It was a surprising revelation, but maybe not. To teach sex, you should be good at it.
The experts said, to be a good sex therapist, or therapist at all, you have to be good at sex. In the comprehensive Sex Positive World conference at UCLA this past weekend, the sexperts, authors, educators and therapists, some surprising statistics came through.
First of all, according to Dr. Hernando Chaves, therapists only get the equivalent of one day’s worth of instruction on how to deal with sexual issues.
“When it comes to dealing with the LGBTQ community, it’s worse,” Chaves said. “It’s only about five hours total dealing with those issues. Forget about anything dealing with polyamory.”
Gabriella Cordova, a therapist who started the Sex Positive programs and organized the panels, said, “To be a good therapist, it’s simple, you start by being really good at sex. You should know what you like and be really good at it. Physician, heal thyself.”
The audience of about 300 giggled nervously.
“Once you are really good at it, go out and love,” she said. “Touch other people.”
Of course, she wasn’t recommending that all therapists have sex with their clients. Cordova admitted that at one time, some of the things she was doing in her practice may have been considered unethical or even unlawful. She pointed out three primary relationships in the audience, one occasional lover and noted that 20 women there have had relationships with her. Some experts on the panel suggested that healthy sexual relationships don’t always mean a penis inside of a vagina.
But, Cordova said, “I want penises in my vagina, even if it’s strap-on. Get good first and share. … I hear from people who say things like ‘Tango is better than sex’ and I says, ‘Well, you haven’t been in a group where you’ve had sex taught to you.’ Go out and have more group orgies. You should all go to more orgies. Of course, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”
The panel discussed how intercourse and insertion is often considered the “standard of sex” and studies have shown that most people don’t consider that.
Some of the stats show that one-in-four women do not have an orgasm during sex, and one-in-nine men. Early ejaculation is found in one-in-three men from all ages. And, most disturbing, one-in-four LGBT people were found to fake orgasms.
Vibrant red-headed 13-year therapist Kate Loree said that most of her clients are LGBTQ. She says, “Yes, I am kinky, yes I am pansexual.”
In an interview with Bisexual Examiner after the panel discussion, she said she describes herself as pansexual rather than bisexual because, “The binary is in the name bisexual. Pansexual is more expansive, and it’s possible that bisexuals are not open to more gender possibilities.”
She said, “I help people know that they are sexual, and help them unfold.” She said she steers longterm relationships to tantric sex classes.
The panel was led by Dr. Chris Donaghue, who wrote the book “Sex Outside the Lines” and pointed out, “There is value in sex by having it. If you don’t do the work, you are probably just emphasizing the shaming of it.”
He said there should be more education by therapists to young people, too. “No teen has ever gotten pregnant from anal,” he said.
Sex therapy has evolved since the early days of sexology pioneers such as Magnus Hirschfield and Harry Benjamin. Today’s modern sex therapy often neglects to view sexual concerns of individuals and relationships through a sex positive lens, thus reinforcing narratives that may promote harm, shame, intolerance or judgment. This panel addressed addiction and sexual expression and using a strength-based approach to create a more self-actualized sexual identity.
“The experts now in sex therapy have lied to us, and it’s resulted in sex shaming,” Donaghue said. “You don’t have a sexual dysfunction, the system does.”
Dr. Hernando Chaves pointed out that research should delve into more controversial sexual fetishes, such as pedophilia, or people who are sexually aroused by children.
“Should we consider those child fetishes as a different kind of sexual expression?” Chaves said. “Looking into these issues is extremely challenging. We should talk about sexual relationships that are very different that exist in our society.”
That led to a question from the audience about whether bondage and S&M is a sexual orientation. The panel agreed that it is.
“Anything we aroused by is a sexual orientation,” Dr. Donaghue said.
Kate Loree agreed that BDSM was an orientation, and said, “There is a fluidity of orientation. I grew up in Alabama and that was not a safe place to come out and so I moved. Orientations can change, they can be different.”
She added, “Bisexuality happens to be in the middle of it, it’s just another orientation and is as legitimate as any other.”