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On Innovation and Inclusivity in Sex Education

I'm posting most of the text of the lecture I just gave at the University of Texas through the NSRC Regional Training last week. A bunch of people there asked for it, and it was a great experience for me (how awesome was it to be in a room full of current and potential sex educators? VERY). So much of what I said really sums up where I'm at with this work right now, have been going and want to keep going. Obviously, every current and potential sex educator in the world wasn't or couldn't be there, so here is my offering to all of you -- including you peer educators, formal and informal -- and I hope it's something you can use and be inspired by.

You might also notice that some of this lecture borrows some bits from a couple other pieces I've written recently, namely this one.

My name is Heather. I'm turning 39 this spring, and I'm a full-time sex educator.

I was asked to come talk to you to about how to be both innovative and inclusive with sex education.

In many ways, sex educatio

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How Easy It Isn't

“Any girl can look glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” - Hedy Lamarr

Young women today have it so much better when it comes to sex than we did... right?

Now and then, when talking about the population I work with and the work I do with them, I will hear or face women my age (I'll be 39 this spring) or older stating that now that we live in a post-feminist world here in the states, they're shocked to hear that young women are struggling with sex and sexuality....well, just like we were. And some struggle even more.

Let's get that post-feminist mishegoss out of the way first. I remember the first time -- it was near the end of the 80s, which probably should have tipped me off to the fact that clearly, the end of the 80's was indeed nigh -- I ever heard someone use that phrase, as blithely as if they'd just said the earth were round. I wondered how the heck I missed the final end of sexism, patriarchy and gender inequality. Surely, if this were so, I'd hav

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Male-to-female gender changes and sexual functioning

Maya asks:

Can people who have sex changes (male to female) get erections? And if so, do erections and intercourse feel the same as it would for someone who was born male and still identifies as male?

Let's Get Metaphysical: The Etiquette of Entry

From both our personal experiences of our own varied sex lives, and in our work in sexuality with many other people, it seems pretty clear that really letting someone into an internal space in your body, or going into someone else's insides -- which we know might sound a little gross, but that is what's going on with this stuff -- is a fairly big deal for many people. So, what might make sexual entry different from other sexual activities?

He can't make up his mind about having sex: doesn't he love me?

ForeverAndAlways asks:

I'm in love with my boyfriend. He's my best friend in the whole world, and I'm his. He's in love with me and it's the first time either of us has ever been in love. It's the most wonderful, yet scariest feeling ever. He's the sweetest guy, and he would never disrespect me and I want to make him happy. We've been talking about having sex, but he keeps changing his mind. First it's let's wait until we're married, then it's Let's not, but not yet. Then it's I'm scared, then it's I respect you too much. He confuses me. It makes me feel like he doesn't love me enough, or want me the way I want him and it's hard for me to deal with. I'm not sure what I should say or do to let him know how I feel...and I'm not sure why he keeps changing his mind. I don't know what he wants and he doesn't tell me voluntarily. I have to guess, which is obviously difficult. We never fight, but lately this has been causing an argument almost every night, and I don't like it. Can you help me?

Help! I think I'm trapped in the wrong body...

Anonymous asks:

I feel very awkward asking this question. I am a 13 year old girl, and I feel like I'm trapped inside my own body. I have never told anyone about this before, and I'm really confused. Are there certain ways to tell if you're transgender or not? I feel like I'm more attracted to guys, but I sometimes have thoughts about girls too. I'm a little young to figure it out on my own, but I've watched my fair share of those sex-change shows. I also feel like I go on the Internet a lot, because there I am anonymous, and I can say I'm a boy. I know the works of sex, so you don't need to tiptoe around the answer. I couldn't even imagine telling anyone I know about this problem. I feel like puberty is hitting, and it's hitting hard. I can't stand having boobs, it makes me feel even more uncomfortable. Another awkward question. Is there some kind of strap-on penis that is wearable? If so, could you provide detail? I really appreciate you listening to this. It was really hard for me to say, because I feel like I've been lying to myself, and repressing these feelings. Thank you.

Why does male sexuality seem so repulsive to me? Am I just too feminist?

Anonymous asks:

This is more of a psychological issue, I think, than a physical one, and possibly unsolvable, but I'll ask your opinion anyway because this site seems pretty clued up and sensibly feminist and lovely.

I have recently become disgusted with the idea of male pleasure. It's like I'm... too feminist to function. I have had sexual partners in the past, but recently, the more I learn about male character (although that is a gross generalization, I know - there is no innate male or female "character"), the less reconciled I am to pleasing men. My rational mind knows that there are plenty of men who are not misogynist pigs, who don't objectify women, who aren't secretly rapists... yet when I fantasize about sex, and men getting pleasure from sex, I feel physically repulsed. Like, how dare they use my body, they're just like trying to get pleasure from me. I know that is MASSIVELY unjust because surely women are using men too, but I literally can't help it.

Casual sex with a friend that didn't stay so casual.

Anonymous asks:

I've done a bad, bad thing. I lost my virginity about a year ago in my sophomore year in high school to my ex. Since then I've slept with a couple more guys including my best friend, J (I guess that's better than using his real name). J was a virgin until we were "together," but I found out afterward that he's has feelings for me for a while now. To tell the truth, I thought we were just screwing around and getting drunk together, and then it lead to sex. Now he's all clingy, romantic and, "we should be together for the rest of our lives" kind of crap. I hate romantic. I want to be friends again but he sees us either as a couple or nothing. I'm so screwed. What should I do to make him my best friend again?

I'm a Straight Girl, but Wish I Were a Gay Guy...

Leahcar asks:

I'm a straight 20-year-old girl who lately can't get the idea out of my head that I wish sooo much that I'd been born a gay boy instead. I'm not sexually active right now at all (have had 2 partners in the past but nothing for over a year) and it's pretty frustrating because I miss it. To compensate, I finally got the guts to look at some porn over the internet, but never with any girls - just (male) gay. In fact, seeing girls almost always totally turns me off and I really can't stand the moans of a female. What I like most is seeing "gay for pay" - straight guys who engage in gay sexual activities for money for websites. I've also become obsessed with finding gay-themed movies posted in parts by YouTube users. I'm a huge sucker for coming out stories or tales of experimentation and love and romance, both in full-length movies and short films. I've also realized how much more pleasure it seems a man can get from his penis than I can from my vagina. I mean, guys can jack off for like over 20 minutes sometimes before they orgasm, all the while feeling some sort of pleasure, and the same when receiving a blowjob (which, for the most part, I think guys can give better than girls). When I try to masturbate, it usually lasts less than a minute, it seems, and sometimes nothing even works. I don't think I ever orgasmed during intercourse in any of the times I had it. I hate practically everything about my body anyway, but after watching so many guys get off I just really wish I had a penis...

Can Bosom Buddies Be Bad?

A bosom buddy is someone very near and dear, with who you can share your most intense feelings and difficult challenges. Also known as “bosom friends,” the term is a bit antiquated and the wording not embraced by all; however, just Shakespeare said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” a true friendship is special and unique regardless of what you call it.

Can such friendship start to sour? According to a recent New York Times article entitled “Talking is Good; Too Much Talking May Not Be” by Sarah Kershaw, this intense sharing can become more negative than positive. Some researchers studying the nature of female friendships believe that friends' excessive dwelling on their emotional difficulties can lead to additional challenges, such as anxiety and depression. Referred to as “co-rumination,” the article gives examples such as “Why didn’t he call?” and “Should I break up with him?” as such so-called obsessive discussions. These researchers also believe that technologic

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