What is sexology? It is not a wild guess to think that sexologists have something to do with the field of study of sexuality and sexual behavior (it's like right there in their title!). But, what exactly do they do? Sexologists work in a wide variety of fields from health care to education and research. There's a popular song in Spanish that goes on explaining all sorts of things we do because "we all want sex". I wouldn't say it is necessarily true that everyone wants sex, but it is 100% that we are all sexual beings.
As with most things, people tend to seek help when things are looking dire- hey, no judgment here! Usually, they have tried ignoring a problem, Google dives, and many other remedies but it just doesn't work. People are often curious about what exactly I do, after all, isn't sex something we do lights out or at least in privacy? Getting personal sharing about our sexual experiences and all elements of our sexualities with basically a stranger can be pretty daunting. Bonus points if you are coming with your partner to also discuss other relationship problems! Some of the most common reasons people seek help with their sexuality relate not only to defining their identity but to exploring how they want to project it into the world. How they want to present themselves to others and to what degree they want their sexual self to take space in their lives. Sexual desire is a common reason why people seek help, especially when in a partnership where partners share a different level of desire (simply put, when one wants more sex than the other). Function is another frequent reason why people seek the help of "sexperts"... ejaculatory or erectile difficulties, lack of lubrication, and painful intercourse, are some examples. Issues related to how individuals perceive themselves or think how other see them (low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, etcetera) is another reason why people seek to speak with someone about their sexuality. At times, this might be paired with a lack of experience dating or in relationships, hurtful experiences in relationships or during development, and others. Trauma, especially sexual trauma, can also play a role in issues related to sex or relationships.
In addition, individuals and partners seek a sexologist because they want to expand their sexual repertoire and strengthen their relationships. I love to present my work as exploration and ‘assignments’ as experimentations. I do not work from a diagnosis framework; my job is not to put a label on your struggles. Furthermore, I recognize we might share the same struggle and have completely different experiences and reasons why they originated.
I accompany clients in their journey of self-discovery, share information or my perspective when appropriate, and ask questions that may help get the conversations to deeper waters. I help clients make connections between what is happening inside themselves -the cognitive, emotional, psychological, and somatic aspects involved in their sexuality- as well as how they relate to their past and current relationships. We explore the context in which concerns arise and how they might relate to the bigger picture. Part of my vision is that sexuality and healthy relationships can be fun and energizing, but that enjoyment comes with the intentionality of embracing our sexual selves.
How does this work? Working with me as a sexologist is pretty much like working with a sex counselor. In sessions, we will engage in conversations that will inquire into your sexual life and intimate relationships. We might also explore your developmental history (the family context in which you grew up, how you learned about sexuality, etcetera). Additionally, I often incorporate breathing and other somatic exercises in sessions. Most importantly, most of the progress you will see really happens on your own work between sessions.
Working with someone means you have a chance to speak openly about your experience and what came up for you. Sometimes just bringing that up, aloud, putting our felt experience into words- although it can be difficult- helps us see things in a new light. Some say it helps to just have someone keeping them ‘accountable’ to pursue activities that would help them reach their goals. It also gets you used to talk openly about sex and relationships, becoming more intentional with yourself and others.
Often, clients ask what sort of “assignments” or “homework” I give. Examples of this vary greatly depending on what you are looking for, what works best for you, and what you are open to trying. Some examples are books, apps, or website recommendations, the use of fantasy, mindful masturbation, partnered games, breathing exercises, writing stories… We can all aspire to have our sexuality energize us, to be that eros that charges our energy. To have nurturing relationships. To create meaningful connections with ourselves and others.
Thaina Cordero is a Certified Sexologist and Care Coordinator at Cypress Wellness Center. She has an MS in Educational Psychology and Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology student at Modern Sex Therapy Institute. She works with individuals and couples as they explore their sexual expression, needs, fantasies, preferences, curiosities, and difficulties as they create more pleasurable, satisfying, and fulfilling sex lives and relationships. Click here to request an appointment.