(From Clinical Sexology, Howard J. Ruppel, Ph.D., 2007, DACS & The American College of Sexologists)
Clinical Sexologists are concerned with sexual behavior and how people feel about it. Contemporary clinical sexology follows the tradition begun by the early twentieth century pioneers of sexology such as Ivan Block, Havelock Ellis, Magnus Hirschfield, Albert Moll, and others. These authors clearly defined sexual behavior as a unique and valid concern for scholarly study, clinical attention and social action.
Clinical sexology is based upon an action oriented approach that facilitates growth and the management of sexual issues. It is estimated that between 80 and 90 percent of issues related to sexual function and pleasure can be effectively addressed through limited sexual counseling that is provided by a well-educated, currently informed and skillful sexologist. Intensive therapy may be required for the balance of sexual issues, and these may be addressed by referral to an individual with specialized training in related disorders.
Clinical sexologists are non-judgmental in their approach: The use of a non-judgmental approach is highly endorsed by a variety of approaches to counseling, particularly for issues related to matters of self-esteem, marginal behaviors and educational based interventions. Many clinicians trained in the more traditional disciplines of medicine, nursing and psychology, with diagnostic manuals and treatment protocols may find this aspect of the sexological approach to be problematic for them.
Clinical sexologists approach sexual behavior from a sex positive perspective. Sexologists believe that the expression of one’s sexuality is an important and valued aspect of an individual’s total personality. For the most part, North American culture has been characterized as fearful of sex, erotophobic, and sexually repressed. This sex negative cultural environment creates a challenging situation for the clinical sexologist as he or she pursues their mission to facilitate sexual health among the community.