Sexologists Joni Frater and Esther Lastique are my kind of women – intelligent, attractive and entertaining as hell. If you were lucky enough to attend Sex Ed Boot Camp Monday night, you know what I mean. I sat down for a one-on-one with Frater Monday afternoon. This is what she had to say:
How does one become a sexologist? What sort of training is involved?
The training that we chose to take is a school in California called the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. You must have a bachelor’s degree first, and then you can take varying levels of sexology degrees, anywhere from being a health educator all the way up to having a Ph.D in sexology. We’d already taken psychology and sociology courses, so we had that background. I do suggest that you have that background to do sexology.
What made you want to create a program like Sex Ed Bootcamp?
We found out that young people were not being given any information on sexual health in many states because of abstinence-only before marriage education. Before college, students were not allowed to talk about anything other than “just say no,” and as a result of that, the STD rates started going crazy, and as a prior dentist, that affected me tremendously. There are other people doing what we do, but we do it our own way with our own spin because we want accurate information. We give a tremendous amount of information, and that’s why it’s called Boot Camp. We have to catch people up really fast because we know that there are up to 75 percent of sexually active students on a college campus, which means they’re sexually active without information on how to protect themselves against diseases that can hurt and kill them. And the 25 percent that are abstinent need to know what a relationship means. It’s not all about sex, although sex has a lot to do with it.
Is there an appropriate age for people to start learning about sex?
I think people should start learning about sex as children – the basics of appropriate touch versus inappropriate touch, who can touch you where and how, learning the words of your own anatomy. Then start to talk about sexual acts as early as 10 years old because by 10 and 11, their hormones are there, and young women are getting their periods at 11. So you need to be having that talk early.
What’s the most frequently-asked question you get?
The two most common topics of conversation are about oral sex, and inevitably, if you can pardon my vernacular, to swallow or spit, especially with oral sex on a male. And then we also get a lot of questions about female ejaculation, G-spots, and a lot of questions about anal sex.
Are there any taboo subjects you won’t discuss?
No. We pride ourselves in having no taboos. Once in a great while, there’s topics that we choose to not go in to in great depths because we don’t have the time to give it it’s due, and that’s really the only way we won’t go into something.
There’s a societal belief, especially in states like Kansas, that sex should be kept behind closed doors and not discussed in frank terms. Why is that?
There’s a whole complex situation going on, and we could get into a religious and political debate on this, but there’s kind of a war on sexuality. It’s really unfortunate because what we’re doing is a total disservice to the young people in our country by not giving them any information. We think that you’re going to figure it out on your own or get it through osmosis – it doesn’t work like that. We have to be as open and honest and blunt as possible and give you everything we think you need to know to get you started. Take what you need and leave the rest.
How can students protect themselves emotionally in a hook-up culture?
It’s really hard because people do have emotions, and you can’t help them; you can’t stop them. If you interview the person you’re going to be with a little bit and figure out where they’re coming from and if they’re in the hook-up culture and if that’s where they want to stay, then you can kind of prepare yourself. The hook-up culture is exactly what it is, and we’re not saying that it’s a bad thing or a good thing. People should have different experiences before they settle down with somebody just so that you know what you like and don’t like, what turns you on and turns you off, and sometimes experimenting with different people helps you along that path. Then there’s people who want to be in love with someone before they share their body, and that’s great, too. You should still have that pre-sex talk to make sure they’re on the same page as you.
What’s the secret to becoming a great lover?
Pay attention. Ask a lot of questions. Watch their body language, and watch the look on their face. Ask, “Does this feel good? Does this feel better when I do this, or when I do this?” Sex isn’t just a one-way street; it’s kind of hills and valleys. You need to constantly check in and say, “What can I do to make you feel better? What will work for you tonight? What will turn you on? What can I do to you? Your body’s my temple.” There are lots of ways that you can entice someone to come forward and let you know what they need and what they want so that it becomes a mutually satisfying experience.
What’s the most common misconception college students have about sex?
They think, “We’re not going to get diseases because we’re better than that. We’re clean, we’re good, we’re in beautiful Kansas where things like that don’t happen to us,” and that’s not true. STDs don’t care where you’re from, they don’t care what color you are, how much money you make or what your education is. It’s just looking for a warm body to grow in. Also, the withdrawal method does not work. There is semen in pre-cum, so this is the reason why we constantly scream, “Condoms, condoms, condoms,” because there are no methods other than a physical barrier that will keep someone from becoming pregnant and/or getting an STD.
Can you sum up the most important thing that students need to know?
The most important thing students need to know is how to protect themselves for every situation and to be empowered about their own body so that they can say “no” at any point, even if they’re in the middle of an act. If something isn’t feeling right, or the hair starts to stand up on the back of your neck, you have every right to stop and say, “No. I’m done.” And that power is huge. We have to empower people to say, “This feels good. That doesn’t, and I don’t want to do that again.” So, the power of “yes” and “no” is really the most important lesson people need to know and how to protect yourself.