Sex Educator Profiles: Cat Toyooka
What led you to become a Sex Educator
I had an a-ha! moment while watching an Oprah show on the prevalence of oral sex in middle school students. Realizing there is waaay too much bad or incorrect information out there, I decided to become a sex educator.
How did you start giving sex advice?
I’ve always been that inappropriate friend to ask and comment on your sex life (or lack thereof). I formally began giving sex advice after going through some intensive training in the summer of 2002.
Where did you get your education?
I have a B.A. in Sociology from Scripps College, but my sex education was completed here in the Bay Area. I attended a 10 day training to become a certified as a California State Outreach Worker and this was mostly concentrated on providing street level HIV/STD education. I am a San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI) alum which provided me with comprehensive sex education, and I completed a weekend volunteer and peer leader training with API Wellness. I think I stopped counted my training hours after I reached 300.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
I love that people feel very comfortable talking to me about a subject that is traditionally pretty taboo. I love seeing the spark ignite in others when I’ve brought up a subject or topic that they then really want to further explore. I also am proud to give accurate, non-judgmental information that is neither propaganda nor overly-sensationalized.
What is your most common question?
Probably the most common question I get is people wanting to know the average penis size. I also routinely get the question about whether or not you can contract HIV through oral sex.
What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?
Do I have to tell my potential partners that I am HIV positive?
What is your favorite sex toy and why?
Many years ago I bought a silicone dildo called “Adam at Good Vibrations. It is the perfect length and width for me, and I love placing it on a chair and going to town! I’m not sure if GV still carries this exact model, but it is my absolute favorite.
Where do you teach? If you travel, what is it like? Where was your favorite place to teach? Most unusual panel or experience?
I worked at BAY Positives (world’s first peer-based non-profit serving HIV positive youth) from 2002 to 2008. I conducted presentations on HIV/STD transmission with the members as well as travelling to local high schools and colleges.
My favorite place to present was probably for the gay men’s group at API Wellness because they were up for anything and always had lots of questions.
The most unusual place I ever presented was for a Catholic High School in the East Bay. Because the crowd was so large (200 educators and students), they held the presentation in the school church, and even wanted me to sit on the stage in Priest’s chair. The educators kept taking the microphone out of my hands to let the students know that condoms have a high rate of failure!
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
That anything can become fetishized!
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Omg where do I begin? Good Vibrations was one of the first places I visited when I moved to the Bay Area in 1999. I was so impressed with the culture of the retail stores and the awesome staff who answered my questions with great information and a non-judgmental attitude. Good Vibrations taught me that there is nothing wrong about talking about sex and sexuality in a very open and matter-of-fact way. GV helped me realize that sexuality should be embraced and celebrated!
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
My first suggestion would be for them to take a quick “inventory of their own values and judgments about sex and sexuality. Not everyone is well suited to become a sex educator and there are many sex educators out there that should be in different careers. It is also essential to get your training from a reputable place that is committed to giving you accurate and non-judgmental information.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
Becoming a sex educator takes commitment. The trainings can often trigger people’s judgments which can hinder the learning process. The biggest gift I have learned is how open I am to other people and their lifestyles.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
That women who enjoy sex are slutty nymphomaniacs.
Which is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
I’ve worked on so many wonderful projects as a sex educator. I think my favorites are anything that has to do with devising fun games or exercises that I incorporate into my sex education workshops.
What is your best piece of sex advice for women?
My best piece of advice for women is to get over the taboo of masturbation! Masturbation is one of the very best ways for you to become orgasmic and learn about your own sexual response cycle.
What projects are you working on now?
I just launched my new business, Catherine Coaches. It is a unique consulting business providing both confidential and professional dating and sex coaching services to individuals living in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
Where can people find out more about you?
People can find me at my website http://www.catherinecoaches.com.
My website gives people information on how they can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meetup.com.