Comprehensive Sex Research Centers: Design and Operation for Effective Functioning
To my way of thinking, a sex research center must consist of (1) two or more professionally trained individuals, preferably with advanced degrees, and (2) a support staff; the center must (3) have a separate legal identity or, if it is part of a host organization (e.g., university, hospital, clinic), be recognized by that organization as a separate (although not necessarily autonomous) unit, and (4) have the ability to devote a substantial amount of time to sex research. These four criteria are the bare minimum to warrant the title “sex research center.” There are numerous instances of informal associations which verge on being sex research centers. For example, several scientists or clinicians in the same institution who share an interest in sex research and who may have independent research projects in that field are very close to constituting a research center. All they lack is a formally acknowledged sense of being a coordinated group with interdependencies and common goals. Most sex research centers have developed out of such a situation. Similarly there are existing organizations which need only to devote more time to research to qualify as sex research centers. This is true of various educational organizations such as SIECUS, the Centro Studi Educazione Sessuale, and therapeutic organizations such as sex clinics, marriage counseling groups, and Planned Parenthood. In order to distinguish between an educational or clinical organization which sponsors an occasional piece of research and a true sex research center, I submit that to merit the latter title at least one-quarter of the group’s time and effort must be devoted to sex research and the group must consider such research to be one of its goals and not merely an adjunct activity.
KeywordsHuman Sexuality Host Institution Host Organization Gender Identity Clinic Johns Hopkins Group
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