Sex Educator Profiles: Monica Levine, LICSW
What led you to become a sex educator?
I am “officially” certified as a sex therapist through AASECT– however sex education has also been a large part of my work with individuals and couples. I also worked as a sex educator as well the last 5 years in a inner city school in the Teen Clinic there. Alongside my “therapist role with teens 13-18, I spent a lot of my time serving as a resource and educating teens around sexuality issues. I was dealing with a very large population of pregnant teens and kids who generally were very sexually active but who knew little about their bodies, protection and ironically did not feel positive about their sexual behaviors.
What kinds of sex education do you offer?
In the last 3 years I have developed two groups that I run ongoing- A Sex Positive group for Teen girls- ages 13-15 and 16-18 and a Sex Positive group for adult women. Both are centered around feeling positive about sexuality and our sensual selves and both are focused on a much broader definition of sexual energy which is a positive, creative energy that can be applied to all relationships and in all areas of our lives.
What do you love about giving sex advice?
I love working with people and talking about sexual issues for 2 main reasons: One, there are very few places in our culture where people have the space and opportunity to talk about sex and I have found that when they have the opportunity- teens or adults, they are so excited and so relieved! I have always liked talking about things that many are fearful to explore, but will help make us larger and deeper human beings.
Secondly, I find it incredibly positive work as sexual energy is life energy and to work with people around their sexuality and how that gets expressed and shared in their lives, gives me the opportunity to help people be more passionate in their lives, however that manifests.
What is your most common question?
What is the most difficult or hard-to-answer question you’ve ever received?
The most common and most difficult question to approach in the women’s’ groups is- lack of sexual desire and energy- especially in long term monogamous relationships
and in relation to motherhood.
The more challenging questions in the teen groups have to do with Herpes- oral contact, kissing, spreading of that particular STD, realistically talking with partner about possibilities of disease when adolescents often are being sexual with “their eyes closed” pretending they are not saying yes. My most favorite question to date in the Teen groups, however, was “Monica, is it true that sperm makes your teeth white?”
What is your favorite sex toy or product and why?
My favorite and rather simple sex toys are the KamaSutra dusting powder- (which is edible and comes with a great feather) and the adornments for breasts (made by a French company- forgot the name) which are re-usable and fit around women’s’ nipples- the women in my groups love this product!
How do you think your work is different from others out there?
The difference in my work is probably in the fact that I try as much as possible to combine sex education/ sex therapy with Psychodrama. I have trained in Psychodrama since 1992- and find it incredibly powerful I use it with individuals as well as in my groups. My last session in my Women’s group involves setting up a “metaphoric bed” and we discuss “who is in bed with you- how crowded does it get- and who do you need to kick out?
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Good Vibrations has been a wonderful resource for information about products as I spend one session in my women’s’ groups introducing the women to ideas and creative approaches to being sexual in their relationships. I have called and spoken with store people and always got good, helpful information.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
My advice to someone entering the sex education/sex therapy world would be to really do extensive work on oneself- examining ones’ sexual history, fears,
blocks, judgments, etc… fully. A positive approach is in my opinion the only healing way to approach this work and as in all therapy/education WE are the most important tools. The more grounded and unattached to being “the expert”, the more available we can be. Ram Dass once said “If there is a “client” in the room, then there has to be a “therapist”- and we are both in trouble then!”
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
The best thing I have learned in re/ to this field is that sexual energy is life energy. It informs how we make love, how we are as parents, how we approach any creative endeavor – how we “walk” through the world. As we walk with passion in this world, we give permission and help allow others to feel comfortable owning that energy, which will heal the world I believe.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about sex I have encountered is that it is about “technique” and that it is about the “other person”.
I have come to believe it is about feeling beautiful, enthusiastic and passionate in oneself that is the fire.
Where can people find out more about you?
My website is Monicalevinelicsw.com