami Hurricane. “She isn’t afraid to tackle any topic and she answers all kinds of questions – from the most serious to the most amusing.”

According to Portuondo, Volker’s presentations at Hecht have been part of an ongoing 15-year tradition to promote information about safe sex and effective love-making practices among students.

Volker has been a sexuality educator for over 37 years.

She currently teaches sexuality therapists at Florida International University, Barry University, St. Thomas and the University of Miami as part of the Florida Post-Graduate Sex Therapy Training Institute, which grants certification to psychotherapists wishing to work as sex therapists.

She was formerly featured on Doctor Radio, a channel on Sirius Satellite Radio, in a call-in show titled “Sex With Marilyn” where outside callers could call in and ask her questions related to sexuality and relationships.

Students at UM know her as the go-to woman for answers to serious questions about relationships and sex.

“There are several things I would say [students] are mainly interested in. Of course, a huge part of the interest is in specific sexual activities and what they consider ‘the best’ in pleasing people,” Volker said. “They’re always interested in [condom use] and in what’s safer or riskier. They also have very interesting questions about anatomy that they have never had answered.”

She states that she has noticed that many high schools do not present important gender and transgender issues in their sexuality programming, leaving students with many unanswered questions when they come to college.

One of her signature notions is that of the “Four T’s” that are vital for any relationship – talk, touch, time and trust.

“We talk about what’s called ‘body mapping’,” said Volker. “For women to really respond they have to know the Four T’s – and that’s interesting because every woman is completely different.”

During fall 2008, former Hecht resident Zach Rutta was a freshman and saw another presentation by Volker.

“Even a year later a lot of the things she told us really work for me,” he said. “I know what a relationship is about more so than before I started here at UM.”

According to Rutta, Volker’s presentations are always a popular scene for freshmen living in the residential colleges.

Portuondo hopes to have Volker back next year for another seminar on sexology.

“We love having Marilyn speak to our students. Residents respond very well to her presentations and give us some of the highest turnouts we get all year,” Portuondo said. “We will certainly be bringing her back next year and we love when she hosts other programs on campus.”