What the hell made you want to become a sexologist?! I get asked this regularly and it’s a very difficult question to answer simply. As a young women with hopes and dreams for my future, I could never have imagined that I would choose this path. It has been an interesting and fulfilling journey so far, with numerous factors leading to my choice to become somewhat of a “sexpert”.
In my former life before becoming a sexologist, I worked as a mental health nurse. Despite sounding vastly different, there are skills I learnt in this job that I will carry with me in my career as a sexologist, in fact skills that are transferable in every area of my life! I entered the mental health field as a new graduate with big desires to help others. People fascinate me and to offer my compassion and kindness to others in times of need felt like the right thing to do. Being a mental health nurse exposed me to an often isolated and somewhat condemned part of humanity, working with so many people who were in the midst of deep crisis. People who were so distressed they felt killing themselves was the only acceptable option. People who were so detached from their bodies and “reality” that they could not function in our world. People from all walks of life, at the extreme ends of a spectrum that we all fall on in one way or another.
Initially, I felt privileged to be in a position where I could be a healing part of these people’s lives. I knew that so many others could not “handle” being around people in acute states of mental crisis so a part of me (ego probably) was proud of myself for stepping into this work. I would hear it all the time that it takes a certain kind of person to work in the mental health field and after experiencing it I know this to be absolutely true. Working in an environment with people in acute stages of mental illness causes you to be in hypervigilant state as a safety precaution. You are constantly watching over your back, on high alert in order to keep clients, staff and yourself safe from harm. This is not something that can be switched off just by walking out the door at the end of the day. We have this idea to “leave it at work” and forget about it when we go home however work is our life is it not? I found an attempt to separate the two led to more harm than good and realised that I wasn’t living authentically or in integrity working in this job.
My dreams for something different kept getting louder and louder. I realised that caring for others should not come at the expense of our own wellbeing or be driven by desires to help others for a sense of external validation. I believe to truly be in service in this world is to do the things that make us feel alive, following our desires towards what lights us up and gets us excited. For me, that had always been sex. Human sexuality has always fascinated me in so many ways. I have always been curious to understand why sex is such a massive part of our lives and not just used purely for procreation. Why are people sexually attracted to one person over another? Why is there an increase in people buying BDSM, kinks and fetish products? How can we be having more fulfilling sex in our lives? And why is there such shame and stigma around something so pleasurable and beautiful? These questions and a host more constantly had me intrigued so working in a field where I could explore sexuality was completely aligned with my passion and values.
As well as my passion for learning about sex, I had found myself to be someone who people felt comfortable talking about their intimate lives with. I recall a moment years ago where a woman I knew shared with me a deeply personal story about her sex life with her husband, something she had never shared with anyone else before. Feeling the trust she felt in me to open up this way, I knew that I had something special to offer others. It warms my heart and makes me feel so grateful to be alive when I can create a space for people to feel confident and comfortable with their sexuality. I feel excited and full of joy knowing that the connection I have with my sexuality invites others to feel beautifully connected to their own. It truly is a gift knowing that I can play a part in creating a much needed sex-positive shift in our society, no matter how big or small that part may be. Sexual health has been a far too neglected area of our lives so to do this work is so important. I am new on my career path but hope that the topics I post about and the people who welcome my support in sessions benefit from what I have to offer. It feels like the beginning of an extremely fulfilling and enlivening career path, stay tuned for what’s to come…
Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist
Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.