Debby Herbenick elected president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists

Debby Herbenick, director of IU’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion and associate professor in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, has been elected president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

debby herbenick

Debby Herbenick

Herbenick, who will start her tenure July 1, is the first person from IU to hold this position in the almost 50 years the organization has existed.

“Being elected to serve as AASECT’s next president is an enormous honor,” Herbenick said. “The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists is the certifying body for these professionals in the United States. We have more than 900 certified members. It’s particularly exciting because 2017 marks AASECT’s 50th anniversary.”

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists was founded in 1967 by Pat Schiller. Its mission is to promote sexual health through advancements in the fields of sexual therapy, counseling and education.

Herbenick first became involved with AASECT more than 10 years ago when she attended one of its conferences. Feeling inspired, Herbenick became an AASECT-certified sexuality educator before eventually being named president-elect and now president.

When asked to run as president, Herbenick said she was interested in the opportunity to highlight the value of a scientific, evidence-based approach to sexuality education, counseling and therapy. Herbenick said that AASECT, through its conferences, continuing education opportunities, and Summer and Winter Institute trainings, recognizes the need for evidence-based sexuality education and clinical care in communities nationwide.

“The United States remains challenged by issues related to sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, sexual difficulties, and a need for greater intimacy and connections with relationships and marriages,” Herbenick said. “Sexual and gender minorities continue to face stigma and discrimination, and this can be improved through greater education, research, and expanded conversations. Sexuality educators, counselors and therapists can help in each of these areas, and AASECT contributes to that overall success.”

Herbenick has spent more than 15 years studying how contemporary women and men experience their bodies and sexual lives. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific publications, and in 2009, in collaboration with colleague Michael Reece, she led the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, a nationally representative probability sample of Americans focusing on their sexual behaviors and experiences that has since had four subsequent waves of data collection. Herbenick is also the host of the “Kinsey Confidential” column and podcast series and is founder and host of the Bloomington Sex Salon, a Bloomington event dedicated to creating campus-community conversations about sexuality topics.

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