Even though I have been a sexologist for five years now, certain situations still make me feel embarrassed.
For instance, I love to read books in coffee shops while I’m drinking my iced latte. But ever since I started reading books about sexual matters, I have started to flip the pages under the coffee table. Some of the books I read have rather…descriptive titles, like this one book I read titled “Sexual Dysfunction.” Every time I hold it up to read it, I expose its title to the people who pass by me. I can not help but notice the looks I get when people see it. So I have gotten into the habit of hiding the book’s cover when I read it in public.
Right now as I am reading a book about men’s erections (interesting reading), it is tough to get lost in the pages and not feel a little self-conscious, when across the book’s cover, on a bright red background is written in a very prominent, white and bold letters: THE HARDNESS FACTOR. I am glad there is not a picture on the cover, but even without a diagram, it is not too “hard” to figure out what kind of “hardness” this book is about. Or maybe I’m being a little paranoid?! Regardless, I cannot (nor do I want to) imagine what people must be thinking when they see a young woman reading about men’s hard-ons.
After I made the decision to study sexology, I was a little shy at first telling people what I study. Every time my friends’ parents asked me what I was studying: I started to mumble and found myself saying something that sounded like a cross between “psychology” and “sexology.” I think it was “seckology.” Or maybe “Sikesology.”
And the response would inevitably be:
“Uh, did you say psychology”?
“No”, I’d reply, “I said sexology.”
“SEXology” they repeat after me, a little excited, and add, “That’s what I THOUGHT I heard but you know….”
O yes, I know!
But, as I started telling more and more people what I study, I felt more secure and I found myself more and more ready each time to deal with people’s reactions. I knew that if I want to become a clinical sexologist I should be prepared to accept comments.
I told my close friends about my plans to become a clinical sexologist last year on my birthday party. It was a night hang out with a large group of friends – lots of fun and towards the end of the party, as things were winding down, a small group of my friends stayed behind and we got to chatting. The topic turned to my plans to return to school and my studies and then one of my friends asked me what I planned on going back to school to study? I told her that I was going to the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality to start my masters and PhD in sexology.
“You’re…going to SEX school?” One of them asked, rather loudly, making everyone stare at me suddenly.
“Its not exactly a sex school” I said, “It’s more of an educational institute for sex.”
Awkward silence. And then after what seemed like an eternity, another friend asked:
“So…you have beds there?”
“Very funny,” I replied.
“I can help you with homework!” my other friend said, “You know when you need to… practice,” he added, making everyone laugh including me.
From this moment and on, the jokes were only about “sex school” and me, and I must admit, they were so funny we could not stop laughing for an hour.
Well, it has been almost five years since my big announcement and I must say that most people, after they hear what I do, make a joke. Then, whether they know me well or not, ask me for help. I have been approached by married men, single women, friends at the very beginnings of relationships, men who have issues with their sex life or women who struggle finding their sexuality, just to name a few. Even people I just met share personal information with me about their sex life and ask for advice.
It seems to me that many people are thirsty for knowledge about sexual matters and are looking for someone to direct them. Put more simply, I think we are all looking for a happy sex life!
Information and knowledge are the keys for overcoming our fears with regard to sex, improving our overall experience during the act of sexual intercourse and helping us discover a lot about our body and mind. I, for one, am still in the process of discovering and learning and as much as I love helping clients, I also love writing about topics that relates to my work and my life as a sexologist.