Member Spotlight

Article excerpt

Sara Nasserzadeh, MSc, MPhil, PGDip

(London, United Kingdom)

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 introduced. If you are interested in being interviewed for this column, please contact Hani Miletski, PhD, MSW, Membership Steering Committee chair, at

Sara Nasserzadeh became an AASECT student member in July 2004. At the suggestion and support of Beverly Whipple, her much admired mentor, Nasserzadeh became a member of the AASECT International Outreach Committee. "I have tried to be a dynamic representative for AASECT and introduce new members to join us," Nasserzadeh says. In April 2007, she was certified as a sex therapist.

Nasserzadeh began her career in 2001, with the support of her husband, a physician, when she started running sex and relationship education workshops and seminars for Iranian women in Tehran. These private sessions were so well received that she was encouraged to conduct a self-funded sex knowledge-attitude-practice survey on a sample of 300 young Iranian female students. Nasserzadeh presented the findings at the Asian Youth Forum 2002 conference in Bangkok, where she was "discovered" by a UNESCO representative who invited her to a seminar on adult education at the Institute for Education in Hamburg, Germany.

Meanwhile, Nasserzadeh was making contacts with United Nation's Population Fund in Tehran, while evaluating sex education material available in the country. The Population Fund sent her to present the result of the content analysis at the 7th Asian Congress of Sexology in Singapore in 2002.

"It was there that I met some of the giants in the field of sexuality and became seriously interested in this field. I made a vow to make human sexuality my ultimate career choice," she says.

In early 2003, Nasserzadeh was offered a promising career at the Population Fund office in Tehran. She knew her knowledge was limited to the sexual education in Iran and felt she had to let that opportunity go. Nasserzadeh decided to leave the country so that she could expand her horizons and become what she so passionately aspired to.

She and her husband left Iran in 2003 for London "with a plan to develop myself professionally in five years," she says. First, she completed a master's degree in research methods in social sciences. Then, she started a doctorate program with full scholarship at Middlesex University in London, to study the role of sex and relationship knowledge on sexual health and social exclusion of marginalized adolescents. …