I'm a Sex Expert!

I was just doing an innocent little search on the web for the name of a woman a had heard was now the newest sex expert. Two hours later, I've surfaced from a sex-advice surfing session that took me through an absolutely crazy array of 'sex experts'. I know that everyone thinks that they have something to say about sex but are you really someone that should be giving out advice on the net? My search marooned me in AOL's 'coaches' section where I did not find any mention of the woman I was searching for but found no less than 12 love and sex experts and even more relationship experts. Do we really need this much advice? How could you possibly decide who's advice to take? The experts range from people who actually have education and professional experience in human sexuality such a Yvonne Fullbright, to people who have some counselling experience and seem to think that makes them sex experts like John Gray, to Star Jones who, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why she's there. Star Jones is a lawyer and a talk show host. Why on earth does she qualify as a sex expert?

So after sampling some of the pearls of wisdom from these 'coaches', I have some expert advice - on how to choose a sex expert.

1. Read their bios. What is their educational and professional background. Have they actually studied sexuality in the area that they claim to be an expert on? Do they have professional experience in sexual health research, counselling or sex therapy? Personal experience does not qualify you to give advice. Most of have had sex - are we all experts?
2. Do they give real, thoughtful answers rather than soundbites? It's hard to find good information in the sex advice world because most of the articles, particularly on the internet are very short and to the point. A soundbite is not going to tell you anything that will really help you.
3. Do they allow for differences in individuals or do they focus on generalizations and sexual stereotypes? John Gray has built an empire based on sexual stereotyping and people eat it right up. There is always a sliver of truth in a generalization but not all women are from venus and not all men are from Mars. A really good sex expert understands that people are unique and advice should either focus on the individual, or, when that's not possible, allow for individual differences amongst the generalizations.
4. Is their advice based on research and fact or personal values? Dr. Laura anyone? For some sex and love 'experts' their job as an expert serves no other purpose than to allow them to push their personal agendas. If an expert is constantly telling people what is right or wrong, they are more interested in their own opinion than on actually helping. Good sex advice offers suggestions, not moral imperatives.
5. Do their values and focus fit with yours? It's impossible to be free of values when you talk about sex. Every expert has their values around what sex means and what is and is not healthy sexuality. Some experts believe that open marriage is synonymous with infidelity, some think that internet porn is dangerous and leads to addiction, some actually believe that homosexuality is a mental illness. If you're going to go surfing for advice on the net, you need to realize that all of these experts have values around sex and you just need to pick out what those are. Don't take advice from someone who's values are not consistent with yours - you'll only end up frustrated.
6. Are they selling you something? Watch for subtle or not so subtle attempts to get you to buy something. Are they sponsored by a drug company or toy company? Are they pushing their latest book? It's not such a bad thing to buy books or toys to enhance your sex life but posing as a sex expert just so you can push a product is dishonest.
For more information on how to choose an expert, buy my book, 'Sexperts: How to Find the Best Bang for Your Sex Advice Buck!' ........ just kidding!

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