AASECT position: No to all forms of "conversion" therapy!

In November 2015 AASECT (the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) published a brand-new Position on Sexual Expression including Orientation and Identity.  We in London Sex and Relationship Therapy heartily applaud this statement, that has a great deal to offer.

The AASECT statement is not perfect. We have a few more than nitpicking reservations: Their statement that "sexuality is central to the human experience" is insensitive and possibly offensive to asexuals. And it might have been helpful to try to be somewhat more explicit in what they mean to include in their general statement, to make sure people get that it certainly covers BDSM / kink, and hopefully that it intends to include issues about bodily autonomy, porn, sex work, gender, genderqueer and non-binary gender, too... A commentary on the Position statement by psychologist and blogger Russell Stambaugh, who participated in the drafting process, also goes in the latter direction.

This is especially significant when recently in the UK the process to expand the joint statement against gay "conversion" therapy into a wider-based Memorandum of Understanding ran into some obstacles and uncertainties, which were so serious that Dominic Davies, the founder and CEO of Pink Therapy, felt he had to resign from the BACP (February 2016), and a substantial number of therapists wrote an Open Letter to the BACP in his support. Happily, this has ended positively in the BACP endorsing the MOU. It is very much to be hoped that all organisations involved in the consultation process will line up, and the UK will soon have an ethical position on the important matter of "conversion therapy" adequate for the 21st century.

But overall the statement is a great step in the right direction, and at the moment ahead of where we are in the UK. We applaud AASECT for having produced this, and hope that senior professionals in the UK will take note of it.