My mother once said to me that she didn't have to go to college to learn how to make a baby. What she was trying to say is that she didn't have to go to school to learn how to have sex. That might be true on a basic level, but no one is born knowing everything about sex and what we were taught in high school is not that helpful as adults.
We all live in a country obsessed and conflicted by sex. If you don't believe me just watch the Republican primary race this year. There seems to be a competition among the candidates to see who can shut down and control female sexuality the fastest starting with the withdrawal of funding for Planned Parenthood. You don't like that? Then turn the channel and you can watch Bd/Sm on "True Blood", or women reaching for their desire on "Hung".
Sometimes it seems that we are a nation desperately in need of one large group therapy session on adult sexuality. We want it, but we don't, and along the way there is a lot of misinformation and no support for adults looking for a good quality sex education. And then there is sexual shame.
So many of us get coaches in almost every aspect of our lives, from finances, to nutrition, to exercise. But when was the last time one of your friends told you that they were meeting with their sex coach or going to a sexuality workshop? And even if they were - do you think they would share this with you? Probably not. Because, like my mother, they feel they already know everything they need to "naturally" and if they don't - then something is wrong. Speaking openly about sex still makes many of us squirm and feel embarrassed.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could acknowledge that just like nutrition, money, and exercise - we could use a little support along the way? Wouldn't that be so grown up of us?
For most people, sex is one of the bigger issues out there and our relationship to our sexuality can be constantly changing just like our bodies. As we age, new sexual possibilities can present themselves. We may face medical challenges, our relationship status may change, our desires may shift and all of this can bring us tremendous opportunities for sexual growth or sexual shut down.
When most of us think of sex education, we think of kids or young adults, which leaves most adults groping for information on the internet. There is a lot of good adult sex education available on-line, but the hard part is separating the weeds from the flowers when it seems that everyone is a "sexpert".
And while watching youtube videos on orgasm might be helpful, actually speaking one on one to a sexuality coach, or attending a workshop or downloading an adult sex education course might be a better way to go. Sometimes we need to talk about our own particular situation, and hear others talk about their experiences, and learn what questions to ask - and ask them.
My experience as an evolving adult woman, as a sexologist and as an educator has made me highly motivated to cultivate a list of resources that might be a great starter kit for most people interested in exploring adult sex education.
Your sex life is important, take the time and check out my list. You deserve the best support there is - and it simply makes sense to keep evolving and learning about sex beyond the skill required to put a condom on a cucumber you mastered in high-school.
Pamela's Adult Sex Education Starter Kit of Resources to Check Out:
1. The Pleasure Mechanics, is an adult sex education site run by two women. It has wonderful, affordable videos that teach all kinds of sensual touch which they demonstrate mostly on human replicas. Their instruction is easy to understand and well done. It is a non-pornographic site which makes learning comfortable for most people.
2. Check out speaking or working with a Certified Sexologist. One of the newest professions in our country is "Certified Sexological Body Workers" which are somatic sex educators. This new profession began in California, and now there are "CSB's" all over the world. To learn more about working with a CSB check out their professional organization website.
3. Consider attending a workshop. I am a huge fan of the programs put out by The Body Electric School. They have workshops for all genders, or you can participate in a workshop just for women or just for men. All sexual orientations are welcome.
4. Read! There are some wonderful books available that can support your own adult sex education journey. What's on my bookshelf? Here is a short list! Check out: "The Erotic Mind" by Jack Morin, Ph.D, "Momentum: Making Waves in Sexuality, Feminism and Relationships" Edited by Tess Denesi, Dee Dennis, Inara De Luna with a Forward by Dr. Jocelyn Elders. "Ecstasy is Necessary" and "Urban Tantra" By Barbara Carrellas. The Ethical Slut By Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.
5. Get E-Mail! Sign up to receive the Sex and a Healthier You free educational newsletter put out by HealthyWomen and The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
6. Find Community. As my gift to all Psychology Today readers, I am offering a free membership to my "Shameless Community" (usually a $25.00 one time membership fee) where you find support offered by sexologists and intimacy coaches, educational non pornographic videos, and lots of people just like you who are sharing and supporting each other in understanding adult sexuality and relationship challenges. This is not a dating or "sex" site. It is a support and educational community. Please put PT Offer in your initial profile and do not pay the membership fee. You can learn more and join here: "Shameless Community".
What To Do After Reading This Article?
Check out the resource list! LIKE IT! Leave a comment, and please share this article with your social networks.
Learn more about me, and my book by visiting my website "Being Shameless".