My interest in sexology comes from my childhood . Obviously, I didn’t have it identified with a specific name, but for me, all the processes of sexuality seemed fascinating. It must have been almost a nightmare for my mother, with all the questions I asked her and many times she answered me anything. The first thing that came to mind.
I once slapped myself for expressing out loud my doubts about sex. There, my mother, rather than telling me the first thing that came to mind, simply reacted automatically. For her, the whole subject of sex and sexuality had always been a taboo .
I’ve never been particularly interested in the forbidden, but I am interested in the unknown. My curiosity has often overtaken me, and by the time I became fully aware of what was happening, I had already succumbed to the curiosity. This, despite feeling almost always an intense fear. But not enough to stop me.
I have been working in the field of sexology since 1982. During this time, I have heard thousands of stories about the sex lives of my patients. Sometimes, when I am asked about it, I usually answer that I am worth more for what I keep quiet than for what I tell . That is true.
The work of the sexologist
My first job as a psychologist was in a juvenile prison, and there I was in charge of inmates accused of sex crimes. I chained this one to another job in a prison for adult men and women. I took advantage of this experience to do my undergraduate thesis, which was the result of a research study with men and women who prostituted themselves in the huge Mexico City.
Every week I receive patients with stories that may be implausible for the average citizen. I never tire of saying that reality (in my experience) surpasses fiction. I have heard the testimony of hundreds of patients with paraphilias. It seems that there are as many types of paraphilias, or more, as there are people.
An important part of my work has been developed to help patients suffering from sex addiction. Thanks to them, I have proven that fantasy is capable of generating an altered state of consciousness . This produces a certain comfort in the person’s mind and he or she wishes to accommodate and thus escape from their reality. In the case of substance consumption, it is the effect of those substances that produces the altered state of consciousness. It is also possible to generate an altered state of consciousness through sexual fantasy.
The need for sex education and training
The work in consultation includes the remedy of suffering from sexual issues, as well as the optimization of pleasure. The need for sexual education is a constant. Almost everyone has received sex education and it has been bad. Unconsciously, adults, parents, educators, etc., continuously and repeatedly send out messages that sex is something bad, sinful, dirty, indecent , vulgar…
The genitals often symbolize all possible sexual activity between humans and in most families it is forbidden to touch them. It is also often forbidden to show and see them. In Western societies in general, they are hidden and even censored.
All this, combined with other aspects, causes confusion, pressures and problems in people who are forced to ask for professional sexological help. The most common reasons for consultation are male dysfunctions (erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, anaejaculation…) and female dysfunctions (anorgasmia, vaginismus, dyspareunia…).
Therapy due to lack of sexual desire is a constant claim by individuals and couples. For problems arising from paraphilias or sex addiction there may also be a need for sexological help. What to say about victims of sexual abuse.
Being a sexologist is fascinating and there isn’t a week when I don’t find something that surprises me: a new challenge. It is extremely comforting to be able to help patients who come to me with any sexological or relationship problem. It is satisfying to see that when a patient wants to, it is possible to help them solve their problem and make them happier.
A person who is professionally engaged in sexology consultation is usually a psychologist or a doctor . In addition, he or she has completed the specialisation in sexology and sex therapy through a master’s degree course or similar. It is a profession that requires continuous updating, since there is more and more information and ways to solve sexual problems. Attending conferences is important to relate with other sexologists and to know the latest advances.
The activist side of the profession
As a sexology professional it is also important to do outreach work, either by participating in educational campaigns or by teaching. Another important aspect is activism in defense of sexual rights .
Personally, I have had the opportunity to work on a monitoring committee for the respect of sexual rights in the world through WAS. This can include participating in campaigns where thousands of messages and emails are sent to certain governments or institutions. It is about letting them know that we are watching them and putting pressure on them to respect the sexual rights of a particular person.
Let us remember that, for example, in a number of countries women’s rights or those of the LGTBI collective are not being respected. Through this type of action we have managed to stop the dilapidation of some specific women or the release of gay men imprisoned because of their sexual orientation.
Two stories that make a difference
If I had to tell the stories that have impacted me the most, I would highlight one or two, but there are many more. The first one happened in my first job, in the prison for minors . There I met a 16-year-old boy who had strangled his father. When he told me his story, I could only empathize with him.
He said that one day he was playing in the street with some friends, very close to his house. Then his father, who was passing by and was in a deep state of inebriation, saw him having fun and beat him back home. When he got there, the father began to mistreat his wife and daughters, to the point of attempting to rape one of the minors.
Then the 16-year-old boy, remembering the many times he had mistreated them and the times he had raped his sisters, felt a lot of anger and rushed to his father, strangling him. He said he had no regrets and would do it again if it meant his mother and sisters stopped suffering – if only the suffering would stop there! His eyes would glow and swell with rage as he told me his story. I remember it as if it were yesterday.
The other case that I would highlight also has elements of violence , but it has a series of ingredients that should be remembered. It involved a 20-year-old boy who came to the consultation immersed in anxiety and having suffered some panic attacks. He was about to leave Spain for an Erasmus program, and he was worried about having these problems there too. His story is touching.
He told me that he was very afraid of being sexually attracted to his dog… After a deep therapeutic work, I discovered that the boy was actually gay and that, when he was little, his father tortured him in a peculiar way.
When the son did not obey, the father beat the dog, which was the adoration of the minor : he empathized with the dog and suffered when he saw how his father mistreated his beloved pet. He was on the verge of a psychotic break, which fortunately could be stopped. Among the causes of his condition was an extremely strict, controlling and punitive upbringing.
Obviously, professional experience helps a lot in training. I feel lucky to have spent decades studying and dedicating myself to sexology.