Let's Talk about Sex: Integrating Sex Positivity in Counseling Psychology Practice

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31 Scopus citations


Counseling psychologists should take an active approach in broaching issues of sex and sexuality, given that clients may hesitate to initiate such conversations due to their discomfort or fears about therapists' attitudes or judgments. Research has suggested that mental health providers need to be skilled and comfortable addressing issues of sex and sexuality in order to provide culturally competent, holistic care for clients. Consistent with a sex-positive approach, which views sexuality as a universal human experience and an important aspect of overall psychological health, quality of life, and relational satisfaction, in this article we present five recommendations for counseling psychologists, encouraging them to integrate topics of sex and sexuality into clinical practice. Following Pederson's (2000) Triad Training Model of awareness, knowledge, and skills, we provide recommendations accompanied with questions and examples of proactive and sex-positive language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-569
Number of pages23
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • multicultural competence
  • sex
  • sex positivity
  • sexuality
  • therapy relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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