Sex Educator Profiles: Jamye Waxman
What led you to become a Sex Educator
I was a radio producer who couldn’t find a completely fulfilling outlet for connecting with an audience. I loved comedy and political banter, but I felt that these weren’t things that were necessarily fulfilling to talk about. What I mean is we can argue politics, or laugh at a good joke, but neither of these things would impact my life in the long run. When I started working on a show about sexuality, that’s when I saw that sexuality was something we all wanted to talk about, to feel common experiences around, or maybe not so common experiences, but sex was in some ways a shared experience and by talking about sex we could grow both as individuals and in relationships. We could figure out that we were, or weren’t normal, that what we liked was okay, and that it was cool to expand our thinking around our sexuality as we got older. We all have our own experiences around sex, but we don’t always have permission to share these experiences. With what I was doing, people could share their experiences freely and without judgment and that’s what I wanted to be able to do with my life and its work.
How did you start giving sex advice?
I’ve been giving advice my whole life..lol..my ex boyfriend used to call me Lucy from the Peanuts. Not sure that’s a good thing, but…
With sex advice, I got lucky. I was a radio producer and I applied for a job at Playgirl Magazine as the associate editor. I had never written anything for publication before, but I was a Literature and Rhetoric major, and I knew how to write. It came down to me and one other woman, a woman with way more experience than me in the magazine industry. Needless to say, she got the job. But two weeks later I got a call from Michele Zipp, the then editor-in-chief, who said that she had been impressed with my writing and with the fact that I was working on my masters in sex education. They were remaking Playgirl and asked if I wanted to come on board as their new sex advice columnist. The job lasted 7 years!
Where did you get your education?
I did my masters at Widener University in Chester PA. It’s one of the only accredited universities with a specific degree in human sexuality education. Undergraduate “ I was at Binghamton University in upstate New York.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
I love giving permission to people to experience pleasure in all different ways. I think that when it comes to sex we are so caught up in “is what I like okay? or “am I boring? or “what’s wrong with me and we forget that there’s a whole range of ways we can be, and I love just giving people permission to experience pleasure.
What is your most common question?
Oh, I don’t know..maybe does size matter? Or does a vibrator replace a boyfriend?
What is your favorite sex toy and why?
I have two favorite sex toys. Vibrating, it has to be the Eroscillator. Not the prettiest toy on the market, but the fact that it oscillates, instead of vibrates, makes a difference to me, and feels more gentle on my clit. And it’s a plug in with a really long cord. Non vibrating, it has to be the Pure Wand by njoy. Hard, cold and curved just right, it’s a great toy for internal massage. Truth is though, I’m way more of a clit girl.
Where do you teach? If you travel, what is it like? Where was your favorite place to teach? Most unusual panel or experience?
I teach all over the country. Mainly right now at sex positive places like Good Vibrations, The Smitten Kitten, the Pleasure Chest and the like. I really loved teaching at Burning Man too. There I taught hands on oral sex workshops for couples only. It’s amazing to watch a couple come into the room and allow exploration of their bodies to happen in front of other people. And it’s a voyeuristic turn on. I mean, getting to watch other people give and receive pleasure while you give or receive pleasure is definitely a way to take a relationship to the next level.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
Wow. Interesting? Uhm, it might not be interesting, but what I love is that I’m always fascinated by who likes what and by fetishes, like the balloon one. I love that someone eroticizes balloons, and I also love that just because a guy is full of tattoos doesn’t mean he likes pain and vice versa. I think I’m always amazed that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but it’s true.
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Well, I worked for almost five years at Babeland in NY, and I know that Good Vibes helped make that model a possibility. So I owe a lot of my sex toy retail experience to the path Good Vibes paved for more places to come out and provide people with the best not only a safe space to buy sex toys, but an amazing experience and an education in pleasure.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
Follow your heart (and your loins) and remember that comprehensive sexuality education is way more effective than abstinence only, but don’t preach that there’s only one way to get what you need. Get into this field for the right reasons, but not because you think your friends will think you’re cool, or that you’ll have great conversations at parties.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
That sex is natural. Sex isn’t “natural – which is something I learned from the amazingly intellectual Leonore Tiefer. I heard her once say that this phrase was made up for quickly for a sound bite for a magazine. We may have the instinctual desire to have sex, but sex doesn’t always come naturally, we have to figure out the mechanics of how it feels right for us…and we’re always trying to figure out our sexuality and explore and expand which isn’t always natural.
Which is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
I have two. My book, Getting Off: A Woman’s Guide to Masturbation, because I love! Love! Love! Talking about self pleasure and the female body. And the latest movie I’ve made for Sensual Couples, a division of PHE, It’s called Positions for Lovers and we shot it on location at Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica. And it features only couples that were really together and really in love.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m the host of Playgirl’s Virtual Encyclopedia of Sex and I also blog reguarly at that site. And I’m working on a graphic guide to sex and a new podcast that should be up early next year!
Where can people find out more about you?