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Between Professional Ambivalence and Multidisciplinary Harmony: a Qualitative Study on Sexologist as a Profession

Between Professional Ambivalence and Multidisciplinary Harmony: a Qualitative Study on Sexologist as a Profession

Objective and research questions: The aim is to get in-depth knowledge of the sexologists’ own descriptions and experiences of their profession. How do sexologists describe themselves (e.g. age, gender, professional background)? In what ways do the sexologists describe their profession (e.g. target groups, type of sexual problems, working models)? How do they talk about the professionalization process (e.g. education, authorization, ethical rules, organizations)?

Data was collected through qualitative research interviews with 34 professionally active sexologists and members of The Swedish Association for Sexology, 26 women and 8 men, aged 34–88 years. The informants can be divided into medical and therapeutical sexologists, all of whom identify strongly with their primary profession prior to becoming sexologists. Physicians as sexologist have given way to social workers and nurses, whereby sexology has been transformed into a female-dominated field. Furthermore, different groups of sexologists have emerged: pioneers, competence sexologists, entrepreneurs, research sexologists and the non-professionals.

The paradigm shift has created certain tensions between different approaches. However, competition is not primarily experienced toward others within the interdisciplinary realm of sexology, but rather between those who have professional authority and those non-professionals who strive for legitimacy in the field.

Areas of Interest / Categories: WAS 2013

WAS 2013

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