Sex Ed Across America and the Rise of the Celebrity Sexpert

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(8/12/13)  Sex education in America has made a lot of progress since the early days of Kelloggs (yes, the Corn Flakes flakes–errrr, folks) and the Boy Scouts touting their views on the alleged catastrophic consequences of masturbation.  We’ve even managed a few steps forward since the Clinton administration’s summary dismissal of U.S. Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, for suggesting that masturbation be included in sex education programs.  But let’s face it: Sex ed is still too divisive as a political hot potato to say that it’s anywhere near where it should be today.

A quick peek at some key indicators might put the current situation in focus.  Less than half of American states require sex ed in their public school curricula and even fewer mandate that, if taught, it be factually and medically accurate(1).  Political and moral arguments aside for a moment, whether you believe that a comprehensive versus abstinence-only approach is best, the fact that over 3/4 of a million young women between 15-19 in the U.S. become pregnant each year–and that over 80% reported their pregnancy was unintentional(2)–should be enough of a wake-up call.  Factor in that young adults account for about half of the almost 20 million new sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases annually(2) and it’s pretty easy to see that any so-called progress hasn’t even closely equated to a viable system yet.

Here’s the rub: Kids having kids or proliferating STDs are only symptoms, not the problem.  Whether by using children as perpetual pawns in never-ending political, religious and social chess games or simply through a basic failure in leadership, the responsibility for not adequately addressing the obvious need for effective sex education lies solidly among adults.  Are we (collectively and generally) really that unwilling to come together on this for the benefit of our youngins?  Or are we just unable to for various reasons, whether legitimate or rationalized?

Let’s be optimistic and presume good intentions for a moment regardless of individual politics, et cetera.  Given the severe stigmas and historical hang-ups associated with such a basic and natural element of the human experience, it’s not unreasonable to think that many adults genuinely don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to the intricacies of sexuality.  This would explain a serious vacuum that’s exponentially amplified when it comes to competently teaching all of the ins and outs to a younger generation or being fully capable of participating in a process for devising a cohesive system to address it all.  The good news, however, is that this is America–and whenever a serious vacuum exists, you can bet your buns that capitalism will find and fill it.  Hence, the rise of what we will hereafter call, “The celebrity sexpert.”

The notion of a sexuality expert with widespread appeal isn’t necessarily new, but its acceptance has taken quite a while to pick up steam and grow.  To put it in perspective, the Jackie Robinson of celebrity sexperts was Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  While the infancy of uninhibited and straightforward sex education for adults was marked by mostly sterile and clinical approaches, “Doctor Ruth” became a bona fide rock star by racing upstream against all currents and relating to people on their own terms.  Her pint-sized stature and ethnic, motherly demeanor (“Don’t be afrrrrrraid of ze PEE-nissss!”) probably afforded her more than a few free-passes when it came to potential opposition (after all, who in their right mind is going to beat up on a little old lady, right?), but it was her solid expertise and sincere compassion that solidified her as a significant resource in adult sex education.  She was a tough act to follow–and for a while, few did.  Replicating her unique appeal was almost impossible, but her success did open the door for a new generation of shtick-savvy subject matter experts.  It also illuminated a significant need along with the opportunity to turn the tide favorably.

At this stage, most blend in rather than lead from the point, but the number of modern celebrity sexperts is now growing steadily and a broad, solid foundation is emerging when it comes to quality adult sex education.  It’s a key trend that needs to be encouraged, embraced, supported and nurtured.  A positive surge in developing better understanding and tearing down outdated and ridiculous stigmas will increasingly influence adult attitudes until the tipping point is reached–finally benefiting our younger generations and those to come.

Rather than feed out what’s likely to be an incomplete list of current or rising celebrity sexperts, we’d like to hear from you.  Who do you think is the rising star in adult sex ed and what do you think makes them a leader in the field?  Let us know!

References:  (1)  (2)

Yes, Virginia, Healthy Sex Does Make for a Healthy Life

(8/5/13)  We are saddened to note the passing of an American icon: Pioneering sex therapist, Virginia Johnson, who died last week at the age of 88.  Along with her husband, William Masters, she was a maverick in creating the science of sex therapy; an achievement that’s particularly noteworthy because it began during a time when even the mere mention of “sex” was considered an inexcusable social faux-pas and subject to extreme censorship.

Starting in the mid-1950s when few sex-positive resources existed, the team of Masters and Johnson embarked on a mission to bring sexual health into the light.  Against the odds and in the face of tremendous scrutiny, they not only succeeded in breaking through the social stigmas of the time, but also in creating effective strategies and treatments for a wide range of sexual dysfunctions.  Their groundbreaking work inspired the countless subsequent studies and therapies that seem so ubiquitous today.  They were also among the first to scientifically conclude that having a healthy sex life has a direct impact on improving health overall.

It’s hard to say precisely where their initial clinical connection regarding overall health was asserted, but their 1964 book, Human Sexual Response made one of the first publicly compelling cases and set the foundation for many later projects that have confirmed and built on their findings.  The book was instrumental in laying out how a healthy sex life could physiologically influence a wide range of quality of life aspects including everything from living longer to reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.  In particular, Virginia Johnson’s observations were credited towards the finding that sex can relieve headaches through stress reduction, pain-inhibiting hormone production and improved circulation.  That may seem like a simple and natural conclusion to draw nowadays, but at the time, there was actually very little empirical evidence available to back up the claim.  Masters and Johnson had to develop it all from scratch–and they had to do it while often contradicting the prevailing (albeit goofy) notions and misinformation of the age.

Yes, we’re saddened by her passing, but happy to praise her life, her work and her long term commitment to improving the lives of countless people.  Please join us in celebrating a true hero:  Virginia Johnson.  Rest in peace.

(Incidentally, the next time you get, “Not tonight dear, I have a headache,” you can now confidently smile and playfully reply, “Well, according to Virginia Johnson,  sex cures headaches, soooo….”  It may not immediately improve your partner’s mood, but it’s sure to earn you a few snuggle points and perhaps make them think twice before offering that excuse next time.)

Building a First Toy Box

(7/15/13)  If someone is convinced that their sex-life is so utterly magnificent that they genuinely have no use for adult toys in any form, we think that’s absolutely wonderful and wish them nothing but continued happiness.  However, does that really sound like it would be the case with most of the people you know?  Probably not.

While various forms of sex toys for both men and women have been around for hundreds of years, for some reason discussing them–or their uses–may still come with some negative connotations.  As a result, there’s a lot of misinformation which causes unnecessary confusion.  Rather than spending all day identifying (and then assassinating) these silly stigmas, let’s just blow past all of that and presume that toys are supposed to be fun–and fun is good.  (In other words, if we can hang up the hang-ups, this will go much more easily.)

While the reasons in favor of incorporating toys into your sexcapades are as varied as the reasons for enjoying sex itself, orgasm assistance/enhancement is clearly among the top motives.  As a common example, many women find that using a certain type of vibrator is the easiest and, in some cases, the only way they can routinely orgasm.  Even if it’s not the case for you personally, the chances of having a satisfying orgasm greatly increase by incorporating sex toys.  If nothing else, the general imbalance between men and women regarding how much stimulation is needed to reach orgasm through intercourse can be significantly equalized by including an appropriate vibrator.

So, where do you start when putting together your first mix of goodies?  With so many products on market, the choices can easily be overwhelming.  To help get you going, we’ve put together a concise range of products in the Fallen Angel Collection, so check it out to spark some ideas.  We recommend starting with the basics, generally considering where/when you might use a particular item and whether it will be more convenient for it to be a battery operated device versus a plug-in.  There are advantages and disadvantages either way, so just think about likely scenarios and plan accordingly.  Also give some thought to where you’ll be storing your playthings in order to ensure your most private moments remain that way.

A basic toy assortment doesn’t need to break the bank, but quality should be an important factor in your product choices, particularly in terms of materials, craftsmanship and ease of cleaning/maintenance.  And while function tends to trump form for most items, we’re talking about very personal items, so design and appearance may indeed be important considerations for you.  That said, if expense is a concern, then just start with about three simple items that meet your personal priorities and preferences.  Generally, a vibrator, some health-safe lubricant and a “multi-purpose” item are good places to start.  Addressing this in a round of  He Said–She Said:

Luc says,  “If I could only have three items in my toy box, it would be a Trojan vibrating ring, a jar of raw coconut oil and a silk scarf.  The Trojan ring is, in my opinion, the best vibe ever.  Coconut oil tastes great, works beautifully for massaging and performs well as a sex lube.  A silk scarf is a versatile fetish tool such as for blindfolding, tying hands, use as a slave collar and even for whipping naughty butts softly.  On the lighter side, if I had a really large toy box, I think I’d get a sybian vibrator, a dozen red long stem roses and a Ferrari 458–all guaranteed to get a woman off.”

Alexandra says,  “I think a Power Bullet is a must-have vibrator.  It’s compact, easy to use almost anywhere and has plenty of get up and go to get you off.  I’m also a big fan of glycerin-free lubricants because they work well for different uses, so that would be a good choice.  Finally, if I could only have three items, I’d pick something that could be intimately shared, like a restraint kit.  Nothing says I love you like, ‘Stay put–I want to tease you for a while’ if you know what I mean.”

Join the conversation!  We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about putting together a first toy assortment as well, so please comment below.  If you have questions or concerns that you may be uncomfortable with posting publicly, feel free to contact either of us by email using the links above or at