Sex Educator Profiles: Krista Haapala, MSW
What led you to become a sex educator?
Happily, I seem to have always had “talk to me about your sex life and relationships written on my forehead. Friends and strangers alike feel comfortable sharing intimate details of their lives with me and asking questions about sex and sexuality. I have always felt at ease giving my perspective, sharing my knowledge and remaining non-judgmental about whatever anyone shares. As I regularly state while working, “Bring it¦share it. Nothing shocks me. Everyone deserves a non-judgmental sounding board or resource for quality, accurate information.
My passion is based on these foundational beliefs:
- Your sexuality is for YOU!
- Healthy sexuality is unique, diverse and personal
- Sexuality is an integral facet of your authentic self
- All consensual sexual experience is pure and positive
- You are the expert in your own sexuality
- We all deserve pleasure
- The most important erogenous zone is your mind
- Sex-negative cultural influences must be exposed and eliminated
What kinds of sex education do you offer?
My approach is entirely holistic, client-centered and honors the beautiful diversity of sexuality. I am kink, poly and vanilla friendly.
In my coaching practice, I offer individual, couple and group sessions depending on the needs and desires of clients. I also offer more educationally-focused seminars on various topics and educational and awareness trainings for other helping professionals. I also enjoy writing and often share my perspective in articles and blogs, including my “thoughts from the edge blog and now Good Vibrations Magazine “Sexy Mama blog.
How did you start giving sex advice?
I have always been the “go-to friend to ask for sex and relationship advice. I enjoy it and believe in the capacity of everyone to manifest the relationships and healthy sexuality they truly want. So I have always come at it from that perspective: total trust that each friend or client can create what they desire. While working with clients on holistic life and relational coaching, I noticed for most people that harder they tried to ignore their sexuality issues the more they struggled in many other facets of their lives. At that point, I made sex and sexuality more of a focus in my coaching.
Where did you get your education in sexuality?
I am continuing my education at The Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. I also hold a Masters in Social Work from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. I’m a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and the American Counseling Association. All of these educational as well as life experiences contribute to each individual sex educator’s knowledge and passion for their work.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
What I love most about giving sex advice is watching people experience the power of permission to be themselves and the liberation that acceptance brings. Sex and sexuality, whether we choose to accept or deny the fact, is central to our fulfilled existence. It is a vital facet of who we are in all our unique and brilliant glory. When we deny our sexuality or try to mold it into something it’s not, negative effects will manifest in other aspects of our lives. Healthy sexuality is key to a fulfilled holistic life.
What is your most common question?
“Is this normal?
What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?
The hardest questions to answer relate to relationships between people that seem fundamentally incompatible.
What is your favorite sex toy or product and why?
I love Sliquid! I enjoy spreading the word that quality, body-healthy lube is a must-have for everyone and is the best sex toy ever!
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
As advice, I have to quote the thankfully interminable and wise Betty Dodson, “You need a thick skin and a healthy ego in order to withstand the usual blowback from being positive about sex.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
The connection among sex, sexuality, mindfulness and consciousness is profound and energizing. To truly integrate your erotic energy into your day-to-day existence as a source of energy and power is a radical act with pervasive positive consequences.
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Having a trusted, knowledgeable, body-healthy and welcoming resource to which I can refer clients is comforting. I know they are in great hands!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
The biggest misconception I have encountered about sex and sexuality is that you can somehow hang it up in your closet like your little black dress and only put it on for special occasions. Sex and sexuality are inseparable and integral facets of our body, mind and spirit. Those who acknowledge and live their lives honoring that fact lead healthier, more fun and more dynamic lives.
What is your best piece of sex advice for women?
Remember your sexuality is for YOU first and foremost. Enjoy and revel in it alone first. Appreciate the pleasure and energy it gives you. Own it completely.
What projects are you working on now?
I continue to coach in person in Portland, Maine and via Skype. I have various collaborations in the works for seminars, including a focus on women, couples and new and soon-to-be parents. Also, I am constantly pecking away writing about sexuality activism, the influence of culture on our sexuality, reinventing female desire and the medicalization of sexuality.
Where can people find out more about you?