Welcome AASECT's New President-elect - Susan Stiritz, PhD, MSW, MBA, CSE, CSES

Welcome AASECT's New President-elect - Susan Stiritz, PhD, MSW, MBA, CSE, CSES


Hello, Contemporary Sexuality readers! If we haven’t yet met, I am Susan Stiritz, your new AASECT President-elect, an MSW and a Certified Sexuality Educator and Supervisor. I am writing to introduce myself, to tell you about my work with AASECT and, perhaps, spark your interest in getting more involved in the leadership of AASECT yourself.


A Washington University in St. Louis faculty member since 2001, I currently teach sexual health and education courses at the Brown School, where I Chair the MSW Program’s Sexual Health and Education Specialization.  I also conduct research and publish articles on sexual pleasure and human development. I value how research and writing help focus my teaching on best practices.


For the past three years I have been directing AASECT’s Summer and Winter Institutes, held at the Brown School. Our August Institute, “Revisiting ‘Sexual Addiction:’ Transformative Ways of Addressing Out of Control Sexual Behavior,” is our seventh Institute over the past three years. Doug Braun-Harvey, CST, an expert in this area, is co-directing this Institute with me.


For the past two years, I have also been an AASECT Board member, Chair of AASECT’s Professional Education Steering Committee, appointed by AASECT past President Konnie McCaffree CSE, CSES.  The PESC is the Board Committee that oversees the Annual Conference, the Summer and Winter Institutes, and AASECT’s offerings of CE credits through its network of official and unofficial providers.  These activities are critical to AASECT’s fulfilling its mission to further “the advancement of the highest standards of professional practice for sexuality educators, counselors and therapists.”


Before chairing the PESC, I was a member of one of its subcommittees, the CE Approval Committee. Taking office as PESC Chair, I immediately turned to the job of streamlining the committee’s work, which I had experienced as overly bureaucratic and time consuming. Our subcommittees collaborated on rewriting policies and procedures to prune the CE approval work. Now, once an applicant demonstrates they understand and can meet AASECT training standards, they can become providers and deliver training for two years without further documentation.  Previously, providers needed to document and seek approval for every workshop they offered, which was an expensive process for everyone. As a result of simplifying the process, AASECT’s number of training providers has risen 157%, and training standards and performance have improved.  


For readers who would enjoy volunteering for one of the PESC committees, I am sure Prem Pahwa, LCSW, CST, the new PESC Chair, would welcome hearing from you! Feel free to email info@aasect.org if you are interested! 


As President-elect, my new job is to shadow and assist the current AASECT President. Because Debby Herbenick, CSE, is one of the most prolific and respected sex researchers in the world today, I look forward to watching, learning from and supporting her work to facilitate greater reliance on evidence based practices among our members. In my own term as President, 2018-2020, I plan to continue this work, which includes making current research more accessible to members and encouraging AASECT practitioners to publish results of their work and so update the pool of recognized best practices.  


Research I personally am interested in concerns communication around sexual topics. I think it would transform our culture if parents could find the language to affirm adolescents’ rights to explore their sexuality while discussing “outercourse” as a way to safer experiences. If young people could talk meaningfully with their parents about sexuality, I feel sure that would lead to their talking to partners more effectively later and across the course of their lives.


When I think to whom I am speaking as I introduce myself to readers of Contemporary Sexuality, faces, stories and memories of what it feels like being with colleagues at Annual Conferences, Summer and Winter Institutes and in Board and Committee work bring surprising and challenging conversations happily back to mind.  I think of the ways we confront, share, hold and help each other understand our different perspectives, experiences, knowledge, skills and values.  There is nowhere outside of AASECT I learn so much, so directly and so generously from such diverse and talented people.   I think that is why I volunteer for AASECT, which has become my professional “home.”   


Thank you, 

Susan Stiritz, PhD, MSW, MBA, CSE, CSES, AASECT President-elect 

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