Sex Educator Profiles: Kate McCombs
What led you to become a Sex Educator?
I have always felt passionate about providing sexuality information to my peers, but I didn’t realize that I could pursue sex education as a career until college. As a teenager, I recognized that providing sexual health information was something I was meant to do because I could remember details about sexuality that I could not about, say, U.S. History. The sexuality classes I took in college were always the highlights of my semester. I always felt enthusiastic about learning about sexuality and I never had the thought, “When will I use this information in real life?
How did you start giving sex advice?
I’ve been answering sex and reproductive health questions for as long as I can remember being aware of sexuality. When I was much younger, I found myself answering my friends’ questions about their periods. Later in high school and in college, I answered peers’ questions about condom use and masturbation.
Where did you get your education?
My mom wanted me to have a very different experience of sex education than she had. She always answered my questions honestly “ I don’t remember ever being told, “I’ll tell you when you’re older. As a result, I felt more comfortable asking questions and I got more accurate answers than my friends did. Since I had this information and so many of my peers did not, I became a resource for sexual health information.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
When I give people sex information, I feel like I am giving them choice in their lives. For too many people, the desire for sexual knowledge far exceeds the opportunity to obtain it, limiting their options. For me, the joy comes from creating a safe space to have someone’s questions answered, and from facilitating learning that directly benefits others’ well-being.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
I’ve learned how much of having a healthy, enjoyable sex life comes from conversations that take place outside the bedroom. Sex education often touts the importance of communication in a satisfying sex life, but rarely does it teach specific skills, such as setting boundaries, determining one’s intentions, and communicating feelings and needs. Since I wanted to learn more about healthy and effective communication, I took several trainings in Non-Violent Communication, which has been hugely helpful in my personal life and in teaching others the skills to communicate about sexuality.
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
There are so many ways! I’m particularly grateful for the diversity of communities that Good Vibrations serves, which has allowed me to reach more audiences. Additionally, I love being part of a community of sex educators. It is a relatively small field, and I find it invaluable to be able to share the challenges and triumphs of the work with others who share my passion.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
Being clear about why you want to be a sex educator. Being passionate is a natural side effect of that awareness, and passion makes your message more salient and engaging to your audiences.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
I’ve learned the importance of balance in the pursuit of healthy, satisfying sexuality. I find it’s useful to have a sense of humor about sexuality paired with the “seriousness of making good sex a priority.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
Often people think that good sex is instinctual, that you are either “a good lover or not. In reality, it is a learned skill. The desire to have sex may be instinctual, but the truly remarkable, deeply satisfying stuff comes with knowledge and practice.
Where can people find out more about you?