Jul 252011
 

Surprisingly, sex education is a fairly thankless job. While there is often the bonus of fun work which I am passionate about, and the occasional free sex toys to test and review, overall, there is a lot of drama. You have to promote yourself constantly to get bookings, you usually have to work a full time just that is not connected to sexuality, or if it is, usually not the side that you’re passionate about. You have to deal with people (friends, family, co-workers and strangers) judging your choice of work, as well as treating you as a free sex therapist all the time. You have to have epic debates about whether to use your real name, give out your real phone number, etc, because of the fear of being unemployable in the future, or having stalkers…well, stalk you. It is not a job that makes much money (really), and it’s one that involves a constant fight for sex positivity in various environments, from the government funding Planned Parenthood to inclusion of gender in employment non-discrimination acts, to fighting for/with folks with disabilities to be allowed to embrace their own sexuality, to removing laws that make owning/buying sex toys illegal in certain states.

It is not easy, and there are days when I sometimes wish I had maybe chosen another route.

And then, you are reminded in a heart beat of why you do what you do.

Last week, I taught my final class (of pre-booked ones) at Fascinations. If they’d like to have me again, I’d be happy to do so, but this was my last planned one. The room was PACKED, standing room only (60+ people) for a class on cunnilingus, which is not frequently a sell-out subject. People were involved, asked questions, answered my questions, and were a truly wonderful group to teach to for 90 minutes. Afterwards, not one, not two, but over a dozen people came up to me, telling me how much I had positively affected my life. One woman was at a class for the first time, and cried, telling me she was so glad to have gotten to hear me speak at least once. Another women cried, telling me that over the last year or more, I had changed her life so incredibly, taking scary subjects of sexuality and helping her confront them, learn about them, and embrace them. Another group of 20 somethings (and a woman who had just turned 18, and was visiting a toy store for the first time) told me how much they’d learned from me, how comfortable they felt with their bodies and their sexualities, and how much they missed me. They all wanted to know when I’d be back, and they all hugged me.

THAT is why I do what I do. My goal in every class is for each person to learn 1 little thing that is new. One. This class, *I* learned how much my education has helped others truly embrace who they are, and have a more positive experience with sexuality. I could not ask for anything more than to have had such a positive effect in so many people’s lives, particularly in a state/area where sex is rarely discussed with a positive and pleasure centric bent.

It can often be a thankless job, but the occasionaly “Thank yous” that I get from people who have attended my classes, read my writing, watched my videos, or had counseling sessions with me? That is better than any easy 9-5 job, better than any big paycheck (though that would be nice too), and totally makes me reinvigorate my passion for this field. And to you all, I say thank you!

-Shanna

Apr 302010
 

This past weekend, I got to teach a bunch of Fascinations staff members in the Phoenix area. Every month or every other month, our staff gets sexuality education and product knowledge training in both Denver and Phoenix, and this month I got an hour to talk about whatever I wanted before JimmyJane and System Jo got to talk to them about new products.

So what did I talk about? Well, the Spareparts Joque harness for sure; how it’s comfy, size friendly, machine washable, great for guys with ED and more. And about Maximus, how it’s glycerin free, water based, and so thick…it’s great for hand jobs, anal, fisting, and more, as well as vaginal intercourse.

But then, we talked about sex and disability, and how to help customers with disabilities get what they need and treat them in the best manner possible. And we talked about kink people coming in, and how to work with them, and learned some language around that. Then we talked about gender identity, and while most people were right there with me, many people learned something new.

Then Monday, when I came into the office, my email had tons of notes thanking me for doing such a great workshop, how they’d love to learn more, that they’d want an all morning seminar JUST on sexuality and disability, and some asked for my list of books, sites, and other resources.

I am SO happy people care. People learn, and bring it back to their stores, to their customers, and pay it forward.  And how much more joy can you get than that?

THIS is one of the many reasons why I do what I do, even though it’s not a 40 hours a week job, nor am I making the big buck. I do it because teaching about sexuality provides so much joy…for me, for my students, and for everyone it touches.

-Shanna