Curious about what lies beyond the mystical doors of a sexologist’s office? Will you be greeted by someone suave and sexy, like Jean Milburn from Sex Education? It’s difficult to imagine what sexology involves, when we have so little exposure to it in everyday life.
Let us draw the blinds and shed some light on the mystery of sexology. What can a sexologist actually help you with? What even is sexology?
The Australian Journal of General Practice defines sexology as a broad field covering “all areas of sexual health, sexuality, gender identity and forensic medicine including care for those affected by sexual violence”. From exploring desires to overcoming challenges, a sexologist can be your trusted guide on a journey of personal growth and sexual well-being. There are many accreditation pathways to becoming a licensed sexologist. Typically, sexologists will have completed a relevant undergraduate degree - such as psychology, nursing, social work or human sexuality - before pursuing a postgraduate qualification in sexology. A psychosexual therapist, for example, will have a primary qualification in mental health with advanced studies in sexology from an accredited institution.
Sexologists can typically help with a wide range of sexual, intimacy and relationship concerns, including:
This could be erectile problems, masturbation issues, concerns about your sexual desire or difficulty achieving orgasm. A sexologist can help you identify and understand the underlying causes and develop strategies to address these concerns - partnered or solo.
Painful Sex (Dyspareunia)
Sexologists can also help you identify the cause of painful sex. Common causes of dyspareunia include: vaginismus, vulvodynia, insufficient lubrication, skin conditions and scar tissue. Once identified, it’s much easier to address these conditions.
Relationship and sexual satisfaction
If there are desire/libido discrepancies, dissatisfaction or disconnection in your relationships, sexologists can help. Fluctuations in libido and attraction to one’s partner are completely normal in relationships, and tend to increase the longer you’ve been together, but they are consistently associated with lowered relationship satisfaction. Sexology can help you identify the causes of discrepancy and see things from your partner’s perspective, whether they have lower or higher levels of desire than you.
If you have experienced sexual trauma or abuse, a sexologist can help you work through the psychological and sexual implications of this experience. By facilitating a safe and supportive environment, they can help you develop coping strategies and reclaim your sexuality.
Sexual education and empowerment
Pardon the enormity of this understatement, but we don’t always get the most comprehensive sex education at school. Seeing a sexologist is a fantastic way to educate yourself, help you deconstruct societal norms, address sexual shame, and promote empowerment and self-acceptance.
Alternative relationship structures and practices
Sexologists can help you navigate ethical non-monogamy and establish boundaries that work for you and your partner/s in non-traditional relationships. They can also offer guidance and support as you explore kinks and fetishes.
Exploring sexuality, sexual attraction, and gender identity
If you’re questioning your sexual identity or orientation, it can be difficult and confusing to open up to people. A sexologist can help guide you through your feelings and attractions, while addressing any challenges that may arise throughout the process.