I’m Kimberly, one of the clinical therapists at CSWC, and welcome to my first blog post here! Since this is my first blog post, I wanted to pay homage to two groundbreaking Black women who truly are change agents in the field of clinical sex therapy. I’ve been working in sexual health, STI awareness and prevention, for 10 years now but it was those professional experiences that gave me the ambition to pursue supporting clients in clinical sex therapy. It’s important to me for sex therapists to honor Black History because culturally and academically Black men and women have contributed to the research of sex therapy even as hidden figures but more importantly they continue to elaborate on the importance of normalizing sexuality for a people who have been faced with sexuality as a tool of abuse and not pleasure.
In honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, I wanted to highlight someone whose career has truly been revolutionary and spiced with a bit of controversy at the same time. However, it was her tenacity and ambition that led her to a professional career for over 20 years in human sexuality as an acclaimed sociologist, clinical sex researcher, and therapist. Her name was Dr. June Selena Dobbs Butts and she was the first African American woman to study at the renowned Masters and Johnson Institute, which was formerly known as St. Louis at the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation when she began her studies there.
Prior to her studies at Masters and Johnson Institute, Dr. Butts was known for her works in sociology and education. In 1948, she became an alumna of the Historically Black College & University (HBCU), Spelman College, and completed her master’s degree at Fisk University. She earned her doctoral degree in family education from the Teacher’s College of Columbia University. As a clinical researcher, she found herself researching at Howard University’s School of Medicine, Center for Disease Control (CDC), New York University (NYU), and Fordham University.
Indeed she was well-educated and vastly cultured in areas of human sexuality. However, she was a pioneer as a clinical sex therapist and researcher because she advocated for normalizing discussions of human sexuality and Black people. She was known from the 1970s to 1990s for her sexual health columns in Jet, Ebony, Washington Post, and other media publications.
She owned her own sex therapy practice in Maryland where her clients were Black singles and couples which was taboo at the time. She was an advocate for Black people having the knowledge and educational resources to improve their thoughts surrounding sexuality. She praised Black millennials for progressively discussing sexuality so openly compared to previous generations. She publicly wrote literature about self-pleasure and LGBT education. She was truly ahead of her time but paved the way for so many Black clinical sex therapists, researchers, and sociologists.
She passed away on May 13, 2019 but her legacy lives on in the strides she made to include Black people in the ground-breaking research of human sexuality.
She’s an icon and she is Black History.
To learn more about her legacy and history, visit:
Secret Sex Code: If you made it this far, then you are ready to crack the code! Each blog post will end with a fun sex tip or resource!
For this post, I wanted to highlight another Black woman who works in human sexuality. It’s Sexologist Shamyra who is known for being the first Black AASECT Certified Sex Therapist in the state of Louisana and she’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker!
—Kimberly M. Knight, MSW, LCSWA
Kimberly Knight is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate in North Carolina and sees clients via telehealth. To schedule an appointment with Kimberly or any of the therapists at Carolina Sexual Wellness Center, call 919-297-8322.