Advancing the Field of Human Sexuality

On November 28, 2015, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1

There were many of us who worked for over one year to create the following statement that was recently approved by the Board of Directors of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists (AASECT).  When the statement was approved, Dr. Russell Stambaugh said, “With this passage of this position, AASECT is officially on record as supporting BDSM, polyamory and consensual non-monogamy as potentially sexually healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors.  This constitutes full implementation of Kinsey’s ideas about the broad range of sexually healthy behaviors.”

© Markus Gann |

© Markus Gann |

Sexual Expression including Orientation and Identity: Treatment & Education Foundations


It is the position of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists that we oppose any and all therapy models and interventions as well as any educational programs and curricula that seek to pathologize, dictate, or prescribe a person’s sexual orientation, identity, and/or consensual, sexual expression, whether or not it is conventional or atypical.  Regardless of how such clinical interventions or educational programs are labeled or named, AASECT recommends all helping and educating professionals to utilize best practices and culturally relevant resources for foundation and reference.

Furthermore:  AASECT affirms that sexuality is central to the human experience and sexual rights must be honored in order for sexual health and overall well-being to be obtained.  Informed by the best empirical research, AASECT recognizes human sexual experiences as diverse and supports the acceptance of sexual diversity while embracing consensual sexual expression within the framework of human rights and social justice.

AASECT accepts the evidence that human sexual experience includes a vast spectrum of sexual expression, orientation, and identities. These sexualities, between consenting adults when agreed upon, with permission, and assenting, are typically not psychopathological behaviors. Indeed, recent peer-reviewed research on these sexual experiences shows no correlation to pathology.

AASECT further asserts that all people seeking treatment and education about consensual sexual behavior, identity, or orientation deserve accurate information.  AASECT accepts that the empirical evidence is reasonably complete on reparative and conversion therapies that attempt to change sexual orientation or identity and shows that these techniques are experimental at best and overwhelmingly ineffective, with harmful consequences for clients widely documented.

AASECT takes the position that social justice plays an essential and foundational role in the organization’s mission.  Individuals have the right to be free as possible from undue constraints (e.g. discrimination, stigmatization, oppression and violence) along with the freedom to consensual sexual expression. Destigmatizing human sexual expression and experiences as well as creating and maintaining safe space for those who have been traditionally marginalized are essential practices for AASECT members who are predominately mental health practitioners and educators.  This overarching goal compels AASECT to disavow any therapeutic and educational effort that, even if unwittingly, violates or impinges on AASECT’s vision of human rights and social justice.


22 Veterans commit suicide each day.  That statistic simply brings tears to my eyes.  Whether you are a veteran, a sexual minority, gender variant, LGBT youth, or anyone in pain; here is a list of local and national resources and support lines to help you.

National Suicide Prevention Hot Line: 800.273.8255 is available to anyone.  There is a veteran’s line available by pressing 1.




Here is a link to a broad variety of local suicide prevention and other support resources by county in Colorado:

  • Boys Town (for at risk children)
  • Disaster Distress Helpline
    • 1-800-985-5990
    • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
    • TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 1-800-846-8517




  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center
    • 1-888-373-7888
    • Text BeFree (233733)


  • USA National Child Abuse Hotline
    • 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)



  • National Eating Disorders Association
    • 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Friday, 11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)
  • ANAD: National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
    • 630-577-1330 (Monday-Friday,12 pm-8 pm EST)
    • Email ANAD



  • Planned Parenthood
  • STI Resource Center
    • Call 919-361-8488 (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-6:00 pm EST)


To donate $22 to Remembering the 22 simply go to:


Research for Older Adults in Same Sex Relationships

On September 27, 2015, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1


My colleague, Jane Fleishman at Widener University in Philadelphia is conducting an important research project whereby she is studying people between 60 and 75 that are in same sex relationships.  This is an important and legitimate study as Widener turns out some of the leading sex therapists in the world.  If you meet the criteria, I hope you will take 15 minutes to participate. Simply click on this link:



I currently serve on the Board of Trustees for the Gender Identity Center of Colorado (GIC) and have been involved with the GIC in varying capacities for nearly a decade now. Thanks to our truly amazing Executive Director, Dr. Karen Scarpella, the GIC has grown to become an invaluable resource center for gender variant folks in our community.  I am so grateful for the work that Karen does, along with so many volunteers.

We are in search of one licensed clinician to volunteer to supervise one or two student therapists this year. This is a heart-warming experience and a wonderful opportunity to be professionally generous. It takes about one hour every two weeks and the student clinician works around your schedule and comes to your office so you are not inconvenienced. To qualify, you need to be a licensed clinician and knowledgeable about gender variant issues, or have a strong desire to learn more. If you are interested, please reach out directly to Karen Scarpella Director of the Gender Identity Center of Colorado at 303-202-6466. E-Mail: karen.scarpella@gic-colorado.org


Dr. Paul Gebhard dies at 98

On July 21, 2015, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1

gebhard color2

Photo by Bill Dellenback Kinsey Institute

I know how difficult cultural matters related to sexuality are in 2015.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Dr. Gebhard and the rest of the famed Kinsey team 65 years ago.  In the 2004 movie titled Kinsey, Dr. Gebhard was played by Timothy Hutton while Dr. Kinsey was played by Liam Neeson.  The invaluable research they did changed our understanding of human sexuality in America forever.

It was announced today by the Kinsey Institute that Dr. Paul Gebhard passed away.  He was 98 so hardly shocking, but none-the-less, it was sad.  The loss of Dr. Gebhard prompted me to pull up a paper I wrote in graduate school about the research conducted by Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin & Gebhard in 1953.

“The project was a mammoth undertaking and a major accomplishment for the time. All of the data were gathered through personal interviews conducted by Kinsey and five interviewers, whom Kinsey personally trained for approximately one year. Altogether, the Kinsey team spent nine years traveling throughout the country to gather data. Each interview was conducted based on the explicit promise of complete and permanent anonymity. To keep the records secret, Kinsey developed a cryptic coding system that each interviewer committed to memory. To this day, most scholars believe that there is no written record for translating the coding system. At the time of this review, Paul Gebhard[1] is the only living co-author of the volumes, and he is likely the only person who knows how to translate the codes.

The interviewer recorded each interview by hand, using the coding system on a single sheet of paper.[2] In most cases, after an interview was finished, the interviewer personally handled the data, “. . . including the punching of the Hollerith cards and their manipulation in the IBM statistical machines” (Male, p. 45). The research attempted to accurately record the responses of a statistically broad sampling of people from all walks of life and included histories from every state in the nation.

[1] Paul Gebhard was an author of Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), but he was not an author of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948).

[2] Today, each fragile sheet is maintained at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana.

Dr. Gebhard will be dearly missed.  Thank you for all you did!



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Colorado has achieved remarkable reductions in the rate of teenage pregnancy in recent years by giving young women free, long-acting contraceptives that protect them for several years. The birthrate among teenagers in the state plummeted by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013 and teenage abortions dropped by 42 percent largely as a result of this initiative.

Credit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for an aggressive outreach program and wise use of private money to carry out a program that could not win approval from the state’s legislature, the General Assembly. The department used funds from a private foundation to provide women with long-acting contraceptives at little or no cost. More than 30,000 intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants were distributed at 68 family planning clinics across the state.

The contraceptive implant is a small plastic rod, about the size of a matchstick, that contains a small amount of hormones and is inserted just under the skin of the upper arm. It can prevent pregnancy for three years once inserted and can be easily removed at any time; fertility immediately returns to normal. The IUDs provided are effective for at least five years, according to the department.

(c) 2015 The New York Times Company


University of Michigan Now Accepting Applications

On July 12, 2015, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1


If you are a future sex therapist, the University of Michigan has a fabulous program and I am honored to teach there.

The University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program (UMSHCP) provides comprehensive education and training to professionals interested in the field of sexual health in three tracks. Participants will gain assessment, intervention, and consultation skills; will learn strategies to apply these skills in the workplace; and will link with a peer learning community to practice new skills and discuss applied learning.


Sexuality Education (for educators) Sexuality Counseling (for health professionals) and Sex Therapy (for mental health professionals)

¨      Location:

Sexuality Counselor /Sex Therapist: 4 campus based courses at University of Michigan Campus, Ann Arbor MI and 5 weekends offered in live distance learning

Sexuality Educators: 4 campus based courses at University of Michigan Campus and 5 weekends offered in live distance learning

Blended track of  both Educator and Therapist/Counselor: 5 campus based weekends at University of Michigan and 5 weekends offered in live distance learning

Program Format

Following a cohort-style ‘cohort’ learning model, participants enter together as a class and remain together throughout the training in their track (see calendar at UMSHCP website). Total program lasts one year–March to March.

The new cohort commences in late March of each year. Throughout the program, participants participate in a total of seven two-day minicourses (minicourses=15 hours) if pursuing sexuality educator training, or nine two-day minicourses if pursuing sexuality counselor or sex therapist training. The weekends are arranged so that a participant can take both a counselor or therapist track and the educator track should they wish to do so.

All participants in all three tracks share 90 hours of educational minicourses together (six weekend classes). All are together for the first four-day weekend including SAR and educational minicourse. The participants also pursue advanced training in their ‘track’ of Sexuality Education (30 hours =a two-day Mon/Tues and two-day Sat/Sun), Sexuality Counseling (60 hours = 2 two-day weekends and one four-day Sat-Tuesday), and Sex Therapy (60 hours = 2 two-day weekends and one four-day Sat-Tuesday).

Live Distance Learning. 75 hours of sexuality education can be attended through simultaneous live distance learning (see calendar at website). The remaining courses are campus-based learning because they involve training (role plays, case discussions, curriculum design and other elements) better suited to on-campus learning.

Faculty. Program faculty are AASECT certified sex therapists, sexuality counselors, and sexuality educators, as well as certified supervisors and consultants. They are skilled teachers as well as sexologists who have conducted research, published articles and books, worked to change public policy in the field of sexual health, spoken at national and international conferences, and are frequently cited in the media. They maintain professional affiliation with AASECT as well as other major professional organizations in sex therapy and research, sexuality education, health and mental health.

Curriculum. An overview of course content is available at UMSHCP website.

Once admitted, participants receive detailed information about program participation, travel and hotel accommodations, website-based learning used in the program and detailed syllabi for the courses. Some reading and non-graded assignments are part of every class. All readings are electronic and are free to participants. Access to the website and articles continues indefinitely for all alums of the program.

Sexuality Educator, Sexuality Counselor and Sex Therapist Tracks. 

The program is open to health and mental health professionals from all recognized disciplines. An applicant applies to the program by ‘track’:

–Sexuality educators are professionals with an undergraduate or master’s degree (or higher) who regularly provide information about sexual health in educational or health environments. This includes but is not limited to schools, residential treatment facilities, medical centers, and family planning centers.

–Sexuality counselors are primarily professionals providing health care, like nurses, doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, who assist in defining a client’s sexual issues and concerns, and provide both counseling.

–Sex therapists are mental health professionals who are licensed in their states or countries to provide mental health care. They have completed graduate school for clinical training in their professional area. This may be a PhD, MD, MSW, or MA.

–Multidisciplinary focus. Sexual health professionals consistently interact with other disciplines to promote the principles of sexual health for the clients and groups they serve. The cohort style learning encourages this multidisciplinary approach.

CEs: The program is approved for up to 195 AASECT CEs. It offers medical CMEs and social work/counseling ACE CEs as well.

Advisory Board: The program’s advisory board is composed of leaders in the fields of sexual health and reproductive justice and includes: Eli Coleman, PhD; Betsy Crane, PhD; Ed Goldman, JD; Debby Herbenick, PhD; Hilda Hutcherson, MD; Tim Johnson, MD; Beverly Whipple, PhD.

For further information contact:

Sallie Foley, LMSW, UMSHCP Director at smfoley@umich.edu734.764.4074


Sex, Judaism & Feminism

On July 1, 2015, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1


If you have a curiosity about this topic, there is nobody better suited to teach it than Talli Rosenbaum.  Talli is a gifted sex therapist in Israel.  In this 5 week on-line course, Talli brings you a frank and open exploration of some of our deepest desires, a conversation about sex in Judaism from a uniquely feminist perspective. This course, open to people of all genders and all backgrounds, brings together some of the most respected leaders in the field from around the world: sex therapists, sex-positive activists, writers, health practitioners and more. The course will be taking place on Wednesdays in July, at 1PM EST, 8PM Israel time.  To register go to: 


Sex Made Simple

On June 13, 2015, in sex therapy, by drneilcannon1

If you are a clinician and you are only going to buy one book this year, Sex Made Simple, by Dr. Barry McCarthy may just be the one.  Barry was actually helping me this morning to prepare for my class that I am teaching at the University of Michigan when he mentioned that his new book will be published later this month so I immediately pre-ordered it.

I also learned this morning that Barry will be doing a clinical training here in Denver this December of 2015 with PESI. If you are a clinician and want to attend Barry’s workshop, just let me know and I will send you the brochure.

I have attended many of Barry’s workshops over the years however he really wowed me was the first time we met one on one a few years ago.  I am sure you can relate to this that many people of Barry’s professional stature, when in social situations do a lot of talking about themselves.  Barry on the other hand expressed genuine curiosity about me and I recall him asking about my therapeutic orientations as well as my preferred models and methods.  Barry is a gift to our field and one of the nicest men one could ever meet.

sex made simple 2

Re-Thinking Infidelity

On June 7, 2015, in Denver Sex Therapy, by drneilcannon1

Yesterday in Minneapolis I had the privilege of introducing my friend, Esther Perel, to 600 sex therapists for her key note plenary address.  We were attending the annual international conference for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists (AASECT).  AASECT is the leading certification body in the world for clinical and educational aspects of human sexuality.

Esther not only packed the house, but she shook it!  I have never seen any other speaker at this event receive such a long and enthusiastic standing ovation following her speech.  Esther is the author of the best-seller, Mating in Captivity and now has more than 7 million views on her two Ted Talks.  Esther is a true thought-leader on the subject of eroticism.



Dr. Neil Cannon and Esther Perel speaking in Minneapolis