The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) recently honored Indiana University School of Public Health Professor Debby Herbenick with its Professional Standard of Excellence Award. AASECT announced Herbenick’s selection on June 4, 2020, during its annual summit which was conducted online.
Founded in 1967, AASECT works to promote sexual health “by the development and advancement of the fields of sexual therapy, counseling, and education.” The not-for-profit organization’s mission is “the advancement of the highest standards of professional practice for educators, counselors and therapists.” With more than 3,000 members, AASECT is one of the largest sexuality organizations in the country and is the certifying body for sexuality educators, counselors, and therapists in the United States.
According to AASECT Awards Committee Member Sara Nasserzadeh, Herbenick’s contributions as a sexuality educator, researcher, and media influencer earned Herbenick the award. Some specific contributions Nasserzadeh cited include:
- Herbenick’s creation and implementation of inclusive sexuality education curricula.
- Herbenick’s participation on professional boards such as the advisory board for the University of Michigan School of Social Work’s online/residential program in Sex Therapy & Sexuality Education, as well as her election to the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease and the International Academy of Sex Research.
- Publication of more than 130 scientific papers and Herbenick’s development of a validated Female Genital Self-Image scale, used by researchers in many countries.
Herbenick is the director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion and the lead investigator of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, a decade-long nationally representative study of sex in the United States. She is also the author of several books, including her most recent, The Coregasm Workout: The Revolutionary Method for Better Sex Through Exercise.
Upon accepting the award Herbenick noted, “The world needs our field so much right now—to support people in fostering closeness, intimacy, and connection, even in times of separation.”