Health & Wellness

Jim Benton’s New Path: From Caterer to Clinical Sexologist

70-year-old reinvents himself once more.

Jim Benton, CCS, CSC, ABS. Clinical Sexologist (Courtesy)

Over the past five decades, Jim Benton has been active as a music instructor, a caterer, and a florist. Now 70 years old—at a time when most people are thinking of retirement—Benton has reinvented himself, opening a new practice as a certified clinical sexologist. “This is absolutely where I am meant to be,” he says. 

Growing Up in a Small Texas Town

Benton’s ancestors came to Texas from Scotland in the 1800s, and he grew up in a west central Texas town known as Santa Ana. “There were about 900 people in that town, and 33 other students in my senior class,” Benton says. 

Born in 1954, fair-haired Benton remembers learning music from his grandmother, who lived right across the street. “I would sit in her lap as she showed me how to play the piano.”  By the age of ten he was playing the organ at the local Baptist church, where his mother was the secretary.

In high school, Benton participated in the marching band and the football, basketball, and track teams. “I knew I was not like everyone else,” he says, “but I had no way of identifying as gay, because I did not know that there were other options. Sexuality was not talked about back then. There was no language for it.” 

Into the Larger World

After graduation from high school, Benton enrolled in Howard Payne University, a Baptist college in Brownwood, Texas, to pursue a major in music education. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1977.

The year prior, Benton married a young woman with whom he had appeared in a local production of The Sound of Music. “She played a nun and I was a German soldier,” he remembers. 

Qualified to teach music to grades kindergarten through 12, Benton moved with his new wife to Kingsville, Texas in 1979 to accept a job offer there. He was given the responsibilities of choral activities director for an entire 5A school district.

The couple had three sons and eventually gravitated to the Corpus Christi area, where he began to work in the catering/floral field. In 1989, Benton and his wife divorced. “It was amiable,” Benton says. He and his wife had realized there were personality differences that could not be reconciled. 

That same year, the oil business in Corpus Christi went bust. Faced with child support and the need for a new job, Benton moved to Houston. As he drove across the Brazos River near Sugar Land, Benton looked at the Houston skyline and thought to himself, “You better figure out who you are.”   

Coming Out  

In 1985, when Benton was deep into the Corpus Christi catering/floral world, he had never really addressed his sexual orientation. One day he worked three weddings in a row. At the final event, he watched the guests who were all happy and having a good time. 

“I realized I was the only person in the room who was not happy,” he says. “I had always been a giving person—and I had given so much for so long that the well had run dry.” He continued to work, but knew he was running on empty, pushing himself onward but feeling numb. 

Benton says he always sort of knew he was gay, but did not feel like he had the permission to come out. However, once in Houston, Benton was introduced to Bering Memorial Methodist Church in the Montrose area by the manager of the floral shop where he had found work. The congregation was largely made up of members who were LGBTQ. “I finally discovered this was where I needed to be,” he says.

At one point, Benton was asked to fill in for the florist who provided the altar flowers for the church. “I ended up doing them for the next 17 years,” he says. Eventually he oversaw the floral and food ministries and worked with the choir. Every Thanksgiving he assisted with the church dinner provided for persons living with HIV. He also helped with the annual Bering and Friends fundraiser at Stages theater.

From 1991 to 2020, Benton operated the Jim Benton of Houston catering firm. He was  also in great demand to play the piano at private parties. He continued to work with music students—most often, helping them prep for competitions—and at times served as an accompanist. 

Benton was a popular performer, appearing regularly at Ovations Night Club in the University area with his act Bewitched, Bothered & …. Benton. He helped produce an annual Broadway parody, Night Court, for the Houston Bar Association.

Benton holds several leather titles—Mr. Prime Choice 2013/2014 and Mr. Texas Leather 2014—and was in the top 15 at the International Mr. Leather competition. He also served as president of the hugely popular annual fundraiser Nights in Black Leather


Asked when he first thought of reinventing himself, Benton says jokingly, “Every time I looked at Cher!”   

The truth though, was much more somber. In 2020, while COVID-19 was ravaging the world, Harris County shut down large public events. Just 23 hours before an event Benton was to cater for five hundred guests, the ordinance went into effect. From there on, it was a crash and burn for his business. 

Benton was faced with no livelihood, but his life was now a clean slate. Several friends suggested he train to be a certified clinical sexologist. The school of choice was Sex Coach U, in Los Angeles, California. 

After contacting the school, Benton knew he did not have the financial resources to enroll, but the school encouraged him to at least sit for an entrance interview. Several days later the admissions director told him that renowned sex coach Dr. Patti Britton was so impressed with his interview, she wanted to offer him an 80% scholarship. The remaining 20% could be paid off if he helped organize special events and work with the school’s alumni. 

After two and a half years of study, Benton earned a master’s degree in clinical sexology. Currently he is a doctoral student and PhD candidate at the International Institute of Clinical Sexology in Miami, Florida. 

Sexual Wellness

Benton now runs his own clinical sexology practice, known as Everybody Needs Somebody. His services include individual counseling, couples counseling, clinical hypnosis, workshops and retreats, and a group therapy experience he calls “party lab.”  

Benton works with men, women, and transgender individuals, who are college age and older. “People come to me and wonder if they are normal,” he says. “Normal is just a setting on a washing machine. It is important to be who you are and to be in love with your authentic self.”

Benton is not locked into any treatment template. He provides therapy in many different forms, whatever the need is. One of his offered therapies is vocal coaching for transgender individuals who want a voice that more authentically matches their gender identity. Many of his clients are referrals from other health professionals who feel a specialist is needed. 

In his practice, Benton works across a wide spectrum of issues, such as fear of dating, poor body image, and erectile dysfunction. Some clients cannot have sex without the use of drugs. In some relationships, there is an unequal attraction between the partners. He asks clients what they want to be, and then helps them set goals to get there. 

“There is an epidemic of loneliness and isolation these days, especially for seniors,” Benton says, echoing the Surgeon General. “But I can see healing in people’s lives, and this is what makes my new career so rewarding. I help people get their heads and hearts into line with each other.”

A Blessed Life

Benton says he has been fortunate to have lived a well-rounded life. He has seen cathedrals in Europe, climbed down a waterfall in New Zealand, visited with people in Russia, watched a Pride parade move down the canals of Amsterdam, and catered for a U.S. president. 

Benton and his ex-wife are still best friends and keep in close contact. Their three sons have successful and meaningful careers. His sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren are all supportive, and they live within ten miles of each other in the Houston area. “I have been incredibly blessed,” he says. 

For more information, visit

Keep up with Jim Benton on Instagram @jimbentonens.




Brandon Wolf

Brandon Wolf is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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