Member Spotlitght

Article excerpt

Annie Laura Cotten, PhD

(Durham, N.C.)

Member Spotlight is a monthly column offering an opportunity for AASECT members to get to know more about each other. Each month, a different member's story will be featured. If you are interested in being interviewed for this column, please contact Hani Miletski, PhD, MSW, Membership Steering Committee chair, at

As a psychology professor at Central Connecticut State University's (CCSU), in the 60s, Annie Cotten taught graduate classes in human sexuality and provided training in sexuality for teachers and other interested professionals. Cotten saw lots of interest in the program she created and she was asked to speak about sexuality all around the country. Cotten also taught one of the first courses in Psychology of Women, which sparked national attention and was published twice in feminist journals. Cotten did many television presentations and brought in many distinguished guests who were involved in the field of sexuality and gender issues.

"While immensely popular, these courses and my recognition in the field were not met with much support from academicians who considered my work either 'way out' or not scientifically respectable," Cotten says. "I had to venture out within the field rather alone while teaching a full load of usual courses included in the field of psychology." Cotten was not surprised, and quite delighted, when she received an invitation from attorney Patricia Schiller, in Washington D.C., to assist with starting a national organization on sexuality.

"I was therefore a member (of AASECT) from the beginning" and "continued to assist with guidelines for credentialing," she says. As each certification process came into being, Cotten became certified both as a sex therapist as well as a sexuality educator.

She attended and presented at many sexuality meetings around the world. Cotten also "did a lot of publishing" over the years, too many to mention all of them. Her first publication was a guest editorial for the former AASECT publication Journal of Sex Education and Sex Therapy on "Human sexuality and psychotherapy" (1979). Another article on "Preorgasmic group treatment: Assertiveness, marital adjustment and sexual function in women," published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (1983), was later chosen for the Springer Series, Focus on Women, titled Women's Therapy Groups: Paradigms of Feminist Treatment (1987). This publication was a result of the collaboration with one of her graduate students (Katherine Wheeler), who ran these groups in her husband's OB-GYN clinic. …