1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I became a sex therapist through a somewhat “non-traditional” route (selling sex toys and creating pleasure based sex education for adults) and I feel lucky that from the beginning of my career in sexuality I was able to focus more on pleasure than pathology. Now I want to be a catalyst for prioritizing pleasure in sex therapy and education to help students and clients find empowerment, combat victimization, have better health outcomes, and bring them closer to their goals. This also means valuing the sometimes stigmatized work of porn performers, sex workers, hands-on sex educators, and sexual surrogates; the people in our field who work directly with pleasure.
2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?
Betty Dodson’s book “Sex for One” was a catalyst for a lot of my own personal growth. For many years it was the book I went to for reassurance whenever I needed to be brave and bold as a sex educator. I would say to myself, “If Betty could do it, you can too.” Also, all the people who attended the home sex toy parties in my first few years as an educator. Their questions and comments helped me grow as an educator, identify my blind spots and biases, and instilled in me that there is always more to learn in this field.
3. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality? 4. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?
Recognizing and dismantling white bias and racism in the field of sexuality. Adjusting sex education for people of all ages away from a hetero-normative and reproduction centric framework.
5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?
I believe in the power of pleasure. When pleasure is left out of the work of sexual health professionals all people are disadvantaged, but most of all people with vulvas and people who identify as LGBTQ. Including pleasure helps keep people safer by helping them negotiate for the experiences they want to have. Normalizing pleasure helps people expect that experience and realize they don’t have to “just put up with” pain or discomfort during sex. Don’t get me started…I can talk about the importance of pleasure all day long!
6. Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?
It is probably an overstatement to say I was once a professional puppeteer, but a long, long time ago I was paid to make and perform with puppets.