Sexual health and wellness are having a renaissance moment.
Social media and the rise of internet platforms (like Intimina’s blog) have made access to sexual health education easier than ever. Younger generations are having a general attitude change towards how they navigate their sexual health, creating a demand for inclusive information.
If you’ve made it here, chances are you’re curious about the world of sex education.
Widening The Scope of Sexual Education
It may seem like every other Instagram influencer and YouTuber is jumping on the sexual education bandwagon. Here’s the thing – it’s not a bandwagon. A role that was once only associated with lacklustre information given by a teacher in high school, is now broadening to make space for other kinds of experience.
You, like many other teens, may have had a sexual education experience in school that left you with more questions than answers.
The beauty of this new era of sex education is that with access to the internet, anyone can share about their sexual experience and sexuality, and others can learn from that. Lived experience is valid, important, and necessary, especially for increasing inclusivity in a topic that depends on it.
With this of course comes downsides like the spreading of false, unclear, or harmful information. Like any field, sexuality education has certain standards that are typically only taught in a more formal, organized setting.
So whether you’re wanting to become a sex educator, are just curious about what it takes to be one, we’re here to answer your questions.
Because there are no set guidelines, people have the opportunity to create a path that works for them. These are just a few of the routes people take on their way to becoming sex educators.
One of the most obvious ways to become a sex educator is through formal education at a university.
People will typically get their undergrad degree in a social science or biology field, and then pursue graduate school with an emphasis on sexuality studies.
These programs however are limited. In the United States, there is only a handful of Masters in Human Sexuality programs. Sometimes people pursue women’s and gender studies degrees and use that as a starting off point for their sex education careers.
While it’s not required, some people may go on to get their PhD, which would give them more possibilities in terms of conducting research or teaching at a university.
For those pursuing the path of a sex therapist, they would need to get the necessary prerequisites, then a masters in a therapy-related field, along with additional training in human sexuality and clinic hours so that they can become licensed.
Certified Sex Educator
There are several programs out there that offer pieces of training for people pursuing sex education.
In the United States, most of these programs are geared towards certification through AASECT, The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.
Some of these programs are:
- ISEE: Institute for Sexuality Education & Enlightenment. Their program can be done entirely online, but they also offer live classes in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Arizona.
- Sexual Health Alliance: Their online programs are designed for people wanting to become a certified sex educator.
- Options for Sexual Health: This program is geared towards people who plan on working in a school or community health setting, as well as counselors.
Forge Your Own Path
As you can see by the rise of sex educators on Instagram and other platforms, more and more people are forging their own paths, and with that, making sex education more accessible.
Many of these self-taught sex educators own sex toy shops, are sex workers, or are advocates for communities that are often ignored in sex ed like people who are LGBTQI+ and/or people with disabilities.
Even for those that have forged their own path, many of them have a degree or experience in related fields.
One example is Sheri Winston, author of Women’s Anatomy of Arousal. Winston was a midwife for many years, before turning towards sex education. Her experience in birth work gave her a unique insight into the topics she talks about in her book.
Or for example, my degree is in Psychology with an emphasis on research, which I use to give evidence-based information. This combined with my experience as a full-spectrum doula, led me to a place where I feel qualified to work in the field of sex education as a writer and consultant.
Many of the people you see who have created their own path work in advocacy, community building, journalism, and related fields.
If you’re feeling drawn to pursue a career in sex education, you’re off to a great start. Continue to self educate with books on sexual pleasure and anatomy and sexuality and social justice, as well as networking and reaching out to people who inspire you in the field.
Dabbling a little here and there will help you make the best decision for yourself and your path. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere!