- Ph. D., Human Sexuality, Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, 2009
- M.S., Public Health Education, UNCGreensboro, 1993
- B.S., Clinical Nutrition, UNCGreensboro, 1989
When people learn that I am a sexologist, they are always intrigued. They’ve usually never met a sexologist. They can’t imagine what a sexologist does. They are intensely curious about what motivated me to earn the highest degree in the field and to open my own practice.
I have always been fascinated with talking about sex. I have always been comfortable with talking about sex. And, my natural gift is helping others explore their personal needs and find satisfaction and wholeness.
I remember in elementary school sneaking off in the library to look at sculpture of naked people. Sure, lots of kids do that. But what changed the equation for me was getting a medical book about the human body. I read the chapter on reproduction over and over. I began to seek out any reading material that dealt with the human body in general and sexuality specifically. By my late teens I was the “go-to-girl” for information on sexuality, mostly about birth control.
When I started graduate school the HIV/AIDS epidemic was just being recognized. I was deeply moved by some of the early writings and films about the devastating impact of this disease. I was also infuriated that our government would hide the facts about a communicable disease. I was driven to speak out about this injustice. The sufferers of HIV/AIDS needed our compassion.
At the time I had a B.S. in Clinical Nutrition and was working hard in graduate school to earn my M. Ed. in Public Health Education. My study buddy was an HIV+ gay hemophiliac. We worked tirelessly on the topic of HIV/AIDS education. We started a consortium on HIV/AIDS and created an educational program for teens and young adults on prevention.
As a Wellness Coordinator for a small community hospital I was fortunate to work with people who were open-minded and dedicated to fighting all disease, not just diseases that had no social stigma. The staff supported me in my efforts to educate both hospital personnel and the public about HIV/AIDS.
By the time I completed my degree, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to advocate for education that is positive about sexuality. I fight the tide of negativity about sexuality; of ignorance concerning sexual problems; of bias against people who are different; and of misleading or incomplete information in any educational program dealing with sexuality, reproduction and any sexually transmitted disease. It is something I have always wanted to do. It is what I am driven to do. It is what I am best at.
Back home in Asheville, I became the lead educator for the sex education program in our county and city school systems from 1993 to 1998. I also began working at UNC Asheville. From 1995-2010 I taught Women’s Health, Health and Sexuality, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Health Promotion and Wellness.
In 2009 I earned my Ph.D. in Human Sexuality. My dissertation is titled The Sexual Attitudes, Beliefs, Practices, and Age-Related Sexual Concerns of Baby Boomer Couples.
My private practice, Mountain Sexology, is the culmination of my hard work and my passion.