Certified sex educator, Gigi Engle, teamed up with Vivastreet to answer your questions on sex work and sex education. From how sex workers can educate their clients on sexual health to key topics to cover, Gigi shares it all.
Want to know Gigi’s opinion on sex education and its benefits? Read the previous Q&A here.
How can sex workers educate their clients on sexual health and well-being?
Firstly, I think it’s important to note that it isn’t necessarily a sex worker’s job to educate a client on sexual health and well-being unless this is something they offer and are paid to provide as part of their service. A sex worker isn’t responsible for making sure their clients are informed about sexual health, it’s the client’s responsibility to do their own research – and we have a great article all about that on our blog.
With that being said, if you are a sex worker who is interested in educating a client on sexual health and well-being, go for it! A comprehensive sex ed skillset is essential for sex workers.
Why should sex workers be clear and confident with sex for their clients:
- Safer sex
- Use of contraceptives
- Negotiating and communicating boundaries
- Cultivating a professional atmosphere
- Enhanced sex pleasure
It can be really impactful for a client to understand the basics of sex ed. This can help a sex worker build a stronger professional reputation in the community and foster closer relationships with clients. Because this is a sexual service, it’s important for the client to understand comprehensive sex education to ensure that everyone is taking health precautions and no one is crossing anyone else’s boundaries.
Sex education is important because it helps you make good sexual health choices – such as STI prevention, negotiating boundaries, and understanding consent. These are vital skills to have when you’re engaging in all forms of sexual activity to ensure you’re having the most pleasant and safe experiences possible.
When clients are versed in sex ed, there can be more pleasure had by one and all.
What are some key topics we should focus on when it comes to sex ed?
Sex ed topics range widely – all of which are very important and deserve decisive attention: pleasure-based sex ed, sexual health and safety, anatomy, queer sex, and masturbation.
Pleasure-based sex ed
This is the foundation of good, comprehensive sex education: One that centers on pleasure. This is where sexuality education focuses not only on the risks of sex (such as STIs and pregnancy) but on the joys of sex. It actually teaches people that sex is normal, fun, and can be enjoyed by consenting adults. It is the opposite of shame-based sex ed/abstinence-only sex ed.
Sexual health and safety
Sexual health and safety are incredibly important to comprehensive sex education. Just because sex ed is pleasure-based, doesn’t mean we forgo discussing the risks. Education around safer sex practices, contraception, consent, boundaries, and communication are all essential to having sexually healthy experiences.
Learning about your anatomy is crucial to feeling connected to your body. Sex ed currently focuses entirely on penises and vaginas – leaving the clitoris high and dry (literally). We need to fully educate people about their bodies so they can make better sexual health and wellness decisions.
Sex ed is currently so cis-heteronormative it makes my head spin. We only ever focus on penis-in-vagina intercourse, completely forgetting that this is not how the vast majority of queer people have sex. When we ignore queer sex, we leave out a huge chunk of the population. This leaves queer people in the lurch. It sends the message that queer sex is somehow “less-than” heterosexual sex. It sends an implicit (and sometimes even explicit, depending on where you’re getting your sex ed) message that queer sex is shameful and wrong. Education around sexual diversity is crucial to effective comprehensive sex ed so that people can have the full picture, with all the information.
Masturbation is a normal and healthy form of sexual expression. It is also the safest sex that anyone can have. You’re at absolutely zero risk for STIs, pregnancy, etc. It deserves to be highlighted as something completely fine to do. I’m not saying let’s go teach kids to masturbate. I’m talking about expressing that this is a completely OK thing to do and you’re not shameful, wrong, or broken for engaging with it. Giving young people information is how we equip them to make better sexual health choices.
About Gigi Engle
Gigi Engle, ACS, CSE, CSC, is an award-winning feminist author, certified sex coach, sexologist, and sex educator. As a brand expert with Lifestyle Condoms, she promotes and teaches about pleasure-based sex education, masturbation, and safer sex practices. Gigi’s work regularly appears in many publications including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, Glamour and Women’s Health. Her articles have been shared over 50 million times, with her top posts reaching over 150 million shares. In 2019, Gigi was named Journalist of The Year at the Sexual Freedom Awards. Her book, All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life, is available wherever books are sold.