On My Way To A Sex Ed Conference

Sex education is a really diverse profession. There are lots of different ways that people do it, from teaching classes in middle schools and high schools to university courses, offering workshops on relationships and sexual practices, outreach for non-profit agencies & professional organizations, writing books, creating how-to movies, blogging, running informational websites, offering direct client education, and more. But no matter how you do it, one of the most valuable experiences is getting together with other people in the field and sharing information, trading stories, and learning from each other.

I’m at San Francisco airport, on my way to the Center for Family Life Education’s Sex Ed Conference in New Jersey. For two days, sex educators and trainers will geek out about their programs and offer their experiences to help each other improve skills and support sex ed newbies as they discover their new profession. It’s going to be a great time!

Some of the presentations that I’m looking forward to are:

The Early Years: Promoting Healthy Development in Young Children Although I work with adults, both here at Good Vibrations and on my own, I think it’s important to understand how great sex ed for kids works. A lot of people never get solid information about sex as children, which can have a big impact on their adult lives. I find that the more I know about healthy childhood sexual development and education, the better I can help adults make up for what they never got.

Sex and Happiness Unfortunately, a lot of sex education is based on scaring people about how sex can harm, especially when the target audience is young people (including college students who are legal adults). I’ve always thought that was strange, given that pleasure is one of the big reasons people have sex! I’m curious to know more about the connections and differences between pleasure and happiness, and how they can each be incorporated into teaching.

Ten No-Fail Strategies for a Lifespan Approach to Sexuality Education I’ve always believed that learning about sex is a lifelong process. Our experiences of it and our relationships to sex will change over our lifetimes, so no matter what we know now, new challenges and pleasures will come our way. The more I can include information about that into my teaching, the better!

Insights for Raising Confident Women Although I don’t have kids, I get a lot of questions from parents about how to talk with them about sexuality and relationships. I rely on my amazing colleagues to help me learn about it, and I’m grateful to be able to refer nervous parents to many of my sex ed allies. And I also think it’s important for us to each learn about populations that we’re not part of, both to be able to offer more inclusive education and to be able to know when the referrals we make are the most appropriate. This presentation on how the mother-daughter relationship shapes girls will be a big help.

How to Be a Top Presenter And of course, I’m looking forward to my workshop on the principles and practices of effective sex education. Most of us in the profession have cobbled together our teaching tools, based on observation of other educators, trial and error, and intuition. One of my favorite things is helping sex ed folks see under the hood and develop better understandings of how great teaching works.

I’ll be keeping you posted about the conference and helping spread the word. Keep your eyes peeled for updates!

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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