Just a few short years ago it would have been hard to predict that Caleb Jacobson would become one of the leading sex therapists in the world. He was perhaps the most unlikely candidate. A practicing Orthodox Jew from Nashville Tennessee, who somehow made his way to Germany. But in the past three years he has quickly become everyone’s favorite sex therapist.
When Dr. Jacobson launched his popular Sex Therapy Podcast on January 4, 2020 he had no way of knowing that the entire world would be in lock down two months later. Yet that was just one of the many variables that help launched his career.
In 2019, Jacobson’s name began appearing in numerous media outlets as an expert psychologist and sex therapist. “A former professor of mine gave my name to a writer who was doing a story on a topic they thought I would be a good fit for,” says Jacobson. Two months later his name began to appear once or twice a week in different popular magazines and articles. That’s when one writer gave him an idea.
“They said you should do a podcast, with all the press mentions it would grow very quickly,“ Jacobson recalls. And they were right. By February his listening audience had doubled in size with no advertisements. And then the lockdowns happened.
“People had nothing else to do except sit at home and listen to me talk about sex,” he laughs. But he fails to acknowledge his ability to attract well-known talent, like adult film star Riley Reid. He also neglects to mention how his warm and personable demeanor makes people feel comfortable discussing uncomfortable subjects –– like sex for instance.
He then began to appear on other podcasts and also started working with major corporations within sexual health. “I was approached to do an endorsement deal, then write some articles for a website, then oversee a study,” he says. That study was reported on by over 250 media outlets worldwide.
As his name and reputation grew, so did his client list. Jacobson not only has his doctorate in clinical psychology, but is also a respected Bible scholar. In his practice, he specializes in sex therapy with religious clients. And his clients come to him from all over the world, thanks to Zoom.
“I have always offered virtual therapy, but the pandemic made telehealth widely accepted and so people started searching for it,” Dr. Jacobson recalls. Thanks to the podcast and his previous experience, he was well prepared.
Jacobson doesn’t just work with religious clients. He sees both male and female clients who come to him to address a number of sexual issues and concerns. His interventions are so successful that he is the go to referral for many physicians including Cleveland Clinic trained Dr. Kanwal Bawa.
Bawa, who hosts the Dr. Sex Fairy Podcast and runs Bawa Medical in Boca Raton Florida says, “Jacobson is the only sex therapist I trust with my patients because not only is he a gifted psychologist and sex therapist, he has a kindness and humor that is sometimes lost in therapy.”
But his influence and focus is not just toward the general public. Jacobson is also changing the way sex therapy is done. He chairs the special interest group on sexuality and religion for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and he provides training to therapist seeking certification as a sex therapist through his School of Sex Therapy.
In early December, people from the United States and Israel flew to Berlin for Jacobson’s sexual attitudes reassessment workshop. The event, commonly referred to as a SAR, is a required part of sex therapy training. But many came just for him, including one participant who has never flown internationally before. LaTanya Jones, a therapist from Philadelphia, overcame her fear of flying just to spend a few days with Jacobson. When she learned he was hosting the event she said she could not pass up the opportunity.
Jones said she learned a lot from Jacobson, or ‘Dr. J.’ as she calls him. She believes he, “provided a wonderful experience that educated and challenged participant’s biases in the areas of kink, sexuality and religion, pleasure and sex therapy.”
One of Jacobson’s associates said he was impressed and taken back that people in Berlin often recognize him when he goes places. No small feat in a city of almost four million.
Dr. Susan Frantz, a Connecticut based sex therapist and close friend of Jacobson’s said that part of his appeal is that he doesn’t sensationalize sex. She credits the respect he receives to the renewed sense of legitimacy he brings to the field of sex therapy. “There is a dignity and level of professionalism that comes through his easily approachable style,” she commented.
And that has been his goal. To bring legitimacy to a specialization of therapy that is often plagued by misconceptions and characterizations. He also seeks to normalize sex and help couples to have better connection.
In just a few short years Dr. Caleb Jacobson has quickly become everyone’s favorite sex therapist. He’s frequently featured in the media. He’s been invited to speak all over the world. He’s led a global research project. He’s even launched a school to train other therapists. So what’s next?
Jacobson tells us that he is currently working on two books on sex and religion, though he wouldn’t go into detail. He also just launched a new podcast called Uncomplicated Sex.
“I think sex has become too complicated,” he says. And he contributes part of the problem to other therapists. “We’ve made sex too confusing. There’s too many terms and labels,” he continues, “people just want to have closer bonds in their relationships and, of course, have better sex.”
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