The Society of Australian Sexologists was previously known as the Australian Society of Sexuality Educators, Research and Therapists or ASSERT National. In order to better represent sexology, ASSERT National made the decision to re-develop the organisation in 2012, which included a name change. Below is a brief history of the organisation.
Honorary Life Members:
The Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd evolved from a group of like-minded colleagues that courageously stood tall in the face of society’s lack of acknowledgment of sexuality and sexual health. It is through their passion and identification of the need to bring those working in the area of sexual health together, and provide much needed community engagement, professional development and recognition of those involved with sexual health/sexology that this organisation was started.
In 1977, under the leadership of Sydney psychologist Dr Greta Goldberg as the inaugural President, a small group of clinicians (Dr Derek Richardson, Dr Jules Black, Dr Warwick Williams, Dr Derek Llewellyn-Jones and others) the organisation ASSECT (Australian Association of Sex Educators, Counsellors and Therapists) commenced.
In 1983, under Derek Richardson, ASSERT became a national organisation with the administration rotating through the States. Dr Gwen Leavesley was elected president. Shortly after, ASSERT became a member organisation of WAS (World Association for Sexual Health). The national strategy was unsuccessful and control reverted back to individual states.
In 1994, ASSERT Queensland commenced and in 1995 Victorian and South Australian branches were established. In 1998 a new wave of national co-operation arose and the National Council of ASSERT was once again established. There was a clearly formulated mission to develop a national constitution, a code of ethics, national professional standards and to establish regular national conferences.
For 12 years the national presidency rotated between the states:
The objectives of ASSERT National moved more towards meeting the professional needs of those working in the area of sexual health/sexology by raising the profile of sexual health and providing professional development and support for its members. A unified, national accreditation criterion was developed for Sexuality Therapist, Sexuality Educator and Sexuality Researcher. There was a growing expertise in sexology/sexual health in Australia.
In 2008 ASSERT Qld and ASSERT ACT became incorporated and accepted onto the ASSERT National family.
In 2009 Lynda Carlyle (ASSERT Victoria) was elected President of ASSERT National and continued in this role until October 2012.
ASSERT National joined the AOFS (Asia-Oceania Federation of Sexology) and became more actively involved in regional sexology development.
In 2012 state representatives on the National Committee, unanimously voted for ASSERT National to become a company limited by guarantee in order to be one national organisation. We were invited to join the newly established Australasian Sexual Health Alliance (ASHA) as a founding member organisation.
ASSERT NSW resigned from ASSERT National in 2012. A decision by the national committee to rebrand was decided and following a national member vote, a change in organisational structure occurred. ASSERT incorporated state bodies became branches of the one national society.
In 2013 The Society of Australian Sexologists was registered with ASIC in and Jocelyn Klug (then President of ASSERT National) became the inaugural Chair of the Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd.
2012/13 saw the commencement of SAS branches in NSW, Tasmania and Western Australia under Dr Michael Lowey, Dr Nenad Alempijevic and Matt Tilley respectively.
In 2014, Dr Christopher Fox was elected as Chairperson of SAS. Over the next three years Chris would implement a number of successful projects to benefit members.
In 2017, Lisa Torney was elected as Chairperson of SAS. In her first year as Chairperson, she developed and organised the first Sexology in Practice Symposium (SIPS) with her Deputy Chairperson Kerrin Bradfield for 2018. SIPS continued the following year and was set to become an annual professional development weekend for sexologists and other interested professionals before COVID interrupted the event in 2020.