It is a well-known fact that Sex Education in schools is, overall, inadequate.

Both despite this and because of it, there is an enormous amount of shame, stigma, fear and judgment for most people around the subject of sex.

When I think back to my childhood, I cannot recall any sex education in primary school. The sex education in schools back then was strictly for secondary school and was exclusively focused on reproduction. The sex education resources were books and maybe a video or two at best.

I never heard the word pleasure uttered once.

Nothing was said about gender identity or status, sexuality, attraction or the different relationship styles. LGBT was not an acronym that I knew back then.

As for masturbation, that was at best discouraged and usually one for the boys.

The unspoken message I received was that the things I thought about, and the things I wanted to know more about and do were wrong.

For many, the sex education they receive is via conversations and experiences with others and watching porn.

It seems very much like the uninformed informing the uninformed, and as for porn, it is often lacking real life information, intimacy, verbal consent, boundaries or healthy role-models.

Generations of stigma and loneliness

This lack of sex education in schools means we have generation upon generation who are learning the hard way if at all. Many of my clients are adults in the forties, fifties and beyond, who are wanting to discover their sexual selves before it is too late.

The majority of adults do not, or cannot, talk to their friends, families or partners about sex. It certainly isn’t talked about in a healthy way in any religious capacity and I am yet to see any work lunch and learns relating to sex. Have you?

I know that we must talk about this more openly and engage each other in conversation to counteract the loneliness and the lack of intimacy and connection prevailing our society. Whether it is through individual sessions, couples coaching, a small group of friends or a scheduled workshop, those steps can make a big difference to well-being.

Sex Education Role Models

As adults, those of us who want to work in this area are often targeting for gossip, deemed as living ‘alternative lifestyles’, shamed for wanting to talk openly about the secret stuff and regarded as less than. It goes with the territory.

I struggle to think of any mainstream role model who is openly talking about sex and is celebrated and championed for it. Can you?

I have a memory in the 80s or 90s of tales of Sting, the lead singer of The Police, being the focus of tantric sex, and the tirade of jokes and newspaper stories that followed that reveal.

Part of my work as a sex educator is to unpick the stories and experiences from school and beyond. To nurture the parts that have been hidden due to shame, stigma, judgement, bullying and abuse.

Empowerment comes from understanding our bodies and allowing our sexuality to be seen and expressed.

Sex Education Resources

For adults who want to learn about their bodies there is a fear or having to get naked in order to learn about their bodies or having to agree to being touched.

I use anatomically correct vulva cushions and soft cocks to encourage engagement with this part of our bodies in a fun and interactive way.  I can show images of bodies, including genitals, to reframe the images we have about what is acceptable.

Through embodied coaching I encourage movement, breath and self-touch to soothe, stimulate, nourish and excite.

Sometimes I wish I could take a photo of the people I work with before a session and after a session. The relief is palpable, and their bodies and faces are visibly different. More open, more relaxed, more seen.

Sex Education in Schools

Progress is being made in schools and on 5th April 2019, the government published a news article introducing compulsory Relationships Education for primary pupils and Relationship and Sex Education for secondary pupils. You can read more about it here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education-faqs

The target dates to start this new approach are September 2019 for early adopters and September 2020 for the remaining schools. I wonder who will be training the teachers. Will they be bringing their own legacy of mis-information and their own lack of sex education with them to the classrooms? I hope not and I am looking for ways to be involved in this essential change.

How can I help you?

Do you, your partner, your friends, your work colleagues, your community, dare I say it, your family, want to know more about real sex education?

I am based in Central London and offering sessions and programmes for individuals, partnerships and groups.

My question to Corporate colleagueswill you be the first to bring Lunch & Learn Sex Education sessions to your business?

Programmes include Sex Ed on Tour, which is a clothes-on experience, open to all genders, all sexualities and all identities. I come to your location whether it be office, public venue or home, suitcase in hand, packed full of materials to give a playful, information and personalised experience.

Can you help me?

I am passionate about this work and I know it is transformational. To do it well I need to keep learning, researching and having supervision. It doesn’t pay anywhere near what I used to earn in the city as a business consultant. It is the less trodden path.

I would love to find a way to work part time in the city and continue this path of finding workable solutions to empower and educate people. I am open to ideas and opportunities. My work bio can seen here https://www.linkedin.com/in/suesutherland/

I am volunteering as a Diversity Role Model to aid education for schools. You can read more about how to support it here https://www.diversityrolemodels.org/

I’ve enrolled in a year-long Foundation Certificate in Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversity Therapy and am trying to raise funds to pay for it. Any contribution would be gratefully received. Even £5 will make a difference. https://www.gofundme.com/help-to-raise-fees-for-year-long-course-on-gdsr

Feedback and conversation

I welcome feedback on any of the above as well as opportunities to work together. Please get in touch with me via sue@thefeelinstitute.com to continue this conversation.