Being a sexuality educator is one of the best jobs in the world. To be able to create a safe space in which people of all ages, gender identities, sexuality preferences, etc. feel comfortable talking about something very uncomfortable is truly an amazing thing. Introducing people to new ideas, exposing/debunking common myths, giving people permission to have fun and be sexual creatures are all really good things.
However, being a sexuality educator is not all about sex toy testing, porn watching, and being able to openly say taboo words like penis, vulva, and masturbation without giggling.
Sexuality education is still a relatively new field and profession. The good news is that there is very little over-site and you can work with a fair bit of autonomy as opposed to other professions. The bad news is that there is very little over-site and you can work with a fair bit of autonomy. Confusing, eh?
Sex educators enter into the field for various reasons and can take many different pathways to become educated in the field of human sexuality. Additionally, the field of sex education can be extremely broad and can contain people who practice tantra, sacred touch & healing, and surrogacy just to name a few.
There is also a huge chasm between those sex educators who do NOT do hands on work, and those sex educators who DO hands on work.
I have already made many proclamations about how I consider myself to be more of a "traditional" sexuality educator where I utilize sex toys, puppets, and diagrams in my presentations and workshops. In other words, I do not perform (or get others to perform) live demonstrations of anything nor do I show my pleasure anatomy as part of my teaching technique. Further, it might really surprise you to find out how much educational information people who attend my workshops walk away with.
But to make my way back to my original point, I have found that there is very little support for us sexuality educators. A few sex educators have partnered up and decided to build businesses based on their collective work. However, those educators seem to be very few and far between.
And without a strong community, many sex educators can feel like they are left out in the cold to fend for themselves. Here are a few of the downsides of being a sexuality educator I have encountered: (in no particular order)
- Sex educators being so fiercely protective of their work or their place in the pecking order that they are not open or willing to "talk shop" with other educators (particularly if they are newer to the business or are trying to make a name for themselves)
- Sex educators being almost impossible to reach via phone, email, or text
- Having people not value your expertise enough to pay you fair compensation
- Having to pay for many things (sex toys, demonstrators, and travel) without any real confidence the investment will pay off
- Having the general public and even family members completely not understand what you do for work
- People thinking you do hands on demonstrations or will sleep with them
- Dealing with societal/political backlash due to misconceptions and untruths
- Dealing with stalkers
- People harassing you by telling you how you play a starring role in their sexual fantasies
- Having people make assumptions about your personal sex life
- Having someone attend your workshop who either attempts to be disruptive, purposefully provocative or challenging, or just plain unhappy with your presentation
- Having colleagues feel like you are being competitive with them
- Knowing that you will passed up for particular workshops
- Knowing the person who did get the particular workshop is someone you know personally or are familiar with
- Having colleagues "borrow" components of your work without your consent
- Having a certain feeling of isolation when it comes to not having strong peer support
I don't want to discourage you from following your dream and becoming a sexuality educator. I just wanted to point out some of the not so great things that can happen if you go down this particular path. Being a sex educator can be an extremely fun, profound, challenging, and rewarding career!