The American Board Of Sexology

Big Oaks from little acorns …and Still GROWING

In 1986 a little acorn was planted by a group of clinical sexologists who believed that there was a better way to provide quality assurance to the public and to the discipline, in selecting qualified sex therapists, sex counselors, sex educators and recognizing authentic sex researchers. The small organization consisted of just a few including several past presidents of the leading recognized sexological institutions in the United States.

What the group did was take the process of certification of practitioners in the field of sexology out of the area of subjectivity to a process based on academic achievement, dedication to the discipline as evidenced by scholarship, evidence of competence under supervision, and the empirical results of examination.

Those meeting these stringent requirements are awarded the designation of Board Certified Diplomates of the American Board of Sexology. Among the first Diplomates to be Board Certified included sexology pioneers Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Dr. William Masters, Dr. William Granzig, Dr. John Money, Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan, Dr. Albert Ellis, Dr. Wardell Pomeroy and Dr. Erwin Haeberle.

The American Board of Sexology, and is made up of a higher percentage of doctoral level Diplomates than the other organizations can boast. This is due to the nature of the organization. ABS is dedicated to providing quality assurance to the consumer and certifying and nurturing clinicians in the practice of sex therapy and sex counseling. The ABS also request reviews by current and previous clients to those clinicians of the practice and verify that these reviews are accurate.

Our big oak now covers Diplomates in twenty-six countries. Approximately 98% hold doctoral degrees – including Ph.D.s, M.D.s, Ed.D.s, Psy.D.s and D.S.W.s as well as others. Perusal of The International Registry, our international directory of Diplomates, is like reading a who’s who in sexology around the world.

Dr. James Walker, PhD.

Founding Father of the ABS

Dr. William Granzig was the 6th president of AASECT. He served from 1978-1980. Dr. Granzig was also the youngest president at the time and the first gay president. He was both a sex educator and sex therapist.

During his presidency the certification program was started. Dorothy Strauss became the first chair of the newly formed certification committee. A great deal of effort and energy was put into creating the requirements for certification. The SAR requirement was born out of the premise that at that time, people didn’t talk about sex nor aware of their attitudes of sex and how it affected their sexuality.

Patricia Schiller was the executive director at the time and introduced adding therapists into the association and changing the name to include therapists. The board added the “T” onto “AASECT”, including the therapists into the association. Before that, most of the membership comprised of sex educators.

He was the first editor of the journal that was included as a benefit of membership. The AASECT office, at his time of presidency, was located in Washington, DC. Bostrom was the management company that managed the association.

One of the AASECT members that stood out at the time was Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the infamous “Dr.Ruth”. Dr. Granzig quipped she helped keep the organization “respectable”!


Dr. William Granzig, Ph.D. founder of the American Board of Sexology