Medicalizations and demedicalizations of sexuality therapies

J Sex Res. 2012;49(4):311-8. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2012.678948.


This article complicates recent discussions about the expanding zones and influences of medicalization and biomedicalization on sexuality and sex therapy by contextualizing them with competing nonmedicalizing trends. These latter developments include an escalating nonexpert commercial sexuality sector on the Internet, as well as a long history of anarchic and democratizing social politics, such as "the counterculture" and "free love movements." What these nonmedicalizing trends have in common is the view of sexual problems and solutions as far broader than sexual dysfunctions and sex therapies, a belief in the social determinants of individuals' sexual experiences, and a deep concern regarding the socially harmful consequences of medicalization. With the quantity of sexuality information and advice available to the public through the Internet only likely to expand, a long era of clashing claims about relations between sexuality and health and about the role of expertise in sexual life can be foreseen.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicalization*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy*
  • Sexuality*