I received a Doctorate of Human Sexuality (D.H.S.) and Doctorate of Philosophy | Erotology (Ph.D.) from The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. The Institute was established in 1976 and was committed to the development of academic study of sexology and erotology.
During the 1st part of the 20th Century, sexological studies were generally placed in the area of finding cures for pathological situations, matters of enforcement of conduct through legal and theological controls, and endless political turf wars between political and theological belief systems claiming to have the right to control other persons lives. But in the middle of the century, Alfred Kinsey and his associates, along with the humanistic psychology movement changed the focus to the study of what people did sexually and how they felt about what they did sexually. The first graduate school granting legal degrees was established in San Francisco as The Institute to provide the scholarly study of sexual behavior in all of its aspects, as well as the scholarly study of how art, literature and cultural behaviors influence human sexuality.
The Institute was a pioneering institution as it paved the way for programs such as gender and sexuality studies in major universities available today. The specialized curriculum offered was made able due to the fact that The Institute was not accredited by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. A thoughtful decision was made to provide its students the full spectrum of educational materials without fear of censorship due to federal obscenity laws. Thus, The Institute was registered with the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education until 2018.
I am saddened that the Exodus Trust, the governing body of The Institute, did not properly create a legacy to continue The Institute’s programming or modernize its structure for the continuation of studies for future generations. I only hope that The Exodus Trust made efforts to preserve its vast libraries and warehouses filled with art, ephemera and special collections to other learning institutions.
I began my graduate studies in 2002 after receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Liberal Studies/Psychology) from John F. Kennedy University. I received my IASHS Laura Henkel | PhD Erotology in 2007.