I love talking about sex!
In fact, back in 2002, an acquaintance noticed my love of discussing sex, sexuality and sexual health and said, “You should go study sex.” My first thought was, “You can study sex?!” That was ironic considering I did my undergraduate at Indiana University, home of the famed Kinsey Institute, which is known for its human sexuality research. So sure enough, you can study sex and there's even a whole organization dedicated to it, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
I soon found myself in a master's program for human sexuality studies in San Francisco. During my studies, I also continued my love of talking about sex by teaching undergraduate classes in human sexuality. And thus began my career as a sex educator (though I apparently had been doing it since I was a teenager).
Seven years after that fateful passing comment, I emerged with a PhD and became an active member of that society dedicated to my passion. To say the least, I love my job.
Christopher M. Fisher is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health at UNMC and Director of the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative. His research focuses on sexual literacy, HIV prevention and care, and the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. He will blog monthly.
Through my experiences as an educator and researcher in the field, I have come to believe that we all should be talking about sex. And in one way or another we all are. But are the conversations we are having, and not having, the kind that promote the sexual health and well-being of ourselves, our partners, our friends and neighbors, our family members and the future sexual health of our children?
Conversations about sex are happening all the time. We talk about sex in the news, on TV and in movies, on the radio (remember the Donna Summer song?), in the locker room, in the halls of schools, over lunch, and even (hopefully) in the bedroom (or wherever you might engage in the actual behaviors). Yet, experts suggest that while we seem to “talk” about sex more and more as a society, the conversations are becoming less and less meaningful and increasingly not based on scientifically and medically accurate information.
So why should we as Nebraskans care? One look at reports from the Douglas County Health Department should answer that question – we are into our second decade of having a persistent sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemic. Unwanted and teen pregnancies persist. And as my band instructor in high school used to say, you can play that instrument better (usually followed by practice, practice, practice – not bad advice).
We know from research that having honest, factually based, non-judgmental conversations about sex with our kids (age appropriate of course), with our partners, with our doctors, and those close to us can lead to better sex, safer sex, and a better understanding of ourselves and the relationships we are (or will be) in.
So Nebraska, let's have a conversation about sex! As a trained educator and sex researcher, I promise to be honest, stick to the scientifically and medically accurate information, and maintain a non-judgmental attitude. And once a month, via this blog, we'll dive into conversations you want to have about sex (HINT: send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here's to your good sexual health! And Happy New Year!