Sex & Sociability

Question and commentary on connections, both sexual and social

A Shout Out for Sex Training

Not only did it expand my world, it turned it around completely

I am a sexologist which encompasses the study of human sexual (and relationship) behavior. I am often asked the equivalent of how a nice girl like me gets into a field like this. The credit (blame, if you take an oppositional view) belongs to San Francisco Sex Information’s Training for Volunteers.

In 1972 three women in the helping professions started this phone-in hotline to provide accurate nonjudgmental sex information to the San Francisco Bay Area. Their hopes were that it would be useful for a few years. Now, almost 40 years later, it is still going strong as a telephone help line (415-989-SFSI) and as on online presence (www.sfsi.org) available to the world at large.

 I was a newly divorced single mom with a degree in Psychology and Communications working as a real estate professional when I decided to do some volunteer work and first took the Training. Not only did it expand my world, it turned it around completely. I wrote a book about my experiences with the hotline, Aural Sex & Verbal Intercourse, later re-published as Sex Information, May I Help You?

After working on the phone line for a while I could see the need for more widely available information and I approached my local alternative newspaper, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, with the idea for a Q & A column on sex and relationships. Outside of the columns by the fusty twins Ann and Abbey there was nothing similar available in print. Other papers picked up my column, “Ask Isadora”. I had a local weekly listener call-in radio program. I did several TV talk show guest spots. I got my Master’s Degree and became credentialed as a counselor in California. And here I am more than thirty years later, still happily dealing in sex and relationships. And, no, I am not bored; seldom shocked, but never jaded.

Why do I bring this up now? Because it’s that time of year again. San Francisco Sex Information, SFSI, is about to offer its Fall Training for Volunteers and interested others http://test.sfsi.org/volunteering/training/ The mission of the SFSI training is to “teach people to provide accurate, nonjudgmental sex information to the public. At the end of training, a trainee should make significant progress in basic sex information, communication and education skills, and personal insight.”

One doesn’t have to have a professional interest in sex education or intend to volunteer. One can, and many do, take this training for the purpose of personal education and enrichment. I can not imagine a life as a human being, single, coupled, or any other arrangement, or a profession of any nature that could not be informed and improved by what is taught here.

If you are lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area or can travel there for four different Training weekends, I urge you to consider it. I know you’ll thank me for letting you know about it. So, in advance, you’re welcome.

Isadora AlmanM.F.T., is a Board-certified sex, marriage, and family therapist, lecturer, author, and syndicated advice columnist of "Ask Isadora."

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