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HomeAward & Grant Recipients 2021
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Fellow of The Society: Robin Milhausen
Fellow of The Society: Robin Milhausen

Robin Milhausen, PhD

Professor - University of Guelph


New Fellows Talk - Date & Time TBD



Dr. Robin Milhausen is a Professor at the University of Guelph in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition. Robin completed her PhD in Applied Health Science at Indiana University with a minor in Human Sexuality from the Kinsey Institute. She is a research fellow at the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention and also at The Kinsey Institute. She is one of three Associate Editors for the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality and on the editorial board for numerous other journals. Robin is actively engaged in the sexuality research community in Canada and internationally, having served as the President of the Canadian Sex Research Forum, Chair and Co-Chair of the Annual Guelph Sexuality Conference, and member of the board and Co-Chair for the Society of the Scientific Study of Sexuality. She has published over 100 papers in peer reviewed journals, and is an author of Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity (Pearson; 6th Canadian Edition), one of the most widely adopted sexuality textbooks in colleges and university across Canada. Robin also served as lead editor for the Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (4th Edition; Routledge), a 29-chapter compendium of more than 200 validated scales measuring a range of sexuality constructs. Robin has been a member of SSSS for 25 years, attending the annual meetings with many present and past students. She has loved sharing one of her most significant professional homes with new generations of sexuality researchers. Robin is thrilled to be a SSSS fellow and is honoured to be named with such a group of esteemed scholars and leaders in the field.



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Outstanding Theoretical Paper Award: Dylan Selterman
Outstanding Theoretical Paper Award: Dylan Selterman

Sexuality Through the Lens of Secure Base Dynamics: Individual Differences in Sexploration 

Dylan Selterman, Amanda N. Gesselman, Amy C. Moors


Presented at Awards Luncheon - Saturday, November 20th at 11:30AM


Presentation Date & Time TBD



Dylan Selterman, PhD

Senior Lecturer - University of Maryland


Dr. Dylan Selterman is a social/personality psychologist and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Selterman studies romantic attraction, dating, attachment theory, sexual behaviors, patterns of dreaming, political psychology, happiness, well-being, morals, and ethics. Dr. Selterman has published original research in journals such as Social Psychological and Personality Science and The Journal of Sex Research, and serves on the editorial board for Personal Relationships and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. He teaches Introductory Psychology, and The Psychology of Happiness. Dylan is a TEDx speaker and has written for The Washington Post, National Geographic, and The Baltimore Sun. Dylan’s blog for Psychology Today is called The Resistance Hypothesis.








Amanda Gesselman, PhD

Associate Director - Kinsey Institute


Dr. Amanda Gesselman is the Anita Aldrich Endowed Research Scientist, Associate Director for Research, and Head of the Research Analytics and Methodology Core at The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University. She is also a Research Fellow at the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, and is on the Editorial Board at the Journal of Sex Research and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Dr. Gesselman has spent the last 10 years studying how new trends in love and sex affect our well-being and relationships with others. A lot of her work focuses on digital ways of connecting with others, including online dating, texting and sexting, and other technologies people might use in their romantic and sexual lives. She is currently undertaking a Social Science Research Council-funded project on how online interactions can protect mental health for socially isolated LGBTQ+-identifying people. 





Amy Moors, PhD

Assistant Professor - Chapman University


Dr. Amy C. Moors is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Affiliate in Engineering at Chapman University. She serves as a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the co-chair of the American Psychological Association’s Division 44 Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force. Dr. Moors’s research focuses on sexuality, relationships, and well-being. Most of her research focuses on the lived experiences of people in consensually non-monogamous relationships and how stigma affects their well-being. Dr. Moors is an interdisciplinary researcher and her goal is to use science to address social issues. Along with over 45 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Moors has published widely for the public, including dozens of policies, internal reports, and brochures for mental health practitioners.  




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Distinguished Service to SSSS Award: Janet Shibley Hyde
Distinguished Service to SSSS Award: Janet Shibley Hyde

Janet Shibley Hyde, PhD

Professor - University of Wisconsin-Madison


Presented at Awards Luncheon - Saturday, November 20th at 11:30AM


Janet Shibley Hyde is the Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She has taught an undergraduate human sexuality course since 1975, and is the author of two textbooks: Understanding Human Sexuality (14th ed., McGraw-Hill) and The Psychology of Women and Gender: Half the Human Experience+ (10th ed., SAGE). The author of more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, she is perhaps best known for her Gender Similarities Hypothesis and work on gender differences in sexuality. Her service to SSSS includes terms on the Board of Directors, membership on the editorial board of the Journal of Sex Research, and a term as president-elect, president, and past-president of the Society (1998 – 2001).


Meet Dr. Hyde at the CE Session Beyond Inclusive: Skills For Gender-Expansive Teaching. (Date, Time & Location TBD)



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Lester A. Kirkendall Outstanding Mentor Award: Amy Moors
Lester A. Kirkendall Outstanding Mentor Award: Amy Moors

Amy Moors, PhD

Assistant Professor - Chapman University



Presented at Awards Luncheon - Saturday, November 20th at 11:30AM




Dr. Amy C. Moors is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Affiliate in Engineering at Chapman University. She serves as a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the co-chair of the American Psychological Association’s Division 44 Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy. Dr. Moors’s research focuses on sexuality, consensually non-monogamous relationships, and well-being. Dr. Moors directs an interdisciplinary research team, the ONWARD lab, and their goal is to use science to address social issues. Along with over 45 peer-review journal articles and books chapters, Dr. Moors has published widely for the public, including dozens of policies, internal reports, and brochures for mental health practitioners. In addition to research, Dr. Moors enjoys teaching about LGBTQ+ issues and mentoring students. In Dr. Moors’s free time, she enjoys standup comedy, drag shows, hiking, and random acts of kindness.


Meet Dr. Moors at the Symposium Session, Consensual Non-monogamy and Clinical Implications: Desire, Engagement, and Representation. (Date, Time & Location TBD)



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2021 Graduate Student Research Grant: Shelby Astle
2021 Graduate Student Research Grant: Shelby Astle



Shelby Astle, MS, CFLE

PhD Student - Kansas State University


Shelby Astle, M.S., CFLE is a doctoral student in Applied Family Science at Kansas State University. Shelby completed her bachelor’s degree in the mountain west before completing her master’s degree from Kansas State University in Applied Family Science. Shelby is passionate about sharing research with the public and currently serves as the director of communications for Relevate and communications co-chair for the Society for the Scientific Study of Emerging Adulthood, both organizations working to bridge the gap between academia and the public. Shelby is a certified family life educator (CFLE), a certification that she earned by teaching relationship education courses to adult couples and middle schoolers. Currently working as a graduate research assistant, Shelby hopes to continue her work in research, teaching, and applied work as a faculty member at a university after completing her PhD. Shelby’s research interests include parent-child sexual communication and sexual self-concept with an emphasis on helping parents be positive influences on their children’s sexual self-concept development. She also hopes to expand her research on parent-child sexual communication to include systemic factors that are often overlooked in mainstream research on this topic. This desire fueled the current project titled “Black Parents’ Intentions of Talking with Children about Sexuality: An Intersectional Black Feminist Qualitative Analysis.”


Black Parents’ Intentions of Talking with Children about Sexuality: A Black Feminist Qualitative Analysis 


Parent-child sexual communication (PCSC) is a unique process for Black mothers and daughters who experience intersecting oppression from both racism and sexism. Little to no research has explored the important intervention point of Black mothers’ PCSC intentions as related to sex positivity and intersecting racist and sexist contextual factors. Using a Black feminist theoretical lens, the proposed research project “Black Parents’ Intentions of Talking with Children about Sexuality: A Black Feminist Qualitative Analysis” would explore Black mothers’ PCSC intentions in the context of intersecting gender and racial identities. Thirty Black mothers of daughters ages 6-11 will be recruited to participate in qualitative interviews. Interviews will be analyzed using thematic analysis by a trained team of volunteer researchers. Exploring parents’ PCSC intentions can provide educators with increased knowledge in helping Black mothers engage in sex positive PCSC while also navigating pressures to protect daughters from risk due to racism and sexism.



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2021 Undergraduate Student Research Grant: Frida de Luna
2021 Undergraduate Student Research Grant: Frida de Luna

Frida de Luna

University of Houston


Frida de Luna is a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Houston – Clear Lake studying the role of parents in promoting their children's health under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Short. She received her Bachelors of Science with a Minor in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston in 2021, where she was a member of the Social Influences and Health Behaviors lab working with Dr. Clayton Neighbors. There, she helped graduate students with qualitative coding, authored a paper, and developed her preliminary research interests that led her to this project. Her research, titled "The Birds and the Bees: How Maternal Attachment Style and Socioeconomic Differences Can Influence Effective Mother-Daughter Sexual Education amongst Hispanic/Latinx Adolescents," focuses on utilizing attachment theory as a starting point to gain a better understanding of factors influencing sexual health communication. She hopes that the data used can lend itself to a parental intervention for facilitating parents' involvement in their children's sexual health. Frida's graduate research interests include using attachment theory and early childhood adversity to understand better why people participate or dismiss health practices.


The Birds and the Bees: How Maternal Attachment Style and Socioeconomic Differences can Influence Effective Mother-Daughter Sexual Education amongst Hispanic/Latinx Adolescents. 


While some parents experience no urgency to initiate sexual health dialogue with their children, research supports parental warnings and talks about sex as the strongest predictor of more protected sex acts (Flores & Barroso, 2018). It is therefore vital to understand the predictors of healthy parental sex communication. The proposed study will assess Hispanic/Latinx maternal attachment styles as a predictor of efficacy in sexual communication with their daughters. Attachment theory contends a child's early attachment to caregivers establishes patterns of relational emotions and expectations coming to impact behavior later in their life (Bowlby, 1969). As attachment holds a universality hypothesis that argues verity across all cultures, the proposed study would offer pilot data for a parental intervention based on attachment (Ganz, 2018). The present study will also assess socioeconomic differences as a moderator in the relationship between attachment style and sexual communication efficacy covering variations of access to knowledge and misperceptions around sexual & reproductive health processes (Guzzo & Hayford, 2013).

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Travel Grant for Early-Career Professionals from Marginalized Groups: Rica Vina Cruz
Travel Grant for Early-Career Professionals from Marginalized Groups: Rica Vina Cruz

Rica Cruz, PhD

Independent Researcher


Presented at Awards Luncheon - Saturday, November 20th at 11:30AM


Dr. Rica Cruz is a psychologist who specializes in sex and relationships therapy and education in the Philippines. She has a PhD in Psychology and further training from the University of Guelph, Cambridge Alliance-Harvard Medical School, International Academy of Sex Research, and the Society for Scientific Study of Sexuality.


She has worked on campaigns for HIV awareness as well as different programs to address teenage pregnancies, illegal abortion, and cases of gender-based violence in the country. Her advocacy is to use sex science to help de-stigmatize sex in a deeply conservative society and promote responsible sexuality rooted in celebrating the gift of sex.



Sexual Pleasure for the Filipino Woman - The Wife, The Mother, and the Slut: A Grounded Theory Perspective


Poster Presentation - Date & Time TBD


Background: The Philippines is considered to have one of the highest rates of heterosexual women who have difficulty in experiencing sexual pleasure. However, very few studies have tackled this concern due to the conservative culture of the country. To address this, the present study aimed to build a theory of sexual pleasure for the Filipino women using a constructivist grounded theory approach. Theoretical Perspective: The theory constructed is composed of two models: the Identity Model of Sexual Pleasure and the Sexual Event Model of Sexual Pleasure. The Identity Model consists of six categories showing how women identify in relation to how they see their sexual experiences: as adolescents, as girlfriends, as mothers, as wives, as sexual women or as “sluts”, and as renewed women. In this model, nine processes describe their experiences of pleasure: learning masturbation, having sex for the thrill, deprioritizing sexual encounters, engaging in sex primarily for their husbands, giving in to unwanted sex, getting pleasure by giving pleasure, reawakening of one’s sexual self, owning their sexual desire and pleasure, and having pleasurable sex for the communion. Within the Identity Model is the Sexual Event Model of Pleasure. This model consists of eight processes: being “connected” in the relationship, experiencing “laglag panty moments,” feeling wanted and desired, letting go of inhibitions, savoring slow, sensual love making, having fun with rough sex, avoiding dryness and exhaustion/dealing with discomfort, reaching orgasm for both partners. These processes are categorized into three aspects that are crucial for the women to experience pleasure in a specific sexual encounter: interpersonal motivation, emotional and psychological disposition, and physiological needs. Significance to the Field: Results of the study can be used to aid in future interventions for sex and marital therapy in the country.

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Travel Grant for Early-Career Professionals from Marginalized Groups: Natalie LeBlanc
Travel Grant for Early-Career Professionals from Marginalized Groups: Natalie LeBlanc

Natalie LeBlanc, PhD, MPH, RN, BSN

Assistant Professor - University of Rochester


Presented at Awards Luncheon - Saturday, November 20th at 11:30AM


Dr. Leblanc’s 17-year career in public health, nursing, and health research investigates the ecological, cultural, and systemic factors (social determinants of health) that influence health and wellness outcomes. As a former public health specialist, she is able to critically assess health issues from both public health and clinical perspectives - globally and domestically. As a nurse research scientist, she seeks to address and investigate determinants of health disparity and assets within these factors that can be leveraged toward achieving health equity to inform intervention implementation. Her work aims acknowledge the role of racism and anti-Black stigma and violence on sexual health inequities; and to discern assets in the health and community settings to promote sexual health, specifically HIV prevention and engagement across the HIV care continuum. 


Dr. Leblanc’s program of research pursues three lines of inquiry:

1. health providers (e.g, physicians, nurses, social workers) perspectives, praxis and processes in sexual health promotion, specifically couple-centered approaches in HIV prevention and across the HIV care continuum;

2. couple-centered HIV prevention and interpersonal relationship factors (e.g. couples/partners, provider/patient) that can be leveraged to promote sexual health equity; 

3. context of vulnerability to adverse sexual health outcomes (primarily HIV prevention, transmission and treatment) among marginalized populations such as: same-sex male couples, Black couples, women of color, and non-heteronormative populations such as men of color who have sex with men. 


Dr. Leblanc primarily uses multi-method qualitative/quantitative approaches to inquiry. Her focus is on qualitative description, content and thematic analytic approaches, qualitative dyadic data collection and analysis, and observational techniques; she has also led and collaborated on projects that utilize: 1) synthesis approaches (metasynthesis and meta-analysis) continuum; and 2) descriptive and advanced statistical techniques.


Sexual Health Conversations Among Black Heterosexual/opposite-sex (BHOS) Couples In New York State


Oral Presentation - Date & Time TBD


Background Sexual health communication between partners is pivotal for healthy relationships. Some couples’ may avoid conversations about sensitive topics (i.e. HIV/STI testing, sexual pleasure) to avoid relationship discord. Others may lack communication skills and want assistance in facilitating sexual health conversations. Among US Black persons particularly, socio-cultural norms and experiences of racial trauma may impede sexual health communication. Yet US Black culture is allocentric, an attribute that may facilitate such communication. Methods To characterize Black heterosexually-identified couples’ sexual health communication, we conducted a cross-sectional, multi-method project from October 2018 to May 2019. We enrolled a convenience sample of 28 self-defined couples from 3 New York State jurisdictions. Eligible partners who consented, individually completed an online quantitative survey then engaged in an in-person, joint, dyadic in-depth interview. The survey captured individuals’ preferences for sexual health outcomes, communal communication strategies and relationship power. Descriptive statistics characterized the sample’s sexual health communication. A thematic analysis was employed to identify joint perspectives regarding sexual agreements, overall/sexual health promotion, motivation and norms for sexual health conversations, communication patterns and relevant themes. Results Participants were on average 43 years old and ranged in relationship length (1 – 22 years). Quantitative dyadic analysis revealed most couples had congruent preferences regarding extra-dyadic sex, use of condoms, and perceived their relationship power to be equitable. Qualitative dyadic analysis revealed the following thematic categories: power dynamics, motivation for sexual health conversations, and general health promotion. Couples who exhibited an equitable power dynamic (N=18) had an open communication pattern during the interviews, and conveyed harmonious attitudes toward sexual health by endorsing sexual agreements and ongoing sexual health conversations throughout their relationship. Other couples (N=7 couples) had a skewed power dynamic in which one partner was more vocal but the other partner remained engaged. Such couples endorsed intermittent sexual health conversations to address particular issues as they arose. Equitable and skewed couples were motivated by seeking relationship transparency and approached shared decision making as a practice. A few cases (N=2 couples) had one partner emitting a domineering presence at key points or during the entire interview with the other partner minimally engaged. Conclusion Findings indicate that couples possess varied communication patterns and power dynamics that operate in tandem with motivations for sexual health conversations and subsequent sexual health promotion. Equitable and skewed communication patterns are relationship assets that can be leveraged to optimize sexual health. Other communication patterns warrant investigation to identify needs for intervention development.



Making Meaning and Operationalizing Sexual Health Promotion among Health Care Providers in Western New York State


Poster Presentation - Date & Time TBD


Background Determinants of sexual health promotion (SHP) in the clinical environment include healthcare provider (HCP) perspective and practice, and healthcare micro and macro environments. Sexual health is often focused on disease prevention and not considered an intrinsic component of overall well-being. In the context of persistent STIs and growing resistance to standard treatments in tandem to pervasive threats to sexual health, it is necessary to understand HCPs conceptualization and practice of SHP in the clinical setting. Methods We conducted a qualitative interpretive description study in small urban areas throughout Western New York State, US – a region experiencing increasing STI rates. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 28 HCPs practicing in women’s/reproductive health and family/adolescent health. HCPs were recruited (October 2019 - February 2021) using a purposive sampling modality from public and private, community clinic or hospital settings. HCPs predominately identified as white, female, ranged in years of practice (1-30 years) and were diverse: primarily nurse practitioners (N=12), physicians (N=7), physician assistant (N=3) and other (i.e. medical assistants, registered nurse; N=5). The interview guide asked: 1) What does the term sexual health mean to you?, and 2) Describe your experiences discussing sexual health with patients? Results For many HCPs, the meaning of sexual health utilized a disease prevention framework (HIV/STI screening, PrEP). For a subset of HCPs, meaning also entailed contraception, preconception and conception health. Others contrived a more traditional meaning to include sexual functioning and satisfaction, and partner considerations. A broader conceptualization included: HIV/STI prevention, reproductive health, sexual functioning/satisfaction, and transgender care. Patient education, provider communication and the healthcare environment were components in SHP. Reported ease of patient engagement was commensurate with years of experience and subsequent HCP knowledge and comfort. Experienced HCPs reported strategies that allowed for fluid and open sexual health conversations, whereas other HCP without expansive experience utilized a more structured conversational approach. Operationalizing SHP could be characterized as passive reactive or active due to HCP practice or characteristics, and the practice setting. Passive reactive entailed HIV/STI screening prompted by chief complaints, symptomology, or as a component of routinized care (i.e. EMR prompts). Active operationalization primarily existed within primary care settings (i.e family, adolescent health) whereby HCPs utilized a comprehensive conceptualization of SHP and were forthcoming in patient engagement. Closing HCP meaning making and practice are essential for SHP. Healthcare environment characteristics however require intervention to leverage and/or address HCP factors to facilitate sexual health promotion.


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