Sex Therapy with Erotically Marginalized Clients: Nine Principles of Clinical Support provides a clinical guide to relational sex therapy with individuals, partnerships, polyships, and alternative family structures where one or more of the clients are erotically marginalized. This term refers to people who are at risk of being pathologized and oppressed both outside and inside the clinical setting due to their gender identities, sexual orientations, or sexual practices.
The book outlines nine principles for therapeutic practice which meet the needs of erotically marginalized clients, whose forms of sexuality and desire are rarely spoken about and for whom there is a dearth of language in therapeutic contexts. Each principle concludes with a series of ‘key points’ and then followed by illustrative clinical case studies, contributed by sex therapists and clinicians who self-identify as erotically marginalized and who also work with erotically marginalized clients. The book also provides a full glossary, ‘Defining Erotically Marginalized Identities’.
The authors and case contributors use a radical and affirming lens to examine erotically marginalized identities that are often neglected. The book bridges gaps between the past, present, and future in the field of sex therapy and greatly expands the diversity of experiences and identities within the field, particularly the experience of multiple oppressions.
The book marks a valuable contribution not only to sex therapists but to the wider clinical and therapeutic community.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
Part I: Foundations
- Principle One: Maintain Transparency and Name Systemic and Individual Oppressions
- Principle Two: Challenge Binary Thinking and its Constrictions
- Principle Three: Support Willingness to Experience the Anxiety of Uncertainty
- Principle Four: Practice a Relational and Dialogic Therapeutic Approach to Sex Therapy
- Principle Five: Emphasize Clients’ Own Words, Knowledge, and Narratives
- Principle Six: Locate Oneself and Respond to Clients’ Meta-Communication
- Principle Seven: Support Participation of Family and Communities
- Principle Eight: Practice Active Allyship
- Principle Nine: Build a Community of Colleagues
The Case of Wanda: Individual Therapy with a Queer Cisgender Femme of Asian Descent by Lourdes Dolores Follins
The Case of Layla and Michelle: Most Welcome, Bondage, For Thou Art a Way, I Think, to Liberty by Laura Jacobs
The Case of William: Heteronormatively Queer and Kinky, an Integration Story by Amy Basford-Pequet
The Case of Derick: A Framework for Integration by Thomas Wood
The Case of Niam: Race, Class, Sexuality, and Gender While Being and Becoming by Jaycelle Basford-Pequet
Part II: Practice
The Case of P: Internalized Heterosexism and the Submissive Heterosexual Cisgender Male by Dulcinea Alex Pitagora
The Case of V by Anastasia Fujii
The Case of Queeran: When Shared Intersectionality Supports Black, Fat, and Queer Healing by Lexx Brown-James
The Case of Beth by AndreAs Neumann Mascis
Part III: Systemic
The Case of Chloe: Identity Exploration using a Black Feminist/Systemic Approach for Working with Erotically Marginalized Clients by Erika Evans-Weaver
The Case of B, W, & G: Multiplicity in Positionalities of Therapy with a Poly Triad by Rachel Keller
The Case of Benny: Misogyny and the Dissociated Female Selves by Eve Bogdanove
Glossary: ‘Defining Erotically Marginalized Identities’ by Ellie K. Lipton
Appendices A-D: Referral Letter, ‘Self-Determined Gender Psychosocial Form’, ‘The Allyship Practice Model for the Transfeminist Therapeutic Approach’, ‘Professional Ethics Statement’
Damon M. Constantinides, PhD, LCSW, is an individual, relationship, and sex therapist in Philadelphia, PA. He is also adjunct faculty in the Human Sexuality Program at Widener University.
Shannon L. Sennott, LICSW, is the co-founder of Translate Gender, Inc. and The Center for Psychotherapy and Social Justice in Northampton, MA, as well as, adjunct Faculty at the Smith School for Social WOrk.
Davis Chandler, LICSW, is an individual, family, relationship, and group therapist in Western MA. They utilize a social justice framework focusing on gender diversity and erotically marginalized clients.
"This is a game-changing book for sex therapists and other practitioners working across gender, sex, and relationship diversity. It provides a clear framework for working affirmatively with erotically marginalized clients, illustrated by a powerful range of case contributions which highlight the impact of intersecting oppressions and the diversity of client experiences. Principles are helpfully divided into sections focusing on foundations, practice, and systems, which help the reader to explore how they might work ethically and with integrity, for example by naming systemic oppressions, by challenging binary thinking, by emphasizing clients' own narratives, and by practising active allyship within wider communities. An essential addition to any practitioner's reading list. Highly recommended."
Meg-John Barker, PhD, author of Queer: A Graphic History, Life Isn't Binary, Mindfulness in Sex and Relationship Therapy, and the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy resource on gender, sexual, and relationship diversity.
"This is a clinically sophisticated yet highly accessible text. This book explores, in an engaging and in-depth manner, the experiences of and therapeutic principles for working with erotically marginalized clients. A unique and indispensable component of the text is the use of powerful and detailed clinical vignettes, which not only describe clients but also illuminate the therapists’ own process. Practical advice is provided throughout the book—yet this advice is far from a set of simplified steps of ‘what to do.’ Rather, the authors engage the reader in the gritty realness of working as real people with real clients, and their advice is informed by and reflects that realness, in all its messy and complex glory. The contributors are diverse in their intersectional identities and personal and professional experiences, and the style and content of the chapters mirror that diversity. The result is an eclectic collection of perspectives and content, whereby a reader does not necessarily have to read the entire book in order or in its entirety to effectively use and benefit from it. Careful explanation of key terms, and the inclusion of user-friendly clinical resources and forms, are also key features of the book. In sum, this is a rich and interesting resource that clinicians and other professionals will surely find of great interest."
Abbie Goldberg, PhD, professor of psychology and Director, Women’s & Gender Studies Program, Clark University
"As a psychotherapist and trainer, I am beyond excited that this book is now a resource for our communities. The information is clear, thoughtfully laid out, and fills a much-needed gap in the field. Case examples beautifully demonstrate the nine principles that clinicians can use to better serve erotically marginalized clients, and this is done very skilfully and grounded in an intersectional, social justice framework. I recommend it to anyone who works with clients on topics related to gender and sexuality. Well done!"
Sand Chang, PhD, licenced psychologist and author of A Clinician’s Guide to Gender-Affirming Care
"Most sex therapy books focus on treatment of all the 'normal' clients, leaving a chapter or two, almost as an afterthought, near the end of for those 'other' folk. This book is for the generalist and specialist, for every sex therapist who seeks to include and empower all clients, especially those marginalized in conventional sex therapy. The case vignettes are richly illustrative of inclusive practices at work. This book is remarkable if only for the courage of the editors and authors, all of whom introduce us to their personal identities and professional worlds."
Peggy J. Kleinplatz, PhD, professor, Faculty of Medicine and director of Sex and Couples Therapy Training, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada