What’s in a name?

In the last few weeks, as I have been telling my friends about my new blog, I have had quite a few responses regarding the length of my site’s title, fearlesssexualityeducator.  I will admit, it is pretty long, however, I saw no way around it- and I will tell you why.

Fearless.  This word characterizes my own personality, my own outlook on life, and my approach to learning environments.  I believe that going through life being afraid of what might happen will limit our experiences exponentially.  I certainly have my own fears…for example heights make me very queasy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t muster the courage to look over the edge!  However there are plenty of educational agendas (either in the classroom, among peers, or through the media), that try to scare people out of doing things.  Alternatively, I seek, as an educator, to encourage critical thinking about  topics that could be scary, so that when faced with a scenario that involves risk, individuals are better prepared.  I hope that none of my participants ever leave a program feeling afraid of sexuality; in fact, I hope that they will feel more comfortable and at ease with the topic, which is pretty much the opposite of fear!

Sexuality.  This is the topic on which I have become an expert (or I am striving to become).  Every professional in this field has thought long and hard about this word.  When describing the work that I do, I am extremely intentional about using the full word, sexuality.  If I chop off the ‘uality’, it just leaves ‘sex’, which is merely an action.  If I’m just educating about actions, there isn’t really that much to talk about! But when you consider ‘sexuality’ as a whole, it encompasses much more than actions, but also concepts such as attraction, identity, intimacy, relationships, anatomy, reproduction and sexual health.  While it may be more concise and convenient to just say ‘sex’, what I’m talking about is much more than that!

from teachingsexualhealth.ca

Educator.  This is the role that I have adopted in order to help people learn about, and become more comfortable with the topic in which I have become expert-like.  For me, being an educator comes hand in hand with being a facilitator.  I utilize discussion and interaction in all of the learning environments I lead, because I believe that much of ‘learning’ about sexuality is about self-reflection and discovery.  I struggle to describe myself as a teacher, in part because of the myriad of negative connotations with the term that date back to horrible grade school math teachers, and also because I rarely find myself in conventional school settings.  So I find that the term educator applies well to my skills and approach.

And there you have it.  I felt I couldn’t really compromise on any of those terms, because they all make up an important part of what this is all about.  And what’s so bad about a long name?  Made you think about it, at least. 🙂

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