Middle ground is defined as ‘an area of compromise or possible agreement between two extreme positions.’ Alternatively, we can envision the middle ground as a place where we hold common interests, values and goals. Sexuality-related topics are rarely considered to be easy to find the middle ground, and people are often pitted against each other, rather than working to build a common foundation from which common goals can be met. While we often find ourselves most at odds with those in opposition to our field, even as professionals within the field of sexuality, we hold great diversity of experience and perspectives. Sexuality educators, counselors, and therapists often differ in how we approach sexuality as professionals, how we approach sexuality as a topic, and how we approach related therapeutic and educational interventions.
There are many questions to explore in relation to the expansion of our middle ground. For example, as a field, do we need consensus on who is considered a sexuality professional? How do we decide who is included or excluded? How do we engage one another and hold each other accountable? How can we better advocate for those whose voices are marginalized? As professionals, how can we utilize intra- and transdisciplinary perspectives to strengthen our skills? How does cooperative collaboration between professionals and disciplines benefit our clients and students? How do we recognize and represent the diverse needs and perspectives of our students and clients? As individuals, how can we maintain connections across different perspectives? How do we find these connections? How do we remain open to those whose perspectives are in contrast with our own? Collectively, how can we contribute to a paradigm shift that broadens the cultural understanding and appreciation of human sexuality? The greater question remains – how do these things happen?
During our time together in Minneapolis, we seek to answer these questions as a way of exploring and expanding our middle ground. We will examine the current controversies, conflicts, and connections so that we can better understand and respect the positions of others as a way of strengthening our individual work and our field as a whole.