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Letter from the Chair in Sexual Health

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Coleman-Chr-BP.jpgThe American Psychiatric Association (APA) has concluded a first step in revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association by releasing proposed new classifications and criteria for the next revision of the DSM due to be released in 2013. At the same time, the World Health Organization (WHO) is undergoing its own process of revising its International Classifications of Diseases (ICD). The sexual and gender diagnoses are sure to spark intense debate. Sexual and gender disorders can be barriers to sexual health. Access to care for these disorders can lead to improvements in sexual health. At the same time, pathologizing normative sexual behavior and gender expressions can lead to stigma, discrimination, and poor sexual and other health outcomes. What is considered a disorder by these organizations has an enormous impact on all of us.

We know from history that psychiatrists once classified masturbation, oral sex, and homosexuality as perversions. With new knowledge regarding human sexuality, these were removed from the category of "sexual disorders." While the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality in 1973, it was not until 2001 that the Chinese Psychiatric Association did so.

At present, there is quite a bit of concern and disagreement about the existing diagnostic categories and criteria for the sexual and gender diagnoses. Several national health boards have broken from the ICD and have declassified previously classified "disorders." For example, Denmark removed sadomasochism from their classification system in 1995, and as of January 1, 2009, Sweden declassified dual-role transvestism, gender identity disorder of childhood, fetishism, sadomasochism and multiple disorders of sexual preference. They retained transsexualism in order to preserve medical and psychological treatment for this condition (Pink News, 2008).

In February 2010, Norway followed suit and declassified these same "disorders" from their national health board. In February 2010, France became the first country in the world to remove transsexualism from its official list of mental disorders but has retained under a special category the ability for individuals with severe gender dysphoria to received appropriate treatment. The French Health Ministry has already agreed to push other countries in the European Union to drop transsexualism from their lists of mental disorders (Time, 2010). As noted in the article below, Cuba has recommended that transsexualism be removed from the ICD as well.

Last revised in 2000, there seems to be a general feeling that revision of ICD is necessary because of advances in knowledge, a deep concern about balancing the restriction of sexual freedoms and pathologizing normal variations in sexual and gender expressions, and the need to define pathological states for research purposes and access to care (and the right to the best possible care).

There is certainly intense concern regarding ridding the ICD of old and pejorative terms such as impotence, frigidity, premature ejaculation, nymphomania and satyriasis and excessive sexual drive.

A fundamental shift has been suggested in classification of sexual dysfunctions according to the traditional Kaplan/Masters and Johnson model of sexual response. This has mostly been driven by research on female sexual functioning and dysfunction that challenges the old assumption of parallelism of sexual response. Many argue that there is a fundamental difference in sexual response and dysfunctions in men and women are fundamentally different and therefore need different diagnostic criteria. Also, as we further understand the interplay between psychogenic and organic factors, many believe that there is a false dichotomy between organic and psychogenic factors in sexual dysfunction and perhaps in the other sexual and gender disorders. Sexual disorders may involve multiple psychological, interpersonal, and biologic/organic causes, and these influences are not always separate entities. They challenge the prevailing notion that organic sexual problems can be separated from psychogenic problems. There have been suggestions to creating a different category for sexual problems, eliminating the "dependence" of psychiatry and the stigma of a mental illness.

The debate over the paraphilias and whether to retain fetishism, transvestic fetishism, sadism and masochism will be contentious. The proposed new category of hypersexual disorder is clearly an attempt to recognize that some "normal" sexual activity can become excessive, driven, compulsive and in some ways "addictive." The potential misuse (and threat of over pathologization) of this category is enormous and there are also still fundamental questions regarding pathophysiology and nomenclature. And the debate over gender identity disorders will loom even larger. Clinicians, physicians, and researchers have made many important recommendations. The APA has responded to some of these recommendations but the stigmatizing nature of the proposed revisions still remains. Changing gender identity disorder to gender incongruence has not seemed to satisfy anyone on either side of the debate. The APA has responded to some of these recommendations but the stigmatizing nature of the proposed revisions still remains. Changing gender identity disorder to gender incongruence has not seemed to be received well by many on either side of the debate.

I am pleased that the faculty of the Program in Human Sexuality have been involved in this debate and that their research has been used to inform the revision process. Having just reviewed and made recommendations to the WHO regarding proposed revisions to the ICD sexual and gender diagnoses, I am very aware of how difficult this task will be. It will be very challenging for the APA and WHO to find the right balance in the revision of the sexual and gender diagnoses in the DSM-V and ICD-11. Both bodies have opened up the revision process to public discussion and debate (DSM and ICD).

In considering the revisions, sexual health and rights need to be taken into consideration. Based on work from the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), I offer these guiding principles.

1.    Recognition and treatment of sexual and gender disorders is a basic sexual and human right.

2.    DSM and ICD should take into consideration the sexual rights of individuals as it considers pathologizing sexual behaviors or gender expressions and individuals' right to freedom to express their full sexual potential, as well as to freedom from sexual coercion, exploitation, and abuse. The individual has a right to individual decisions and behaviors as long as they do not intrude on the sexual rights of others.

3.    Sexual and gender diagnoses should not be used in any way to support any forms of discrimination regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social class, religion, or physical and emotional disability.

4.    Sexual and gender diagnoses should not be used in any way to pathologize the derivement of sexual pleasure, including autoeroticism, as a source of physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual well being.

5.    Sexual and gender diagnose should not be used in any way to pathologize those who decide to marry or not, to divorce, and/or to establish other types of responsible sexual associations.

6.    Sexual and gender diagnoses should not be used in any way to infringe on the individuals right to make free and responsible reproductive choices. This encompasses the right to decide whether or not to have children, the number and spacing of children, and the right to full access to the means of fertility regulation.

7.    The DSM and ICD sexual and gender diagnoses should support the right to sexual health care. Sexual health care should be available for prevention and treatment of all sexual concerns, problems and disorders.

8.    There has not been enough research into the understanding or treatment of female sexual dysfunctions and that a gender perspective is needed.

9.    A lack of scientifically valid information concerning sexual function within the general population is pervasive and the negative impact of this ignorance is felt around the world.

10.    Given the importance of adequate sexual functioning for general sexual health, overall health and well-being, and the health of interpersonal relationships, the updating of the DSM and ICD is welcomed to recognize the distinctions between normal range of sexual and gender expression, and the concerns, problems, and dysfunction and disorders that require intervention. Appropriate sexual health services must be made available throughout the world.

11. Given the concern about "Americanization of mental illness," as an international classification of diseases (Watters, 2010a, b), ICD will need to pay particular attention to the influence of culture and globalization in arriving at a classification system that will meet the needs of the world.

I welcome your comments and encourage you to express your opinions to the APA before April 10, 2010 and to the WHO.

Pink News. Sweden removes transvestism and other 'sexual behaviours' from list of diseases November 19, 2008 Accessed from the Internet on March 14, 2010,

Time. In France, Transsexuals Celebrate a Small Victory. March 1, 2001. Accessed from the Internet on March 14, 2010 at,8599,1968767,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

Watters, E. (2010a)The Americanization of Mental Illness. New York Times Magazine, January 8, 2010. Accessed from the Internet on March 14, 2010 at

Watters, E. (2010b). Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. New York: Free Press.

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DSM-5 proposed revisions announced

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DSM-5-BP.jpgOn February 10, 2010, the American Psychiatric Association released the proposed draft of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The proposed diagnostic criteria will be available for public comment until April 20, 2010.

The last edition of the DSM was published in 1994 and proposed revisions represent years of research and consultation by worldwide experts. At the APA a DSM-5 Task Force and 13 work groups comprised of more than 160 world-renowned clinicians and researchers, representing different categories of psychiatric diagnoses, have reviewed a wide body of scientific research in the field to arrive at the current draft. In a statement released by the APA, the organization's President Alan Schatzberg, MD, said, "These draft criteria represent a decade of work by the APA in reviewing and revising DSM. But it is important to note that DSM-5 is still very much a work in progress - and these proposed revisions are by no means final." Over the next two years the APA will conduct three phases of field trials to test some of the proposed diagnostic criteria in clinical settings. Proposed final revisions are expected in 2012 with a final DSM-5 publication date of May 2013.

Several PHS faculty members have contributed to the proposed revisions of the DSM. Michael Miner, PhD, served as an advisor to the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders work group. Research articles authored by Walter Bockting, PhD, Eli Coleman, PhD, Michael Miner, PhD, and Nancy Raymond, MD, are cited as supporting rationale for proposed revisions.

Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults
Bockting, W. O. (2008). Psychotherapy and the real-life experience: From gender dichotomy to gender diversity. Sexologies, 17, 211-224.

Hypersexual Disorder
Miner, M. H., Coleman, E., Center, B. A., Ross, M., & Rosser, B. R. S. (2007). The Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory: Psychometric properties. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 579-587.

Raymond, N. C., Coleman, E., & Miner, M. H. (2003). Psychiatric comorbidity and compulsive/ impulsive traits in compulsive sexual behavior. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 44, 370-380.

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How do you define "sex"?

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A new study from the Kinsey Institute published in the journal Sexual Health shows that people do not agree on the definition of the term "had sex." These findings reinforce the need for clear and precise communication around sexual topics by health care providers, researchers, educators, and parents.

The study published in February is a broader reexamination of an original study published in 1999 during the heated debate around the meaning of "to have sexual relations." In the original study participants were all college students, however, in the new study participants were a representative sample of 486 English-speaking Indiana residents ranging in age from 18 - 96 years. Kinsey research associate and study co-author, Brandon Hill said, "Throwing the net wider, with a more representative sample, only made it more confusing and complicated. People were even less consistent across the board."

Through a telephone survey participants were asked, "Would you say you 'had sex' if the most intimate behavior you engage in was . . .," followed by 14 specific behaviors. Here are some of the results:

•    Responses did not differ significantly overall for men and women. The study involved 204 men and 282 women.

•    95 percent of respondents would consider penile-vaginal intercourse having had sex, but this rate drops to 89 percent if there is no ejaculation.

•    81 percent considered penile-anal intercourse having had sex, with the rate dropping to 77 percent for men in the youngest age group (18-29), 50 percent for men in the oldest age group (65 and up) and 67 percent for women in the oldest age group.

•    71 percent and 73 percent considered oral contact with a partner's genitals, either performing or receiving, as having had sex.

•    Men in the youngest and oldest age groups were less likely to consider oral-genital contact "sex" compared with the middle two age groups.

•    Significantly fewer men in the oldest age group considered penile-vaginal intercourse to be sex (77 percent), when compared to the other respondents.

William Yarber, HSD, is Director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention in Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, and one of the study co-authors. He points out that, "There's a vagueness of what sex is in our culture and media. If people don't consider certain behaviors sex, they might not think sexual health messages about risk pertain to them. The AIDS epidemic has forced us to be much more specific about behaviors, as far as identifying specific behaviors that put people at risk instead of just sex in general. But there's still room for improvement."

Researchers suggest that physicians, researchers, and educators should use precise behavior-specific terminology and not assume that their personal definition of what it means to have "had sex" is shared by the people with which they are working.

Eli Coleman, PhD, commented on this study in an ABC News article "Study: Adults Can't Agree What 'Sex' Means."

Sanders, S.A., Hill, B.J., Yarber, W.L., Graham, C.A., Crosby, R.A., & Milhausen, R.R. (2010). Misclassification bias: Diversity in conceptualisations about having 'had sex'. Sexual Health, 7, 31-34. doi:10.1071/SH09068

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parents-BP.jpgA recent Harvard study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that parents are waiting too long to discuss important sexual topics with their children. In the study more than 40% of adolescents had become sexually active before their parents broached the subjects of condom use, birth control, and sexually transmitted infections.

In the study 141 parents and their children aged 13 - 17 each completed four surveys over a one-year time period. Surveys completed by the parents focused on the specific details of the sexual health communications that they had with their kids. Surveys completed by adolescents asked about the sexual topics that their parents had discussed with them as well as the sexual acts in which they had engaged. Researchers divided sexual acts into three categories presexual stage (handholding, kissing), precoital stage (genital touching, oral sex), and coital stage (intercourse, postintercourse). Consistently parents were late in their timing of sexual health communication on topics specific to their own child's sexual experiences.

Participants were recruited from a communications workshop aimed to improve parent-adolescent communication so they are not necessarily representative of the general population. Dr. Mark Schuster, chief of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and a co-author of the study told ABC News that "If we had had a representative sample of the country, I think we would have found that even more parents had not had these discussions."

The study reinforces the need for parents to start talking about sexual topics with their kids early, and to revisit the subject often. Jamie Feldman, MD, PhD, spoke with Don Shelby on WCCO radio in Minnesota and Gil Gross on KGO News Talk AM 810 in California regarding the Harvard study and suggestions for improving parent-child communication about sex. Eli Coleman, PhD, also discussed the study in the ABC News article "Don't Let the 'Sex Talk' Come Too Little, Too Late for Your Teen."

Beckett, M. K., Elliott, M. N., Martino, S., Kanouse, D. E., Rosalie, C., Klein, D. J., & Schuster, M. A. (2010) Timing of Parent and Child Communication About Sexuality Relative to Children's Sexual Behaviors. Pediatrics,125, 34-42. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-0806

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Gay marriage now legal in Washington DC

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dc-bp.jpgOn March 3, 2010, same-sex marriage became legal in Washington DC. The district joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont in granting marriage licenses to gay couples.

Many couples have requested licenses, some standing in line at the courthouse for hours. According to the Associated Press the courthouse spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz said that the 466 applications received from both gay and straight couples is much higher than the 50 or so applications normally received in a week.

On March 9, 2010, the Human Rights Campaign headquarter office in DC hosted some of the first wedding ceremonies.

Video of the first ceremonies on YouTube

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Bockting-IOM-BP.jpgThe Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, a resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues, has appointed Walter Bockting, PhD, to a new project that will focus on health care and medical research for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. The IOM selects only the top medical scientists for its committee work and membership. Bockting is an associate professor and the coordinator of Transgender Health Services at PHS.

The IOM committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities will assess the state of the science on the health status of LGBT populations; identify research gaps and opportunities related to LGBT health; and outline a research agenda that will assist the National Institutes of Health in enhancing its research efforts in this area. Additionally, the committee will consider research training needs to foster the advancement of knowledge about LGBT health and identify impediments to such advancement.

Bockting said, "I am honored to serve on the Institute of Medicine Committee. While we will address the entire spectrum of LGBT health issues across the life span, I hope to especially contribute in the area of transgender health." He continued, "I am excited about the opportunity to be part of shaping the research agenda so needed to effectively reduce the health disparities found among this population."

Areas of interest the committee may include but are not limited to:
* the state of knowledge regarding LGBT health, health risks and protective factors, health disparities, and access to and utilization of health care;

* the developmental process from childhood across the life course, in the context of family and social networks; the impact of family and social acceptance of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression on health and well-being; and the experience of families with LGBT parents;

* the effects of age cohort, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and geography (particularly urban vs rural environments) on the health of LGBT persons;
the effects of social determinants and cultural factors, including stigma, discrimination, and violence on the health and development of LGBT persons;

* the methodological challenges, including definitional and measurement issues, and study design issues involved in conducting research on the health of LGBT people, and identification of best practices for conducting research in these populations;

* research gaps, opportunities, and priorities for conducting research in the LGBT population;

* research training to advance knowledge about LGBT health.
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cuba-BP.jpgBean Robinson, PhD, had the rare opportunity to travel to Cuba recently. After a difficult two-year application process, a group of 24 people from Temple Christ Church received approval to travel throughout the country to meet with religious, artistic, cultural, and social services organizations. The group traveled to Havana, Matanzas, Guantanamo, and Santiago.

Appointments that directly related to Robinson's research and clinical work included meetings with the director of the Christian Institute for Gender Studies, a visit to the Women's Settlement House (Casa de Orientacion de la Mujer), and time at the Federation of Cuban Women (Federación de Mujeres Cubanas - FMC). The group also attended a seminar by local specialists treating individuals living with HIV and AIDS and visited a School of Social Work.

When the Soviet Union fell in 1990, Cuba lost billions of dollars of direct financial support and trade. Today the country is still suffering from the loss. Robinson noted, "Although the country is extremely poor there are fascinating progressive reforms in place, and some of them are decades old. The work of the Federation of Cuban Women is impressive. Nearly 80% of Cuban women belong to the federation and they have been a strong force for gender equality in education, employment, and society. There is an official family code that states that men are to share equally in house work and child care. It goes to show that solidarity can be powerful."

In addition to the group itinerary, Robinson met with Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) and president of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Society for Sexuality Studies (SOCUMES). Castro is the daughter of current president Raul Castro and Vilma Lucila Espín Guillois who was a feminist, revolutionary, and the founder of the FMC. Mariela Castro is a tenacious activist for GLBT rights. She was instrumental in improving access to care for transgender individuals including the resolution passed by the Cuban government in June 2008 that provides fully integrated health care for transsexuals including government subsidized chest/breast and genital reconstruction surgery to patients who qualify. Robinson's visit came days after the Cuban Congress of Sexual Education, Orientation, and Therapy where SOCUMES proposed to their General Assembly of Members the adoption of the "Statement on Despathologization of Transsexualism" recommendations that are based on a proposal made by the National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Transsexual People of CENESEX (see statement below).

During the 10-day trip the group had the opportunity to visit various churches throughout the country and to meet leaders from the Cuban Council of Churches, the president of the Latin American and Caribbean Council of Churches, and the Matanzas Seminary's Women Knitters Group. They also visited museums including the Museum of the Revolution, Frank Pais Museum, Guanabacoa Museum of Afro Cuban Religions.

Hernub Roderic Southall and Ernest Bryant of Obsidian Arts were on the trip and made arrangements to meet Cuban artists including painters, sculptors, and musicians. In Santiago the group visited the Luis Diaz Eduardo Cultural Workshop and met artist and center director Isreal Tamayo Zamora, and metal sculptor Julio Carmenate. (See a full list of Cuban artists that the group met below.)

Before they departed the group met with the Haitian Cultural Association to discuss ways to help the Haitian people in the aftermath of the January earthquake. Many members of the group made monetary donations in convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) toward relief efforts.

Watch a video (11:25min) interview from January 1, 2009, with Mariela Castro Espín and Anastasia Haydulina of Russia Today Television in Havana Cuba.

Cuban Multidisciplinary Society for Sexuality Studies

socumes-logo.jpg5th Cuban Congress of Sexual Education, Orientation and Therapy

The Sexual Diversity section of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Society for the Study of Sexuality (SOCUMES) proposed the adoption of the following Declaration in its General Assembly of Members on 18 January 2010 in Havana, based on a proposal made by the National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Transsexual People, of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX).

Recalling the current inclusion of transsexuality as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) published by American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) of the World Health Organization (WHO);

Recalling also that the Standards of Care adopted in Cuba by the National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Transsexual People rely on those published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), which also includes the classification of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and International Classification of Diseases E-10;

Considering that the American Psychiatric Association will publish in 2012 the fifth version of the above mentioned manual and that the chief and other specialists of the working group responsible for the review have recently proposed the non-removal of this category, as well as the application of corrective psychological therapy to children, to the sex assigned at birth;

Taking into account the concern expressed by individuals and human rights groups at the international level regarding this issue,

Considering that all transgender people -including transsexuality, transvestites and intersex people- may be vulnerable to marginalization, discrimination and stigma, based on the socially regulated binary approach that recognizes only two gender identities: male and female;

Considering also that the above classifications perpetuate and deepen social discrimination against these groups, causing irreversible physical and psychological damage that can lead these people to commit suicide;

Considering in addition that transsexuality and other transgender expressions are not an option for a lifestyle and that the modifications to their bodies have no cosmetic intentions. It is a right and an inner need to live with the gender identity which the person feels to belong;

Recalling the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, especially Principle 18 on "Protection from Medical Abuses" which, among other things, make States and governments responsible to "ensure that any medical or psychological treatment or counseling does not, explicitly or implicitly, treat sexual orientation and gender identity as medical conditions to be treated, cured or suppressed";

Considering that the right to public health and universal free access to its services are guaranteed by the Cuban government for all, but still requires additional laws to fully protect the rights of transgender people;

Recalling Resolution 126 of Public Health Ministry, of 4 June 2008, which regulates the procedures involved in health care for transsexuals;

Recognizing that multidisciplinary care provided by the National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Transsexual People, since its foundation in 1979 until today, has led to a remarkable improvement in the quality of life of transsexual people and their families.

Express our support for the removal of transsexuality from the international classification of mental disorder, especially in the DSM-V update to be published in 2010.

Reject the application of psychological therapies for transgender people, in order to reverse their gender identity, as well as sex reassignment surgeries performed to those under 18 years old.

Reaffirm that transsexuality and other transgender identities are expressions of sexual diversity, to which it must be ensured all psychological, medical and surgical treatments required to alleviate alterations to the mental health of these individuals, as a result of stigma and discrimination.

Also reaffirm that the implementation of these procedures respects sexual rights of each person, and are consistent with bio-ethical principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and justice.

Reaffirm in addition that transgender care should be comprehensive, beyond just medical and psychological care, to ensure recognition and respect for their individual rights.

Reiterate the need to consider all necessary legislations to ensure recognition of these rights, especially the Gender Identity Bill, which includes the identity change regardless sex reassignment surgery performance.

Call for a broader implementation of educational strategies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity at all levels of education and to the general population, as stated in the National Program for Sexual Education.

Reaffirm the need to include the attention to transgendered people in comprehensive social policies of the State and Government of Cuba, in correspondence with the "Declaration of the General Assembly of the United Nations, condemning the violation of human rights based on sexual orientation and identity gender ", supported by Cuba on 18 December 2008.

Havana, 22 January 2010

Cuban artists visited by the Temple Christ Church group
Agustin Jimenez Chacon
Carlos Antonio Para
Danis Montero Ortega
David Grinan Gonzalez
Edgar Yero
Eduardo Troche
Eira Arrate
Estela Estevez Dieppa
Eyder Garbey Rodriguez
Franklin Gomez Gonce
Gilberto Gutierrez
Israel Tomayo
Joaquin Bolivar
Jorge Luis Chaves Games
Jose Luis Berenguer
Jose Rene (Bola)
Jose Rolando Montero
Jose Armando Medina
Julio Cesar Carmenate Laugart
Justino Reyes
Jorge Juan Knight Vera
Miguel A. Lobaina
Maryenis Lláser Díaz
Mauricio Reyes Aranda
Orlaide Lopez
Pedro M. Vazquez F
Vivian Lozano
Xiomara Gutiérrez Valera.
Mearson Daniel ZaFra Pérez

PHOTO: CENESEX staff with Walter Sawicki (US, third from left), Bean Robinson, PhD (fourth from left), and Mariela Castro Espín (fifth from left), Alberto Roque, MD (sixth from left)

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Pandora's-Box-BP.jpgThe PHS research project Opening Pandora's Box: Somali Women, Sexuality, and HIV/STD Prevention was awarded additional funding in February 2010 through an Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy (IDEA) Multicultural Research Awards from the University of Minnesota's Office of the Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity.

Bean Robinson, PhD, is working on the project with community partners Fatima Jama, program manager at Midwest Community Development Inc, and Amira Ahmed, founder and executive director at Midwest Community Development Inc. The study will be the first to examine HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of Somali women of all sexual orientations with the ultimate goal of meeting the critical need to reduce HIV and STD transmission among African-born Americans in Minnesota (and the US), as African-born Americans have the highest HIV/AIDS rates of any ethnic group. Interviews will be conducted in either English or Somali by the project's bilingual Somali-raised community partners, who will recruit participants from Somali gathering places, mosques, and gay/lesbian clubs and bars. These Somali community partners represent heterosexual and gay/ lesbian/bisexual identities and have wide contacts including ones within the straight and hidden gay Somali communities.

The study was launched in September 2009 with an initial grant of $15,000 from the Program in Health Disparities Research also at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The additional $6,900 from the IDEA grant will help to increase the scientific scope and rigor of the project.

The information gathered from this study will be used to secure additional funding to further study the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to HIV/STD transmission and prevention within the Somali community. Ultimately the group will translate this knowledge to develop the first HIV counseling and testing intervention for Somali women.

PHOTO: Amira Ahmed, Fatima Jama, Bean Robinson, PhD

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Leiblum-BP.jpgSandra Leiblum, PhD, a pioneer in modern sex therapy and research died on January 28, 2010. Described as vibrant, generous, and irrepressible, she will be missed by colleagues and friends. Leiblum had a distinguished career that included more than 130 published research articles, 10 books, distinguished awards, and international leadership positions. Her highly revered book, Principles and Practices of Sex Therapy, is now in its fourth edition. Leiblum also authored Sexual Desire Disorders, Erectile Disorders: Assessment and Treatment, Case Studies in Sex Therapy, and her popular book on female sexuality entitled Getting the Sex You Want: A Woman's Guide to Becoming Proud, Passionate, and Pleased in Bed (co-authored with Judith Sachs).

Leiblum was Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Director of the Center for Sexual and Relational Health and Director of the Psychology Internship Program at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, where she was on faculty for more than 30 years. She directed the human sexuality course for medical students which was recognized as one the premier courses in medical school sexuality education in the country. In recent years she became increasingly involved in research on the effects of medical illness and menopause on female sexual function and dysfunction, the pharmacological enhancement of female sexuality, and the impact of the internet on couple relationships. Two of Leiblum's recent studies attracted national attention; the first was investigation into the causes, concomitants, and treatment of persistent genital arousal disorder, and the other regarding the aftermath of sexual abuse of boys and men by clergy.

A leader in the field of sexual health, Leiblum was the first president of the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health, president of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, and a fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. In addition to being honored for her excellence in teaching at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, she received the "Woman Of Distinction" Award from the Middlesex County Commission on Women; the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists Professional Standards of Excellence Award for professional contributions to the field of sex therapy; and the Masters and Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Sex Therapy and Research. Most recently, she was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, for distinguished contributions to sexuality research over a lifetime.

In May 2009 Leiblum was seriously injured in a bicycle accident while she was on vacation. She was a supporter of PHS and a respected colleague and generous friend to our faculty. Leiblum is survived by her son Jake Kassen, husband Frank Brickle, and brother Mark Leiblum.

PHOTO: Sandra Leiblum, PhD, credit: John Emerson

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Welcome new PHS staff

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Preston-Blaine-BP.jpgPreston Blaine is a student assistant in the front office of PHS clinic, the Center for Sexual Health. Preston is in his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota. He is majoring in finance and minoring in monetary economics and financial accounting.

Lauren-McGinty-BP.jpgLauren McGinty is a new student assistant in the front office of PHS clinic, the Center for Sexual Health. McGinty is an art history major in her junior at the University of Minnesota.


J. Laine Mohnkern is a new research assistant on the project All Gender Health Online. She received a Bachelors Degree at the University of Minnesota in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. While finishing a Master's degree at the University of Minnesota in Social Work, Laine is an MSW Intern at Hennepin County Long Term Foster Care, and is an active member of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition. Most of Laine's professional career has been spent working for the non-profit and grassroots community; concurrently Laine has been an activist in the queer community for eight years.

Rebecca-Noothed-BP.jpgRebecca Noothed is a new student assistant in the front office of PHS clinic, the Center for Sexual Health. Noothed is in her sophomore year at the University of Minnesota. She is a history major on the pre-law track.

Aimee Tubbs, PsyD, is a new postdoctoral fellow at PHS. She received her doctorate from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. Tubbs provides individual, family, couple and group psychotherapy for a wide range of sexual health matters including: transgender and sexual orientation issues, relationship and sexual problems, and sexual offending. She incorporates an eclectic range of interventions drawing from developmental systems, cognitive-behavioral, and person-centered theory in her approach to addressing a variety of mental health concerns that often accompany sexual health problems including: depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma/abuse, interpersonal and family dynamics, grief, and self-esteem. Tubbs's research interests include the identification of risk and protective factors related to resiliency. She is committed to helping her clients capitalize on their strengths while addressing the barriers to good mental health.

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Eli-lecture.jpgThe faculty of the Program in Human Sexuality invite you to explore the latest in sexual health research. PHS faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and research collaborators present their work at our monthly Faculty Research Presentations. Join us at 12 noon - 1 PM at PHS, 1300 South 2nd Street, Room 142, Minneapolis, MN 55454. To reserve your seat or to request notice of future presentations please email

You can now listen to past presentations on the PHS website.

April 14, 2010, Eli Coleman, PhD
"Impulsive/Compulsive Sexual Behavior: A Case Presentation"

During this case presentation Eli Coleman, PhD, will discuss how impulsive/compulsive sexual behavior can cause occupational and relationship challenges for individuals that can lead to anxiety, depression, feelings of abandonment, and emotional deprivation. He will also discuss events or feelings which may lead people to impulsive or compulsive sexual behavior, and define methods of treatment.

May 12, 2010, Michelle van Ryn, PhD, MPH
"Colorectal Cancer Care and Sexual Functioning"

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Joycelyn Elders, MD, to speak at U of M

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Elders-2-BP.jpg"Revolutionizing Our Sexually Dysfunctional Society: Are Americans Ready to Talk, Listen, and Learn?" 

15th U.S. Surgeon General

Friday, May 7, 2010
4:30 pm

University of Minnesota
Mayo Memorial Auditorium
425 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Free and open to the public.

On May 7, 2010, former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, MD, will deliver a free lecture on the University of Minnesota campus. Her presentation "Revolutionizing Our Sexually Dysfunctional Society: Are Americans Ready to Talk, Listen, and Learn?" will cover the public health issue of sexual health and the fundamental changes required to move our society forward. Throughout her career as a pediatrician, state health director, and U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Elders has advocated that providing every citizen with a comprehensive sexual health education will not only improve the health of individuals, but advance the health of our communities and our society. She promotes the essential training of health care providers and education professionals, as well as improving access to sexual health information and sexual health services.

Please join us for the inaugural event of the John Money Lecture in Pediatric Sexology hosted by the Program in Human Sexuality, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School.

For more information visit

Event co-sponsors
Boynton Health Service

Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics

Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center, Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine

Immunization Action Coalition

Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention, and Parenting (MOAPPP)

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

School of Public Health

SHADE (Sexual Health Awareness and Disease Education)

Youth and AIDS Projects, Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Winter 2010 Volume 2 Issue 3 category.

Summer 2013 Volume 4 Issue 3 is the previous category.

Winter 2012 Volume 3 Issue 3 is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.