So Netflix’s "Sex Education" Makes You Want to Be a Sex Educator?
By Autumn Morris
When I was growing up, sex education was trash. My sex education experience entailed: watching a video of a woman giving birth, looking at a diagram of a penis, and being told that I’d probably bleed once a month. When school failed to teach me the important stuff, I lived in ignorance surrounding sex and sexuality for years. How can you miss something you never had?
One magical day, I found one of my favorite sex educators online: Shannon Boodram. I binge watched her YouTube videos for days, soaking in so much information I thought I would combust. The more I learned, the more I realized the sheer lack of quality, inclusive, and comprehensive sex education in our society as a whole.
As time passes, our society is becoming more and more aware of how crucial all levels of sex education are to the health, safety, and wellbeing of the general public. Yet, that hasn’t stopped social media platforms from deactivating sex education based accounts, only angering the masses and feeding societal regression. Sex politics even hit Netflix with a roar as they debuted their new original series Sex Education. The show is about a teenage boy, who also happens to be the son of a sex therapist. He realizes that the kids at school could really use the expertise he has learned from his mom pertaining to sex, love, and relationships. He begins his own business at school counseling his sexually troubled peers. Sex Education does a great job of illustrating what adolescents are missing in regard to intimacy education from the school system, as well as how the expertise of a “sexpert” can fill that gap.
As this conversation becomes more public, many people are experiencing the same fascination with sex education as I have. People are baffled at what we have missed, consumed in the forthcoming knowledge, but most importantly, wanting to know how we can fill the gap.
Once I watched every single one of Shannon’s videos, I figured it was time to branch out, find other educators, and better familiarize myself with this space. Somewhere in that process, I too, decided that my purpose was to be a sex educator. Unfortunately, I realized not only is there a lack of sex education, there is also a lack of guidance on how to become a sex educator even though Otis’ mom, the sex therapist from Sex Education, makes it look like such a regular job to have! How can we mend our society and start a sexual revolution if we don’t have the tools to do so??
I had to do research … plenty of research. So, maybe watching Sex Education has you pumped to pursue your destiny as a sex educator. Or maybe the current sex politics on social media has you intrigued to swim against the current. Or maybe you had an epiphany while lost in the crevices of YouTube like me. Regardless of your reasoning, you want to become a sex expert, and I have the resources to help you begin your journey.
First, we have to figure out your target audience. Who do you want to educate? That will help you better understand your path to become an educator. If you:
Want to teach kids in school:
To teach health or sex education in middle or high school, you must attain at least a bachelor’s degree in Higher Education with an emphasis in health or science. You must also attain a teaching certificate. The caveat to this is some schools do not allow teachers to just teach health. They require you to teach another subject ALONG with health. Check with the school systems in your community and see what their requirements are.
Want to work in a practice:
To work with clients one-on-one regarding sexuality, you would need to attain at least a master’s degree in a field related to mental or emotional health, wellness, or stability. This could be anything from psychology to family and marriage counseling. You would then attain a post-grad sex therapy certificate. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) outlines the details for attaining a sex therapy certification step-by-step here.
Want to work in the media:
Working in the media is a lot less strict than the previous options. The educational path you choose is more about reputation and less about requirement (unfortunately). You are in control here. If you plan on using social media as your medium, creating online courses, or providing consultations pertaining to sexuality or sex education, I suggest you get an Associates in Sex Education or Human Sexuality at a minimum. This ensures that your resume reflects your skill set and makes you more reputable. The common obstacle with this is finding an accredited institution that offers sex education as an undergraduate degree. The only accredited institution I have found that offers an undergrad is The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality located in San Francisco, CA. However, other institutions have great graduate programs such as Widener University, located in Chester, PA.
All of these options can be supplemented by personal study. This has been the biggest help to me as I become the Sex Educator that I know I am capable of being. Books, research, and additional training will go a long way filling in the gap from your unsatisfactory sex education. To find out more about what books to read, stay tuned for our Sex Education/Positivity book club.
The sex revolution is HERE. It is time to take action and begin making sexuality education accessible to people of all demographics and walks of life. You are inspired to step into education and now you have the tools to take the first steps towards your purpose. Will you answer the call?