Sexual Health Education to all Psychology Students in Europe
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ESSM-EFS PETITION ON SEXOLOGY TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY AUTHORITIES
Sexology is a multidisciplinary science in nature, encompassing all aspects of sexual health from the bio-psycho-social perspective. Sexology is an interdisciplinary field of study, where the individual or the couple are the result of the interaction between biochemical, physiological, psychological and environmental variables. Whilst the World Health Organization (WHO) includes sexual health within the definition of overall health, well-being, and quality of life, sexology remains neglected by most European universities. However, numerous studies have shown the high prevalence of sexual dysfunctions and the impact on intrapsychic, relational, and general health, and that sexual dysfunctions can predict or are comorbid with many other Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases (NCDs). Finally, the traditional belief that sexology is based more on opinions than on evidence is historical considering the significant scientific developments in this field during the last two decades.
Therefore, considering the large and widespread demands and need of patients to receive care and help for their sexual concerns, difficulties, problems and dysfunctions, students of psychology and health care professionals within the various specialties must be prepared to deal with medical and psycho-social aspects related to sexual health.
The European Society for Sexual Medicine (ESSM) and the European Federation of Sexology (EFS) are two multidisciplinary scientific societies that encourage excellence in sexology and diffusion of good sexological practice by setting and defining educational standards and requirements for training and supporting research in the field. For these reasons, the ESSM and EFS propose the need to improve the impact of Sexology on academic and health care practice at the European level.
The ESSM and EFS promote to the European Parliament, and finally to the National University Authorities:
1) Defining Sexology as a part of psychological and medical health dealing with human sexuality and its disorders, in order to improve sexual health through the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of conditions or diseases that involve gender identity, sexual function, sexual and/or partnership experience and behaviour, and sexual trauma and its consequences;
2) Establishing Sexology as an integral and obligatory part of the core curriculum for students in all European psychological faculties;
3) Establishing Sexology in the core curriculum of psychology sub-specialisations
4) Define standards of qualifications for academic teachers in the field of Sexology.
Hence, European psychology faculties should:
a. develop students’ knowledge and understanding about sexual function, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the diversity of human sexual expression and behaviour;
b. teach diagnosis and integrated therapies of the major sexual dysfunctions from early to old age;
c. recognize the role of sexual dysfunctions as an early biomarker for identifying NCDs
d. promote the role of psychologists in Sexology and in the prevention of sexual dysfunctions;
e. improve the ability of professionals to communicate about sexuality and sexual health and
about mutual respect of genders and sexual orientations.
THIS PETITION ADVOCATES THE NECESSITY OF ALL STUDENTS OF THE EUROPEAN PSYCHOLOGICAL FACULTIES TO RECEIVE SPECIFIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN SEXUAL HEALTH AND SEXOLOGY BY THE NEXT ACADEMIC YEAR.
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