What does a Sexologist do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A sexologist is someone concerned with the scholarly investigation of human sexuality, from normal sexual development to pathologies such as sexual abuse. The field is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating knowledge from a number of academic pursuits, and sexologists can work in a range of settings. Some are primarily interested in conducting studies and clinical trials to understand more about human sexuality, for example, while others offer therapy to people with sexual dysfunction, drawing upon their experience to help people.

Sexologist study human sexuality.
Sexologist study human sexuality.

The study of human sexuality is ancient, as many ancient sex manuals attest, and humans have long been interested in the many facets of sexuality. A sexologist draws from a number of fields, including psychology, medicine, anthropology, sociology, biology, and epidemiology. Some colleges and universities specifically offer opportunities to study this discipline, while others allow students to create their own sexology degrees from within various academic departments. Someone interested in the biology of human sexuality, for example, could work from the perspective of biology.

Some sexologists offer therapy to individuals.
Some sexologists offer therapy to individuals.

Normal human sexuality covers a very broad spectrum, and many experts in this field are interested in the diversity of human sexuality, what contributes to sexual development, and the interaction between culture and sexuality. Others are interested in pathologies, and what causes people to develop abnormal or dangerous behaviors and attitudes. Sexual dysfunction is also a topic of interest for some professionals, with researchers studying the various causes and solutions for sexual dysfunction to improve quality of life for people who struggle with this problem.

Sexologists might study cultural behaviors involved in attracting the opposite sex.
Sexologists might study cultural behaviors involved in attracting the opposite sex.

As a student of sexual behavior, a sexologist can meet with some skepticism from people unfamiliar with the field. Many people are uncomfortable with discussions of sexuality, let alone frank and often clinical study of it, and sexologists sometimes meet with opposition when they present the findings of research studies, seek funding to assist with new studies, or even mention what they do at a dinner party. For some professionals, a large part of their work involves educating people about human sexuality and encouraging honest discussions about issues such as communication in relationships, healthy sexual development, and methods for preventing the spread of disease.

A sexologist may choose to study the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
A sexologist may choose to study the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Some notable researchers in the field include Alfred Kinsey, author of the notorious Kinsey Reports, along with William Masters and Virginia Johnson. There are a number of avenues of exploration within the study of human sexuality for someone interested in becoming a sexologist, ranging from the sexual practices of ancient cultures to modern social attitudes that facilitate or hinder the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

A sexologist may study sexual dyfunctions.
A sexologist may study sexual dyfunctions.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I am a practicing clinical sexologist, researcher and writer. Great informative article I have included the link in my article on Examiner. Sex education is a large part of what I do as well, especially what you said about having to tell people what you do. Being a clinical sexologist is the most miss-understood specialty and for those of us who have been in college for 8-10 years studying it, especially with a doctoral degree it does get frustrating at times, but worth it in the end. I love what I do and learn something fascinating and new each and every day!


@anon350864: Everyone starts somewhere. If someone can have their first love at 16 or 20 with no previous experience and have a positive relationship, whatever that entails to them, there's no reason someone can't do the same at age 31.

When you find a woman who is caring and understanding and loves you for who you are, don't worry about whether or not she "deserves better" than you. You are a worthwhile human being, and from your comment it sounds like you have a very kind heart; if she chooses to be with you then you're going to have to trust her feelings that you are good enough, because that's whose opinion on the matter is important.

I think a sexologist could help you a lot. Your inexperience isn't what holds you back; it's your apprehension and perhaps concern over how you may be perceived, and a sexologist could help you deal with those issues so you could feel comfortable exploring who you are as a sexual being. That's why I want to be a sexologist. I think everyone deserves to love and be loved, I just want to be able to give a helping hand to people who get tripped up on the way there.


I am in the middle of writing an eBook for a sexologist. There is a lot more to this profession than what is stated in this article, although this is pretty precise.

I have definitely learned a lot about sex, techniques, sex issues, etc., just from researching to write.


This is interesting and very scary to me, a 31 year old virgin who can't attract a woman or get a date. I'm still debating if I should consult with a sexologist. To tell the truth, it feels wrong. I was told all through my life that sex is bad, and on top of that I had severe social anxiety most of my life. I'm not religious, or am going to be. I'm just a very confused person in a strange world where women have more power than ever and guys are told to be nice and obedient.

Maybe I wasn't supposed to ever have a family, or even experience the warm love for a woman, but I still want to try. I bet you treading this are thinking "just go to one already, it's too painful to read", but it's not that simple. When you have never been in the game, try to enter as a weird, dateless 30 year old virgin. You have the decision to make a fool of yourself, or just learn to be content with being alone. Because I can guarantee, without any intervention, I will be alone for the rest of this short miserable life of mine.

The thought of a woman who truly loves me is the most terrifying feeling I can think of. Not just because I'm scared, but because I know someone like me with such limited experience has a very real possibility of hurting the heart of caring woman who deserves better than me.


I would love to be an sexologist so I was wondering, where I could find a college that would give me a degree? Please let me know.


Love it. I am a social worker. I work with people that have HIV for a living and do HIV testing and prevention work. I am comfortable talking about sex and have always been intrigued with sexual behaviors whether it be with my own partners or when I am working with a person who has different sexual behaviors than the norm. My calling.


From what I've read here it's the study of sex, leading to the education of sex for others. I don't understand why some people are already on the defensive. This seems like a legitimate study and future job.


i didn't know there was such a profession. i only heard about it a few nights ago from a local programme here in jamaica. had i known, i would have pursued a career as such. i have always been interested in sex and sexuality, what people think about it, the different experiences the different fetish preferences and difficulties.

i wanted to be so knowledgeable and aware so that i could advise those who had a problem. but i can still pursue a career there. it's not too late and i am still within the field area affiliate. wow this is exciting.


I was just wondering where I would be able to find universities which have a degree on sexology or how to go through that career pathway because i am currently interested in this career. Please reply to this feed.


If people weren't so uptight about their sexuality and felt free enough to seek out help from a professional in such a field the world would be a much happier, less stressful place to co-exist.


I am in the process of becoming a sexologist. I have been in the adult novelty industry about 15 years, so having this education behind me helps a lot.

Human sexuality is part of everyday life, regardless. There are gynecologists out there whose skill is to help keep female reproductive organs safe from disease etc.

Sexologists don't go looking into other people's personal lives. Those people seek us for our help, which is a whole different aspect. The job isn't for everyone and takes a certain style of person to accomplish it.


I can definitely understand the need for such a profession, but I do think that these things can be taken too far.

I mean, I don't think I would really want to know about other people's sex lives, or have somebody else looking into mine.

I'm not saying it's a bad discipline or anything, I just think that it would take a very mature person with a very specific interest.


I think that would be a really fascinating job -- to study something that almost every person does at some point in their life, and see the different variations of it, or the effects on humans as a society.

Very interesting article.


I can only imagine the looks that you would get at a dinner party if you announced you were a sexologist.

Or from your parents, for that matter, when you told them what you wanted to major in.

It's a shame that we can't be more open about human sexuality.

I say, good for you, sexologists!

Post your comments
Forgot password?