Sexology is defined as the scientific study of sexuality, and can be examined from many different angles. A sexologist in general studies sexual desires, sexual function, and sexual behaviors, but there are a variety of paths that can teach you how to become a sexologist.
The Many Avenues to Becoming a Sexologists
From a psychological perspective, sexology observes a person’s thoughts and feelings about their own sexual activity or the sexual activity of others. The sociological perspective focuses on how people interact in their sex lives, their sexual preferences, and how society impacts these behaviors. A sexologist studying sex from a medical point of view tests how certain drugs affect sexual function.
Professional sexologists often tackle topics such as sexual identity – including gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity – in their practices. Clients also frequently seek out sexologists for dysfunction around sex including anorgasmia, pelvic pain, erectile dysfunction, and ejaculation control.
Thus, the pathway to becoming a sexologist is to study the discipline you’re most interested in, and through which you feel you can be most helpful to your clients.
What Degree do you Need to Become a Sexologist?
There are very few explicitly dedicated sexologist degree programs available. Fortunately, the fact that sex can be studied through many disciplines means that you can become a sexologist via a number of graduate degrees. In addition to the degrees discussed above – psychology, sociology and medicine – you can also become a sexologist by getting a degree in physiology, biology, anthropology, social psychology, public health, or women’s studies.
Basically, to become a sexologist, you need to attain a doctoral degree, master’s degree, or another advanced degree in a discipline that provides opportunity to research in the field of sexuality. Getting a full picture of sexual behavior requires input from many angles – because, after all, sexual behavior is shaped by biology, psychology, and the society a person chooses to live in.
How to Become a Certified Sexologist
While sexology is not a regulated profession in the United States, there are some organizations that offer a path to becoming a certified sexologist. They include The American College of Sexologists and the Therapist Certification Association. These organizations have a list of requirements that you must meet in order to become a certified sexologist.
Requirements generally include:
- An advanced degree
- A specific number of additional hours of training in sexuality and sex-related topics
- A specific number of hours having worked in the field of sexology
- Supervision with a clinical sexologist
What is Included in the Sexologist Career Path?
A sexologist career path includes:
- Studying sexuality-related topics
- Working as a clinician with people who are dealing with sexual problems
- Teaching about sex and sexuality in an academic setting such a school or university
- Supervising other sexologists who are interested in getting practice and certification in the field
- Working with the general population as a sex educator
- Getting paid to speak on the topic of sex at conferences for other professionals in related fields
How is a Sexologist Different From a Sex Coach?
The work of a sexologist can look very similar to that of a sex coach – or it can also be very different. If a sexologist focuses on the field of medical research, their career is not likely to include helping people hands-on with their sexual concerns.
A sex coach, on the other hand, is rarely engaged in research and instead focuses on working with individuals, couples, and groups to enhance their sex lives and self-esteem around sex and sexuality.
One cross over in their career paths is training – both sexologist and sex coaches can offer sessions or classes to clients or other professionals.
If you’d like to learn more about how to become a sexologist, reach out to any of the linked organizations above.