People often ask me why I became a sex therapist. I’d love to say that sexual health has always been a passion, but like most people in the US, I grew up with scant sexual health information and a lot of purity culture messages. I took my first sex therapy class the second term of grad school, and it showed me how sexual health is an important part of being a human, and that we are all worse off not having language for it, or even a definition of what it means to have sexual health.

I became a counselor in part to work with cancer patients, and we are one population whose sexuality is affected by medical treatments. But hardly anyone is talking about it. Cancer can affect sexuality in many ways – function, body image, pain, issues with hormone changes, and more. I love helping my clients who have experienced cancer or other health issues explore their sexual behaviors and find more pleasure in their lives. We can’t make it better if we don’t have the language, and that’s where sexual health information comes in.

I use the sexual health model created by The Harvey Institute and based on the World Health Organization’s definition of sexual health. The model has six principles – consent, non-exploitation, honesty, shared values, protection from STI’s/HIV/unwanted pregnancy, and pleasure. Through my work as a sex therapist, I have been able to help people who have left high-control religions, people with sexual trauma, people with illness, and couples who just don’t have the language or help navigating their sexual relationships. I love helping people find more connection and more pleasure in a way that is meaningful to them and aligns with their values.