Sex Educator Profiles: Amy Baldwin
What led you to become a sex educator?
My first Human Sexuality course at the college level was taught by an uninformed individual who was still recommending the diaphragm as the best birth control method for young students. The icing on the cake was when she began preaching about living a celibate life just as she had been doing for the past 10 years. I was stunned. This person is responsible for the modern day education of 60+ college students, many of whom may be experiencing sex ed in a public institution for the first time in their entire lives, and yet she is so inclined to advocate biased opinions alongside inaccurate information? While my inspiration may have come from a not-so-sex-positive place, this experience is what motivated me to become an advocate for the sex-positive movement.
What kinds of sex education do you offer?
As a co-owner of a pleasure boutique, the majority of my interactions with customers involve some level of sex education. When I am helping someone find the right toy for a specific (or non-specific) purpose, all kinds of questions come up about sex and pleasure including physical anatomy, hormonal affects and changes, as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual influences. The only thing we generally DO NOT talk about is that of our own sex lives.
We also put on regular free classes with different themes that generally cover sex, pleasure, sex toys, and/or how to obtain pleasure safely using the harm reduction approach. Promoting the above mentioned topics, we also travel to local campuses as well as other business establishments. And for those who may not be entirely comfortable with an in-person interaction, I offer an “Ask Amy Q & A on my website.
Where did you get your education in sexuality?
Beyond that first inspirational yet uninformative sex ed class in community college, I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Sexuality from San Francisco State. During this same time, I also completed a 60 hour training with SFSI (San Francisco Sex Information) to become a certified sex educator. I believe this training is what really prepared me to be able to speak with individuals from and open, non-judgmental standpoint. I am also constantly continuing my education is sexuality through my own research, as well as the weekly classes we offer at our retail store featuring other sex educators from all across the country.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
I love making a positive impact on other people’s sex lives by giving them access to both resources and information to enhance their sexual health and well being. My favorite interaction is when an individual is making their first attempt at improving their sexual self, whether it is buying their first vibrator or learning about a sexual activity that shows them new possibilities for their sexual being.
What is your most common question?
The most common questions I get are somehow oriented around a low period in an individual’s sex drive or sex life. People who have been in primarily monogamous relationships for an extended amount of time are often concerned with their low libido and/or are looking for new ways to spice things up in the bedroom.
What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?
I have a hard time answering questions that have to do with an individual’s lack of self esteem due to some sort of past oppressive social experience. Trying to teach someone about a certain aspect of sex when it is apparent that this person has been led to believe that they cannot obtain or do not deserve a fun, pleasurable sexual experience conjures up a lot of personal emotions in me, so much that I often want to turn my sex advice into more of a therapy session.
What is your favorite sex toy or product and why?
My favorite sex toy is pretty much anything that vibrates alongside a good erotica book. To name a few, The Mystic Wand or the 6 Breeze Power Bullet, as well as anything written or edited by Violet Blue.
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Good Vibrations was our inspiration for opening up our own sex-positive pleasure boutique in Santa Cruz, CA. We wanted to provide a place where people, especially women, could feel comfortable enhancing their sexual health and well-being. And we have received many thanks since the day we opened our doors. So, in turn, thank you to Good Vibrations!
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
Personally, I am constantly amazing by the power of the clitoris. Over 8000 nerve endings? The only part of the body designed specifically to feel pleasure? Absolutely liberating!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
The universality of it. I cannot think of one sexual act, behavior, belief, or interest that universally suits all people.
What is your best piece of sex advice for women?
Again, the power of the clitoris. Embrace it! Celebrate it! Pleasure it!
Where can people find out more about you?