Sex Educator Profiles: Andy
Good Vibrations interviews Sex Educator-Sales Associate, Andy!
See our collection of Sex Educator Profiles.
What kinds of sex education do you offer and where do you teach it?
I’ve been working at Good Vibrations for almost 9 years. I’m the Lead Sex Educator-Sale Associate and Education Program Coordinator for the company. I directly work with our customers answering their questions about sexuality, and additionally, I provide and promote our off-site Sexual Health Outreach Workshops (GVSHOW) within our community. I’m also proud to work closely with our resident staff sexologist Dr. Carol Queen in providing ongoing education and training to our staff.
How did you start giving sex advice?
I started at a pretty early age actually. As a teen, I was very involved within the LGBTQ community. I was lucky that where I grew up in the Bay Area, basic sexual education was provided to us in school. We learned about peer pressure, STIs, reproduction, and birth control options. Unfortunately, all of the information, as wonderful as it was, was still very heteronormative. I quickly saw that there was a need for basic sex ed amongst the queer youth community, so I decided to get involved and help to change that.
When did you first hear about Good Vibrations?
Who didn’t know about Good Vibrations?! I grew up in Berkeley and hung out in SF, Good Vibrations was everywhere! Whether I was at a conference, Pride, community center, or just walking through the city, GV had a presence.
One of my first memories of Good Vibes was as a young adult when their outreach team came to do a workshop at my job. I remember seeing them up there, in their Good Vibes hoodies, with a great big box of toys to teach us about. That was the day I fell in love with Good Vibrations, and it’s been ongoing relationship for over a decade now.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
People have questions, whether they are asking them or not. Even the best sex experts have to keep up to date with the newest information out there. But because of my background as a sex educator, people now know where they can go get those questions answered without being judged or shamed.
I have friends that call me up when I’m “off the clock” to ask for tips or advice. When I go out to eat with my work badge on, the servers will start asking about products we carry. It’s pretty incredible. I don’t just want to be the person giving sex advice when needed, I want to create more spaces where that type of information can be safely accessed. That’s what empowered me to get involved, and I can only hope that I can empower others to join us on that mission.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
That the human body isn’t so different between genders. It’s fairly normal to wonder how something might feel for a person with different anatomy, but the physical makeup and responses are more similar that you might think. For example, when I explain female ejaculate to a class, they stare at me like I’ve just told them gravity doesn’t exist. It’s always the same. I hold up my vulva puppet and say “what comes out of the urethra?” and usually the class will all say “urine!” Then I say “and…?” and there it is, the blank face, the quizzical brow. You can’t blame them, not even a little. Female ejaculation is still a topic that is widely unfamiliar, even to medical professionals and scientist. What I can help them understand is the parallels between sexes. I hold up a penis display, point to the urethra and ask “what comes out of here?” and the class will reply “urine and ejaculate…oh I get it now!”
Comparing the clitoral hood to foreskin on the penis, the scrotum to lips on the vulva, and the G-spot to the prostate not only helps people to understand how their own anatomy works, but also the anatomy of their potential partners regardless of their gender. It also helps to explain the varying bodies on the spectrum of gender presentation & sex, including those that are transgender and may be on hormones or have had surgeries, and those that were born intersex. Suddenly our genitals aren’t as big of a mystery, and we realize just how much we all share in common.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
Probably that all or even most women can orgasm through intercourse alone. The reality is that most women (upwards of 80 percent) need external stimulation to reach orgasm, yet many men and women still expect otherwise. You have to remember, not very long ago people did not even know that women could orgasm at all, let alone externally. Stimulating a woman externally was to help relieve her of hysteria, not to bring her sexual pleasure.
Luckily in this culture and day in age, folks now have the awareness of female orgasms, but the largest misconception is that she will have her’s when you have yours. Because of this misconception, I see thousands of people feeling inadequate, and confused. Couples blaming themselves or their partners for “coming too quickly” or “not trying hard enough”. Misconceptions like these can very dangerous, and can really hurt everyone involved. That’s why I am happy to provide people with the facts. No, you are not alone. Yes, this is very normal and very common, and more importantly, yes there are ways to help. Products like arousal creams, vibrating rings, finger vibes and even the We-Vibe are designed not to come in between you and your partner during sex, but to help you and your partner come together.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
On top of having an insatiable thirst to learn more and more about sexuality, my advice for what you’ll need is quite simple. Take what matters most to you and what’s missing from the conversation already, and fill the gap.
As a young fat, queer, genderqueer person of color, my presence and my experience is very necessary in the conversation of sexuality. My not finding the resources for my community is what got me involved in the first place. It’s also the principle that Good Vibrations was founded on, and continues to uphold. When there weren’t products available that were made with body-safe phthalate-free materials, we demanded them. There weren’t many examples of queer porn on the market, so we made our own. And in 1977 when there wasn’t an adult store around that women felt safe shopping at, we opened one.
Some of the coolest products recently designed, like the Stronic Eins, the Sasha Harness, and the We-Vibe 3, all stand out because they dared to be different, and to bring something new to the table. If you are interested in a career of sex education, then your unique identity and creativity should be your starting place for this path. That’s what people will find inspiring. If you can find a way to channel that into your work, then you’ll truly be successful.