Sex Educator Profiles: Miss Maggie Mayhem
What led you to become a sex educator?
Sex is a topic I have always had an avid interest in and I was disappointed by the minimal amounts of education I was offered when I was in school. Once I found out that other information was available, I got to work and began doing a lot of reading, asking tons of questions, and seeking out a community of people dedicated to passing it on to others.
What kinds of sex education do you offer?
I offer many forms of sex education. By day I am an HIV specialist for homeless youth. I do HIV testing and counseling, lead groups, offer staff training, and do street outreach. After work I have a shift at the San Francisco Sex Information hotline answering calls and connecting people to resources and I answer questions for the “Perv Panel” at Carnal Nation. My work as a fetish performer has also opened up opportunities for sex education. Seeing something can trigger ideas and questions and I get all kinds of emails from people who only know me as a performer on stage or the internet.
How did you start giving sex advice?
I started working as an HIV tester when I was 18 years old and in college. After the extensive training that came with that position, I started getting booked for workshops on safer and alternative sex.
Where did you get your education in sexuality?
This question has multiple answers. I got a lot of my education in sexuality informally through my culture and personal experience, but I another large bulk came from reading every single book I could get my hands on as well as sitting through hundreds of hours of formal training.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
I love seeing “ah-ha!” moments in people. Watching someone realize they aren’t alone with an interest or a challenge is fantastic. I don’t think I can ever hope to answer all questions 100% but being able to offer another piece of the puzzle is my goal every time I interact with someone.
What is your most common question?
“Do you have any extra large condoms?”
What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?
This summer I was working in Tanzania, Africa. I was working in the district hospital, doing home visits out in the bush, and visiting schools to give sex education. I had to struggle with the fact that I speak limited Kiswahili and the students spoke limited English. One student handed me a piece of paper that read, “WHO DISKO/ VERA KINDIM” and I was completely boggled by what this could possible mean. Being in front of a room of people didn’t help the situation. Finally I realized that the question was, “Who discovered condoms?” and I was able to move forward with an answer.
What is your favorite sex toy or product and why?
My favorite sex toy is an Njoy stainless steel butt plug. I love the fact that they’re easily cleaned and sterilized, I love their weight, and I love how well they stay in place. My Njoy is like my Mastercard; I don’t leave home without it.
How do you think your book/film/website is different from others out there?
My website is such a gigantic mix of everything right now, by which I mean it is an unorganized mess. My posts range from recent photos from my latest porn shoot to my thoughts on a recent controversy to erotica to philosophical ramblings. Although I can connect it all back to sex in one form or another, I don’t possess a one track mind. You never know what you’re going to find when you visit my website at all so it’s good to come in with an open mind.
Where do you teach? If you travel, what is it like? Where was your favorite place to teach? Most unusual panel or experience?
I have taught throughout California, but I’m mostly active in the Bay Area. It’s hard for me to pack up shop and travel because I’m so engaged with my day job but I have had some great traveling moments. Getting to spend two months on a grant in Tanzania was one of the craziest experiences of my life. I was like the Indiana Jones of sex education. I had Green Mamba attacks, I was physically threatened for doing a condom demo in a conservative school, I dug a latrine for a young HIV+ woman whose family didn’t believe any of our education interventions about the spread of the virus and made her sleep in a chicken coop, I had a needlestick accident working at the hospital and wound up on PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), and I was doing collaborative work with Witch Doctors for HIV treatment.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
Just when I think I have myself entirely figured out, something goes and changes again. Sometimes I am entirely confident in my knowledge and experience other times I feel like a cat chasing a laser pointer. The most interesting thing I’ve learned is that it’s always going to be new and interesting to me.
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Good Vibes has been my ideal place to send people because I have complete faith in their products and staff. I know that the space will be non-judgmental and the information will be accurate.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
Record yourself giving a sex education presentation and really watch it. Sex is such a loaded topic and every emotional nuance impacts what you’re saying. After you’ve watched yourself once, you will give a much better presentation later because you can actually see that the message you are delivering is more than just words.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
The best thing I’ve learned about my sex life is that it’s been getting better all the time. The more I learn about myself and how I communicate with others has completely changed the way I have sex and I’m having a great time.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
That everyone is normal except for ‘you.’
Which is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
My favorite project is always the one I’m working on at the moment. I just developed and implemented an intensive and frank training on sex work for seasoned social workers. I was noticing that a lot of conversations weren’t happening when they needed to because the tools simply weren’t available. It’s been fun to interview both sex workers and their social workers and to look at the giant gap between them as an opportunity. I’m eagerly awaiting the results so I can refine and revise what I’ve offered so far.
What is your best piece of sex advice for women?
Just because a woman isn’t in the mood doesn’t mean she can’t get in the mood. Sometimes a woman’s libido needs a little kick start because it can be a little latent. I noticed in myself that I would come home from work thinking that the last thing I wanted to do was have sex with my partner and the fact that they wanted sex when I didn’t would be a source of conflict. That strife made it even harder for me to desire sex the next time around. Instead of just saying ‘no’ I started saying, “I’m not in the mood right now, but I might be after I get a really good massage from you,” or “come have a glass of wine with me and tell me what kind of sex you want to have tonight,” worked a whole lot better.
Where can people find out more about you?
Come check out my website www.missmaggiemayhem.com, find me on twitter @msmaggiemayhem (I will honor any follow request that doesn’t come from a spambot), or drop me an email at email@example.com.