Honk! if You Love Sexual Health.

The other day I was driving down Manchaca heading downtown and on the east side of the street was a group of people holding signs - which my trained mind immediately registered as protesters. My partisan mind immediately read the signs to determine whether these people were friend or foe. 

That's when one of the brightly colored signs caught my eye. Sprawled across neon paper were big bold words, "Honk! if You Love Hugs!"

Wasn't expecting that. In fact, all these protesters signs had positive messages that had no political affiliation. There was one person wearing a pro-Trump shirt and another person wearing a Bernie Sanders shirt. Bold. 

The experience made me think how easily we put people into monolithic baskets and start searching for what side we're on. It's no different when it comes to mental health issues.

If the public knew how their therapists fought on message boards and at conferences, we'd all probably be out of a job. 

There's a big debate right now in the field about the nature of sexual health problems. Can sex be addictive? or not? I'm not getting into that discussion here. But this is why I love the work of Doug Braun-Harvey and Michael Vigorito. They've presented an open access resource that doesn't rely on certification (The fast track to making money in this business), but is instead, intended to be an integration model that helps therapists incorporate important sexual health principles into the work they're already doing.

These two powerhouses of sexual health have recently published their book on how to treat consensual sexual problems that feel out of control. So this would be things like pornography and other sexual behaviors people are either uncomfortable with or feel like they can't get control of. 

The thing I love about this work is that it doesn't rely on pathologizing (making something bad or sick) in order to provide the treatment. We're not going to tell you that the specific behavior is a problem. Instead, we're going to work toward aligning your behavior with your ethics and some previously established principles of sexual health. Principles like consent. Honesty. Pleasure. 

In just a few weeks, Dr. Braun-Harvey will present his work on treating out of control sexual behavior. That presentation will be hosted by the Southwest Sexual Health Alliance, a first-of-its-kind sexual health resource in the Austin community. If you're a clinician, student or sexual health nerd, you don't want to miss this presentation. 

I hope to see you all there! 

Dr. Mathis Kennington

512-329-5540

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