Sex Educator Profiles: Becca Brewer
What led you to become a Sex Educator?
A mixture of circumstance and fate, really. I was attending UC Berkeley as an undeclared undergrad. I was thinking about Political Science so that I could move on to become a lawyer. After realizing Political Science did not interest me in any way, I was feeling pretty lost for a long time. I ended up taking a Queer Visual Cultures class because I thought it sounded interesting and I was thinking about going into Film. While the Film aspect did not interest me at all, the sexuality theory kept my eyes wide open in class for the whole semester. That’s when I figured out my life would revolve around learning as much as I could about Sex and Sexuality. I made up my own Sexuality major through the school’s interdisciplinary department and for a while, I actually wanted to go into Sex Therapy. That was until my junior year. I had just applied to be in a high level position in the University of California Marching Band … and was rejected. The night of the rejection, I went on a field trip with my Female Sexuality class and informed my facilitators of the rejection. A few days later, they pulled me aside and encouraged me to apply as a facilitator myself. I applied, was accepted, and ended up facilitating the course for 2 semesters. Throughout my duration as a facilitator I experienced first hand the power of caring and conscious educators in helping people to navigate through what is, unfortunately, a very muddy and complex topic in this culture. I was hooked!
How did you start giving sex advice?
Well, in college, when people would ask, “So, what’s your major?” my answer was Sexuality. Once people learned that I was Sexuality major, it opened the flood gates for a great deal of questions. Luckily, I’ve always been very sexually curious and so even though my formalized education didn’t necessarily provide all the answers, the myriad books I had read provided some accurate answers.
Where did you get your education?
My undergrad education was at UC Berkeley (Sexuality Major, LGBT Minor), and my grad education will be from Widener University (Education in Human Sexuality). That being said, my real grasp of what subjects needed to be taught and how to approach those topics was through Female Sexuality (Femsex), a peer led class at UC Berkeley.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
The ability to make someone feel more comfortable in their own skin with very simple and conscious words.
What is your most common question?
Having taught at a high school level for years, there is no such thing as the most common question. Most question revolved around issues of normalcy. The “is this normal” or if “if I like this, am I normal?” The answer is yes 99 times out of 100, so that question is always fun to answer.
What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?
Anonymous questions about relationship violence. It’s difficult to answer those questions because you can’t ask guiding or clarifying questions, and relationship violence seems to always have so many variables. So the general advice and resources that you’re able to give MAY be helpful, but they may also miss the mark on what that person needed to know or needed to hear. And in the realm of relationship violence, that always sucks because you want that person to no longer be in that situation, and your answer is not a guarantee they’ll figure a way out.
What is your favorite sex toy and why?
The Hitachi Magic Wand. I recently decided to try a new toy after using the wand for 7 years… and there isn’t really any comparison for me personally. It’s worth the size and noise and being attached to a wall.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
That desire can be wildly unpredictable. Every time I think I have something figured out, I get blasted with a craving or desire or inclination that I would never have imagined myself having. Learning this has been interesting because it’s taught me to be unapologetic and unashamed about my desires, whatever that may be. Makes exploring sex way more fun when you don’t feel like you need to apologize for your curiosities or discoveries!
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Well, other than the crazy street cred, working at GV has helped me to realize that if you teach about from an angle of humor and respect, your audiences in all their diversity, will usually respond in a positive and constructive way.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
If you want to be a GOOD sex educator, get ready to process some serious shit. You have to understand yourself as a sexual being at a level that most people don’t have to. You have to know your triggers and your personal agendas and your biases, AND THEN you have to learn to how to keep those in check or be transparent about those things while you’re teaching. If you don’t, your biases show, and your audience may be alienated as a result. As sex is a topic that is filled with all kinds of emotion, knowledge acquisition is not enough to teach sexuality well (it’s not like teaching math), you also have to be savvy in the ways of emotion management within a classroom or educational space.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
The importance of the brain in sexual functioning, how to articulate how that works, and why it’s important to keep conscious of that info!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
That youth are not sexual and don’t deserve information about sex and sexuality. I think that our attitudes about the aptitude and capacity of our youth is one of the major factors in perpetuating a societal standard of unhealthy relationships with sexuality. The silence and negativity just perpetuate the cycles of ignorance, violence, and feelings of isolation we experience. Sex should feel good, both physiologically and emotionally, and until we start elucidating that aspect of sex for our youth, we’re just setting our future adults up for failure in that arena.
What projects are you working on now?
Getting those letters! Although I was running a super fun after school program (The Sex Ed Squad Program for the Daly City Youth Health Center) training youth in peer health education skills, I decided that getting that MA (possibly Ed.) would allow me to bring sex-positive, empowerment based programs to more youth than just those in the Daly City/Pacifica area. So, for the next two to four years, I will be at Widener University in Chester, PA learning important educationally focused skills and expanding my knowledge set.
Where can people find out more about you?