Sex Therapy According To Dr. Caleb Jacobson


Sex therapy gets a bad rap. It’s clouded in misconceptions and misunderstandings. Partly due to a lack of visibility and partly due to the way it is portrayed in the media. Just take a look at the Netflix hit Sex Education and you’ll see how Gillian Anderson’s character is an overly sexualized, sexually open, and expressive woman. Or, take for example, Barbra Streisand in the movie Meet the Fockers. Once again you see how the character is overly sexualized and made to be comical.

Such characterizations lead to stereotypes about the branch of psychotherapy and cause troubling questions to be raised. Such as, do sex therapists have sex with their clients? Or, do sex therapists watch their clients have sex? Both are commonly asked questions.

The answer to both questions is, “Absolutely not!,” says Dr. Caleb Jacobson. The clinical psychologist and sex therapist is troubled by the misconceptions surrounding his profession. He says that some of his colleagues do nothing to stop such false impressions. “Unfortunately, there are some therapists that mistake sex therapist for sexy therapist,” he says laughing.

Dr. Jacobson is far from what you’d picture as a sex therapist. He wears a dark blue suit, white French cuffed shirt, and black rectangular framed glasses. Then of course there is the matching dark blue yarmulke and lest we forget, tzitzit – fringes worn by Orthodox Jewish men – that hang on each side. He looks more like a Yeshivah student than a sex guru.

It’s not just his appearance which stands out. He is the opposite of every caricature one would have of a sex therapist. 

“My goal has been to add legitimacy to this discipline,” he told us. He has done this by emphasising the importance of research in his clinical practice and academic work. In 2020, Jacobson was the lead researcher of the ‘Menstrubation Initiative,’ a global study that explored the benefits of masturbation during menstruation. The study has been reported on by over 250 media outlets worldwide.

He has also founded a school to train therapist in his style of sex therapy. The School of Sex Therapy, located in Nashville, Tennessee, trains students not only in the United States, but also globally. And it’s not just the students who are international. He told us, “Our curriculum also has an international context as well.” 

The School of Sex Therapy also offers the only international certification in sex therapy.

The aspirations of the American born, Berlin based therapist go far behind influencing just his clients and other therapists, he hopes to influence the masses. And his message seems to go against everything most sex therapist and sex educators tell us.

For example, Jacobson refuses to acknowledge gender pronouns, sexual orientations, and sexual diversity. He says the creation and use of such language has stripped away the uniqueness and humanity of individuals. “I work with people, not labels,” is his justification.

He says, “It really doesn’t matter to me what my clients like sexually or how they identify, what does matter to me is that they feel comfortable and safe working with me and that I can empower them to live authentically as sexual beings and connect intimately with their partners.”


Another noticeable difference is the way that he handles the topic of religion in therapy. Jacobson says that, “a lot of therapists will tell their client that religion is the problem, that they should leave their religion, that their religion is a cult.” In his opinion, this is terrible advice.


“Religion is not the cause of all guilt and shame around sex,” he says, “there are just as many people who are not religious and have no faith background that experience guilt and shame around sex.” He believes that religion becomes an easy target.


Instead of encouraging his clients to abandon their faith, Jacobson works with his clients to find congruency between their spiritual life and their sexual life. And he’s helping other therapists learn to do the same. As the chair of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists’ special interest group on sexuality and religion, he works to train other therapists on how to work with religious clients.


He’s also in the process of writing a book on the topic which he hopes will be out later this year. 


When he is not busy with his private practice, running training programs, writing books, or conducting research, he makes time for podcasting. He recently launched Uncomplicated Sex, a 15-20 minute weekly podcast that comes out each Tuesday. This is the medium he has chosen to reach the public. And for good reason, Jacobson’s former podcast – The Sex Therapy Podcast – had over 100,000 listeners worldwide. 


“I wanted to do Uncomplicated Sex because so many people are confused when it comes to sex. I want to help them make their relationships and sex life a lot easier.” 


Considering the misconceptions about sex therapy and the way that sex therapists are often portrayed, Dr. Jacobson stands as a dramatic contrast. The highly educated, observantly religious, and self-described conservative therapist works tirelessly to add credibility and validity to his field.


Dr. Jacobson is changing the future of sex therapy. He has found a way to tap into every avenue possible to influence the discipline and to assure that his style of sex therapy becomes norm. “The work of sex therapy is so important, it touches to the core, every element of the human experience.”