How Becoming A Sexologist Forced Me To Completely Rethink My Own Relationship

The unexpected side effects of becoming a sexologist have been both life-altering and extremely satisfying.

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Like many of us, I grew up in a household where sex was a taboo topic.

We didn't talk about it, we didn't acknowledge it and we certainly didn't celebrate it.

So, needless to say, when I met my first husband at the ripe old age of 17, I was completely clueless about what a healthy, fulfilling marriage was — never mind what a healthy and fulfilling sex life should look like.

Fast forward a few years and we're married with two kids. Don't get me wrong, he was a great husband and father in the early years.


But, like many couples, we put our children first and our marriage second. Communication was lacking, vulnerability was nonexistent, and our sex life was predictable and prosaic.

RELATED: 30 Unsexy Communication Habits That Make A Relationship Work

It wasn't until his mental illness crept in and caused irreparable damage that I realized something needed to change.

Emotional and verbal abuse became a staple in our interactions and it wasn't until I filed for divorce that I finally allowed myself to see that I deserved better.

That's when I decided to go back to school and become a sexologist.

I wanted to learn everything I could about what makes a relationship last, thrive and let's be real, hot and spicy.


Let me tell you, I learned a lot.

One of the biggest things I learned was the importance of emotional safety.

Creating a safe space for vulnerability, authenticity, acceptance, and sharing needs is absolutely crucial for a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

But it's not just about emotional safety. Trust, communication, effective conflict resolution, teamwork and intimacy in all forms (emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, intellectual, and recreational) are all key components of a successful relationship.

RELATED: 5 Deep, Emotional Needs That Must Be Met If You Want A Successful Relationship

So how did all of this newfound knowledge impact my current relationship?


Well, let's just say it's been a total game-changer

I used to believe vulnerability was a weakness — I now know it is one of the greatest gifts that I can give.

Sharing what each other is feeling and what each other needs leads to a much deeper understanding. When we understand one another, it creates an opportunity for connection and intimacy to grow.

When I allow myself to open up and show my partner who I really am, the intimate connection elevates to a whole new level.

I feel safe. I feel like I am home. My husband and I are much more intentional about making time for each other: Having fun together, communicating openly and honestly, and exploring new, exciting ways to connect both emotionally and physically are a priority for both of us.


I also used to believe that I didn't need help or support from my partner. I was frequently trying to figure things out on my own. Asking for help, in my mind, was painful — so I didn't.

After a lot of work on myself, I can now say without a doubt, asking for help is part of a healthy relationship and it feels pretty great too.

Let's not forget about sex! I mean, if there has ever been more of a complete 180º documented in history, I would challenge it.

In my past relationship, initiating used to be a struggle for me. I didn't want to feel stupid or say something that sounded awkward. I didn't know what he wanted or even liked, so I rarely attempted.


Now knowing what my spouse likes and having a safe place to say what comes to mind is incredibly freeing. And, the best part, it's not just about the physical act of se — it's about feeling connected, valued, and desired by my partner.

RELATED: Couples Who Have The Best Sex Do One Thing Others Don't

Look, I'm not saying that becoming a sexologist is the answer to all of your relationship problems. I'm not even saying that my marriage is void of obstacles and curve balls.

But what I am saying is that taking the time to learn about what makes a successful relationship and then implementing it into your own marriage can completely transform your life. It is a daily choice, made by me, to put in the effort.


Anything worth having requires consistent effort. Marriage is no exception.

Becoming a sexologist has opened my eyes to so much and has allowed me to help others who may be going through similar hurdles. And honestly, there's nothing more fulfilling than seeing a couple who has been struggling, reignite their passion and fall in love all over again.

So, if you're feeling stuck in a relationship right now, take a page out of my book and start making intentional choices.

Prioritize your relationship, communicate openly and honestly, and don't be afraid to explore new ways of connecting both emotionally and physically.

If you need a little guidance, don't be afraid to reach out to a professional. Trust me, we won't judge. We've seen it all. 


RELATED: The 12 'Commandments' Of Successful, Lasting, Happy Relationships

Shauna Harris is an educator, intimacy coach, sexologist, and international best-selling author of Speaking of Sex.