Sex Made Easy: Your Bedside Guide to 100 Sex Problems, Questions, & Crises
There is no such thing as a typical day of work for me at least, not since I began working as a sex researcher, educator, and columnist at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion and the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Most days, I’m busy designing sex research studies (on topics such as women’s orgasm, lubricant use, condom use, or sexual desire), analyzing data, writing research papers, grading students exams or papers, writing sex columns, answering sex questions from journalists or television producers, or answering emails from students and colleagues. In my work as a sex columnist, I also read and answer emails from people who have questions about sex. Each month, I head into a recording studio on campus to tape a new batch of Kinsey Confidential audio podcasts. Occasionally, I’m sent products such as sex toys, lubricants, condoms, or arousal creams and am asked to provide input on their design, safety, or package instructions. With bookshelves lined with vulva puppets, vaginal dilators, sex toys, and books about sex, orgasm, and female ejaculation, it’s not your normal office and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Then there are days like a recent Friday, when a young woman made an appointment to ask for suggestions about how to overcome the pain she experienced every time she tried to have sex. The week before, a man called to ask about his erection difficulties. I think, too, of the married couple who were feeling distressed and, I think, a little sad about the wife’s difficulty experiencing orgasm during intercourse. And it’s a common occurrence for a student to stay after class to ask how to find the G Spot, whether it’s normal to experience orgasms while doing sit-ups, or how to overcome premature ejaculation. Like I said, for me, there is no such thing as a typical day at work.
Women’s and men’s sex questions follow me everywhere and I welcome them. It was my grandmother who, several years before she died, best communicated to me how important it is to teach people about sex, bodies, and reproduction. At the time, I was twenty-three and had only recently started work at the Kinsey Institute. Knowing that she was quite religious and traditional, it took courage for me to tell her that I had started working at a place known for its pioneering research into human sexuality. Yet I didn’t want to hide my job from her. When I finally took a deep breath and told her about my new job, she told me she thought it was important work and proceeded to tell me a story I had never heard before.
My grandmother told me that when she was pregnant with my mother, she didn’t know how babies were delivered until she got to the hospital and was already going into labor. She had gone through her entire pregnancy assuming that her baby would eventually come out of her stomach because no one not her girlfriends, sisters, or doctor (her mother had died when she was a teenager had told her otherwise. No one had mentioned anything about her baby being delivered through her vagina until the baby was ready to come out. Can you imagine the surprise, shock, and confusion that would cause? Because of that experience, my grandmother felt it was important that women and men be educated about their bodies and sexuality, and she was proud that I had accepted a research position at the Kinsey Institute, a place that had been central in opening up conversation and research about human sexuality. So here I am today, learning about sex and trying to make sure that rather than keep the information to myself, I share it with the world.
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