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August 19, 2021

The Business of Sex: How To Become A Sexologist

SEX WIITH DR JESS PODCAST Episode 227 (1)

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This week, we flip the scripts and our intern, Maggie Lee, interviews Jess about her journey into the field of sexuality. They talk education, equity, the business of sex and Jess shares her insights for the next generation of sexuality professionals.

Womanizer and We-Vibe is having a sale! Use code DRJESS to save a few extra from products such as the Starlet to the Wish.

And do check out the latest book by Jess and Marla Stewart, “The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay,” right here. Ultimate Guide to Foreplay & Seduction Book Banner

If you’ve got questions for the podcast, submit them here. As well, you can now record your messages for us! Please record your message/question in a quiet room and use your phone’s headphones with built-in mic if possible.

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

EPISODE 1

Welcome to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast. This week, we’re doing something a little different. Our lovely intern Maggie, who is studying Sexuality at Concordia University, is doing a series of interviews on working in the field of sexuality and I was her first interviewee, so we’re going to share that conversation with you.

Before we dive into that, I want to shout out the Womanizer & We-Vibe sales. We-vibe has my favourite toy, The Touch on sale as well as a number of others like the Wish, and the Tango at We-Vibe.com and Womanizer also has a few products on sale including the Starlet, which is under $50 at Womanizer.com – please use code DRJESS to save a few extra $ and to let them know that you heard about them here. I told you last week about all the positive feedback I’ve been receiving regarding the Womanizer Starlet from online messages to people stopping me in the airport, so do check it out at Womanizer.com

Alright, without further ado, let’s get to our interview. In this conversation, I talk about my personal journey into the sexuality field, the challenges, the rewards, how I carved my path, what I’ve learned and what I foresee for the future. Check it out. Here’s Maggie taking over the mic…

Maggie:

The first person I’m going to be interviewing is Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, otherwise known as Dr. Jess. She’s a sexpert, a media personality, the host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, she’s an author and educator, amongst other things. So Hi, Dr. Jess, thanks for chatting with me today. How are you?

Dr. Jess:

Great. Thanks for having me, happy to be chatting.

Maggie:

Happy to have you. So because we’re talking about careers, I’m going to start with, what is it that you actually do for a living? Could you please describe your professional work in the sexuality field?

Dr. Jess:

Absolutely. So I’m a speaker and an educator. So I work with groups, primarily adults, and primarily couples, who want to work on their relationships, want to enhance their sex lives, want to improve their communication skills, their intimacy, their connection. And my work really entails traveling to host a range of different workshops. So I’m not really seeing people one on one, it’s all group work. Sometimes it’s what we call a brief intervention, or I guess they’re all fairly brief interventions for hours, maybe a couple of days, and we work through the group process. So that’s what the bulk of my work entails. And then I support that work, and I suppose promote that work via the media side. So I host a television show. I have, of course my podcast, the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, I write for publications, and I contribute to mainstream media publications on a daily basis.

Maggie:

That’s so interesting. Thank you for that. So for those who are maybe interested in a career that is similar to yours, could you please go over your educational background, the experience that you’ve had, maybe the steps that you took to get to where you are in your career today?

Dr. Jess:

Absolutely. So definitely everyone’s educational path can be self determined. So I just really want to note that my path is only one path, because there are plenty of folks who don’t study formally, and still are brilliant in this field and do really important work and are just as qualified and just as learned and knowledgeable, but maybe don’t have access to, you know, academia. So I did my undergrad in sexual diversity studies at the University of Toronto, I think I was in their first year of graduating class. In fact, I took an extra year so that I could get a major in sexual diversity studies. And then I became a high school teacher. So I was teaching, and that’s really what led me into this field. So I was teaching at Contact Alternative, which is a school downtown Toronto, with the Toronto District School Board. My students were 16 to 21. They were definitely folks from marginalized backgrounds. So many of them were mandated to be at school by probation, many of them were already living on their own on student welfare at 16. So they, you know, were facing a unique set of challenges. And every single day probably, without exception, they were coming to me with questions about relationships and sex and challenges they were facing, whether it was an unplanned pregnancy, or you know, sexual harassment, or sexual assault, or where to get birth control or where to find the morning after pill. And so I realized that as teachers, we’re just really not equipped to support our students. And that was you know, I had an undergrad in sexual diversities, I was actually the co-executive director of the sexual health education and peer counselling centre at the University of Toronto.

So I even had a background, and I still didn’t have the tools, the training, the resources I needed to support these young folks. And you know, interestingly, looking back, I was very, very young, right, like, I was only five or six years older than many of them. So in the adult world, that’s no difference at all, of course, you know, when you’re a teenager that feels like a world of difference. And so I went back and I did doctoral work in human sexuality. My research focused on training teachers, to provide them with the knowledge and increase their comfort level with a range of topics, and specifically three topics that were identified as top priorities for students in Toronto. So I drew from the Toronto teen survey, and they identified healthy relationships, HIV/AIDS and sexual pleasure as top priorities. So my goal was to train teachers, so that they had more knowledge of these three topics, and more comfort level, a greater comfort level teaching or facilitating conversations really around these topics.

And so that’s kind of the educational background, I come from a teaching background, but that’s only one way to do it. You could absolutely study counselling, you could study therapy, you could study nursing, you could study social work, you could study you know, medicine, you can study restorative justice, there are many different fields of study that could lead you into this work. So really, what I wanted to do when I graduated, was work with the school board’s or the Ministry of Education. And so I started sending out emails, you know, I had done this doctoral work, and they all just closed the doors on me and said, “yeah, we don’t need your kind here.” So I had to go into, you know more, I guess the private industry, and I started speaking, working with AID service organizations, working with community agencies. I did a little bit of everything. You know, I wrote for an American website that is no longer in existence, but it was called Carnal Nation. I had to pump out 10 articles a week, seven to 10 articles a week, for $100 total. So about 10 bucks an article, you know, every single day, but I got really fast at writing. And that very quickly, because I was producing so much content, led to a request to write a book. And so I think within my first year of graduating, I ended up writing a book. And then since then I’ve written for others. The latest is called “The Ultimate Guide to Seduction and Foreplay”, co authored by my fabulous writing partner, Marla Renae, Stewart.

So I started writing, I started speaking, I ended up getting a reality TV show on playboy TV down in the States, about swingers. And so you know, as I go through these steps, it’s not formulaic, it wasn’t intentional, I was very, very lucky, I have a lot of privilege in terms of, you know, access to the media, looking the way I do. I’m a mixed race person who often is perceived as white, you know, I’m skinny and young. And so I had all these advantages that allowed me to access media. And then I also really understand the way media works and the way PR works. So the story, it’s a little bit of a long story. But I started writing, speaking, doing television, and it allowed me to grow this business into what it is today, which is ultimately a speaking and a content business. And there’s no specific way to do it. The one piece of advice I remember receiving in the beginning from my cousin, who is not in this field, but is in quick service restaurants, down in Jamaica. He said “start your blog, just write, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write write every day, because that blog will become your book someday.” And he was absolutely right. So I started just putting myself out there. And of course, this was 11 years ago, this was 2010. So writing was more the medium back then. So now if folks wanted to create content, you’d probably want to write, you probably want to create some audio, you’d put it out on social, video of course is king and queen or you know, all genders of royalty, when it comes to what people want to consume. So if you are interested in following this route, in terms of maybe becoming a speaker, or you know, working with brands, I do have many sponsors, or working in media, the great thing today is that we have all these platforms that don’t require access to producers or editors, right? You can on your own, start a regular weekly Facebook Live, you can on your own create daily or bi weekly, or however you want to do it, TikTok or reels on Instagram.

So if you’re interested, and you have something to say, go ahead and put it out on your platforms, and people will start consuming and sharing. To get into media is definitely a different thing. I can say that at this point in my career, I mean, near the end of it, not near the end of my career, but maybe a slight wind down in the sexuality space, my goal is to support more people from various backgrounds who want to do this type of work. So my priority is supporting other folks who are queer, non binary, people of colour, and making sure that we’re doing deals with them. Not just you know, using their faces, and not just even hearing their voices, but also reflecting important perspectives that are rooted in anti oppression and also making sure they’re getting paid. Because people need to live. And so yeah, that’s that’s kind of where I’m at today. I don’t know, did that answer your question? It’s a long story.

Maggie:

It’s a long story, but it’s a good story. So thank you for answering that question with such depth because it’s interesting. And I think it’s important for people to know, especially people just entering the workforce, that their career or their professional goals can change over time. It’s it’s not fixed, and it’s not set. So my next question for you is, how did you learn the business and financial skills necessary? Because that’s not really something that’s taught in sexuality programs.

Dr. Jess:

So that is the thing that is probably most missing in this field. And I teach about that. So there’s a conference coming up called Sex Down South, it is every year in Atlanta, it is just the most incredible conference put on by Marla Renee Stewart and her business partner, Tia. And I teach about the business of sex. Similarly, at Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, I have a course on the business of sex and therapy more generally. I teach another course, on how to create a video course, because that’s another piece of my business. You know, I have a lot of different things we do within the business. And for me, how did I learn? That is more in my blood. Like we are all entrepreneurs, we’re Chinese-Jamaican. You know, my grandpa started a bakery from nothing. My auntie started a restaurant business, It’s 19 restaurants now and 900 employees. I don’t know, I think I picked it up more from my family and my parents than from anything formal. And so, listen, if you’re going to go into this field, and you have the opportunity to take any business credits, take those business credits, because if I could go back again, I probably would have studied more in the business field.

Maggie:

That’s so interesting. Thank you. And thanks for that advice. I think that’s a really important piece of information for students or potential students to consider. What made you want to work in the private sector specifically? You had mentioned that you had sent out a bunch of emails after you’re graduated and hadn’t gotten a lot of responses —

Dr. Jess:

Oh, I got responses, they told me to go away. The Toronto District School Board said, “we are a fact-based curriculum.” Like, well, I don’t know, I studied facts. So I mean, what’s a fact really? But we definitely studied evidence based, I think they meant “evidence based”, but I will never forget that they wrote, “fact-based.” I didn’t want to work in the private sector, honestly, it just happened. I work with two large organizations around the world that keep me very busy. So the reason, if folks know my work, I really do work all around the world, like I’ve done, you know, 20 city tours of India, all over East Asia, Europe, a little bit in South America, all over the states, all over Canada. And these two organizations are both rooted in, in business, they’re for business professionals, and I’m one of their resources. So they focus on obviously developing their business, but they’re also into self development. And, you know, relationships and family are a big part of that. So I didn’t mean to work in the private sector, I just kind of fell into it. And one of the advantages of working in the private sector for me, is that’s how we create the business, and that’s how I’ve monetized. But it means that I also have time to volunteer and support in the public sector. And so for example, if a school, a public school wants me to speak for them, I don’t need to try and negotiate a rate, because it’s supported by the fact that the private sector is paying me. So when the private sector tries to negotiate, I’m not so open to that. Because I want to make sure that I have the financial security within the business, to have the time and resources to go volunteer in schools and and communities.

Maggie:

And what would you say the most rewarding part of your job is right now?

Dr. Jess:

Well, it’s definitely when people are telling me I’m helping them, right? So oftentimes, you know, you have a workshop, and then somebody says, “oh, that really changed my perspective,” or, you know, in some cases, people say it’s changed their lives. One of the highlight moments for me, I was in Prague, and I had done a weekend long workshop. And this woman asked me to meet her the next day, because she wanted to give me something. And then we’re standing in the middle of this beautiful square, and she’s crying, and she’s probably in her 50s. And she’s saying she had her first orgasm, you know, in her 50s. And she gave me a honey jar, I remember that, a honey pot, which is really, really cute. And, you know, so obviously, when you help people. And then on a more recent note, last week on the podcast, we answered somebody’s question about their partner’s erections and how it was making them feel when they could get erect, when they couldn’t, and how it was affecting them as partner. And, you know, they sent me a note just saying, “thank you so much, I feel really reassured.” And so, you know, that’s really why we get into this field, so to hopefully make a positive difference. On a more selfish note, the best part of the job is the travel for me, like I love it. I live on adrenaline, I can fly six times a week, and I will not complain about it. I love airplanes. I love meeting new people. It suits my personality, to move in and out, where they’re not always long term relationships, sometimes they are but oftentimes, they’re these brief interventions. And I don’t know, it keeps life super exciting.

Maggie:

Yeah, no, for sure. And what would you say some of the challenges you faced in your career have been?

Dr. Jess:

Currently the biggest challenge for me, is as the brand grows and the social media following grows, so too do the negative comments, and you know, people getting angry at me or swearing at me or just you know, generally being critical. I’m too sensitive a person to be working in the public eye. I don’t even know how this happened, being in the public eye, because I don’t even love being on camera. like I work in television, but it’s not a thing that I crave at all. So definitely being in the public eye, and dealing with criticism, and taking things personally and having to moderate my own anxiety around that is a personal challenge. Some people are very good at it. They’re able to just ignore, or let it kind of run off their back. But for me, it’s definitely more of a challenge. I struggle personally with, you know, being a people pleaser. I struggle with wanting to be liked by everyone. And a lot of that goes back to my identity being mixed race and kind of not knowing where I fit in. So that is a challenge for me. Yeah, I mean, I think I forget that I’m talking about a subversive, highly personal, highly emotional, and for many people, triggering, topic, because I’m just so entrenched in it, but I realized that the slightest thing can set somebody off. You know, this week on Instagram, somebody was, many people were very mad about how fast my video was moving, right? Like they were swearing at me over how I need to slow down. And so I take those things personally, but it’s really on on me to learn to deal with those things. Because I can’t run from them.

Maggie:

Okay, so you’re talking about being in the public eye. So I did have some questions about that. As you mentioned, you know, you talk about a lot of personal and intimate and explicit things in your podcast and on your social media pages, and so you’d mentioned that you did get some, some comments about that. And what other sort of challenges do you face with talking about sexuality, so publicly you know, from like friends, family, or strangers even?

Dr. Jess:

Oh, that’s a great question. So when you speak about your life intimately, and when you’re in the public eye, and you know, I’m by no means like a massive celebrity or anything, it’s a very small kind of micro market here, people do feel that they know you, right? And so it’s this one directional relationship, where they know everything, or they feel they know everything about me, and I don’t know anything about them or who they are. So one of the challenges is obviously setting boundaries. Because, you know, if you do a good job, maybe you’re relatable, or you’re affecting people’s lives in a positive way, or you’re a regular part of their lives, as you know, I am for many podcast listeners. And so sometimes it can feel like we know each other intimately. And we don’t. 99.999999% of people don’t cross the line, but some people do. So for example, asking me personal questions about my sex life. Some people are doing it because they’re curious, and I understand. Other people are doing it to harass me, right? There’s one person on Instagram right now, you know, I posted about threesomes, they want to know, “have you had a threesome?” Well, if you listen to the podcast, you might find out. Or maybe I won’t tell you, right? Like, I don’t share everything. My partner, Brandon, my life partner, is the co host on the podcast, and we share a lot. But you’ll hear us pull back and say, “you know what, that’s not really for now, that’s not for everyone. That’s just for us.” So that’s a bit of a challenge.

I mean, it’s definitely more of a blessing than it is a curse, right? Like connecting with different people, having somewhat intimate relationships that blossom from sharing online, certainly, like I’ve built community and there are listeners and and I guess followers, or community members, who are now friends. And that is really cool. But it can be a challenge with those who either just want to harass you or objectify you. Or who expect a lot of you. Like, for example, I receive a lot of questions, right? I’m getting hundreds of questions every week, and I can’t answer them all. And most people understand and then some people are a little bit demanding. And this is not unique to me, everybody in my field will tell you that, you know, people want advice, or they want you to read their like, you know, five paragraph story and weigh in on it. And sometimes we can do that, right? Like sometimes somebody will message me a simple question. And I’m happy to try and find a resource for them, right? Or I’m happy to try and answer it on the podcast. Other cases are just more complex. And it’s not that we don’t want to help. But there’s so many layers, there are just so many layers to dig through. So that’s a bit of a challenge. With friends and family, you know, we don’t talk about it a lot. We don’t you know, nobody says, “hey, I heard that episode on the podcast where you and Brandon talked about this one experience. Tell me more about that.” That doesn’t really happen. When we share a little though, people will say “oh, I’m glad you shared that.” Like for example, we did an episode on what we fight about. And that was one where more people within my personal circle said “hey, that was really helpful because I’ve never seen you guys fight or you know, it doesn’t seem like you fight.” So, you know, there’s the upside and the downside.

Maggie:

Right. Yeah, of course. And specifically for your family, when you told them what your career choice was, how did that go? Was it awkward? Was it weird? Do you mind talking more about that?

Dr. Jess:

It was so long ago. I feel like it was a bit of an ease in, because I started volunteering at the sexual health centre at U of T, it was called the Sexual Health Education and Peer Counseling Center at the time. And I don’t think I said, “Hey, Mom, Dad, sister. I’m going to do this thing.” I think I just did it. And then they meet a friend, and they’re like, “oh, how did you know Devin?” “Oh well, Devin is the director of the sex ed centre where I’m volunteering.” And so there just weren’t a lot of questions asked. And then I found the sexual diversity program. And I don’t think my parents were very involved, like I lived on my own and I was financially independent when I was younger. So you know, they didn’t know about choosing a major. My mom’s also not from Canada, they’re older, like, I don’t know that they know how the — I know, some parents are very involved in their kids stuff. Like my cousin. My cousin’s are very involved in their kids University, and they know what they’re studying — I just didn’t have that type of relationship, because I was just kind of doing it more on my own. I actually shouldn’t say I was financially independent. I just lived on my own like I obviously had OSAP, which are Ontario loans. And so, yeah, my parents just didn’t really ask. And then, when I decided to pivot from being a teacher, to studying sexuality, and going back to school, I was 26. And I don’t know, I think that because my, many of my friends had volunteered with me, like I met them at the sex ed centre, it just was, it was a natural transition. It wasn’t weird. I don’t know what I told my parents like again, I don’t think they asked a lot of questions. I mean, listen, I think it was hard for my mom and my Auntie’s to even say the word “sexologist” before. But now like, my one Auntie loves to introduce “her niece, the sexologist, the sex doctor,” whatever she calls me. So I’ve watched them grow as well, in the process.

My father, so my dad lives with me, my dad lives with my partner and I, and he’s lived with us for almost 12 years now. And we are not on the same side of the fence when it comes to politics. I don’t know exactly what he thinks about my work. Like, we just don’t talk about it a lot, because I’m sure that some of my work would be at odds with his values. It’s my house. So we’re doing it. We’re broadcasting from here. We’re filming here, we’re you know, doing the podcast from home. So you know, he’ll ask me more about what I’m up to, what shows I’m on. I do know that they watch my segments sometimes, I’m sure they don’t watch all of the television segments, but I know that they watch them. So I guess the, you know, I’m asking myself this question, “are they supportive?” My mom is just supportive of everything. Like my mom is just the best, and my stepdad as well. And my dad is supportive in his own way, right? He’s not blocking me. So I should say that my mom is Chinese-Jamaican. So she already was bridging two cultures, like Hakka Chinese, plus Jamaican. So when she came to Canada, she was already adept, she already had that skill, right, bridging cultures. And one thing I think my mom did really beautifully, is pull the best from each of the cultures. And I don’t even know where one begins and the other ends. I don’t know if a tradition that we have is Chinese, or if it’s Jamaican, or if it’s Chinese-Jamaican in and of itself. Or if it’s Canadian, I don’t actually know. I’m Irish on the other side, and I can’t say I draw really anything from Irish culture, just because I wasn’t around that family as much. I don’t even know what it really entails. Like, I’ve never been to Ireland, my dad’s family live, you know, five hour flight away, so I never saw them. But I will say that, you know, my mom’s just supportive. And I do think that being, she’s not mixed race, but she’s mixed I guess ethnicity and nationality, really facilitated that, so that she’s so good at that and just being supportive. So I believe that no matter what I did, my mom would support me. And there’s going to be another career, like there’s going to be the next permutation of this, because I probably won’t do exactly this for the next 20 years or so. And I think she’ll be supportive of it, then.

Maggie:

That’s a really good story. So thanks for sharing that. I think it’s really interesting, you mentioned how your mom had already kind of bridged these two cultures, you know, Chinese and Jamaican. And that skill of adaptability that she had learned doing that was able to be applied to your career. I think that’s really interesting. And you know, someone’s job or career is something that they often want to be able to share with their parents because it is such a big part of our lives, right? And because of the cultural and social meanings we’ve given to sex, you know, it’s often viewed as a taboo. It’s weird. It can be awkward to talk about, especially with someone’s parents, no one really wants to do that. So thanks for sharing that story. Because it really shows that you know, even if you know, a parent isn’t completely involved in the career, they can definitely still be supportive. So how do you think that your identities or your intersectional identities have played into or affected your career? I know we were chatting a while ago, and you had mentioned that you were one of the only few Asian women within the sexuality field. So how do you feel that or maybe some of your other identities have affected your career?

Dr. Jess:

Well, they shape everything I do, right, and you’re just never moving away from your identity. So there are two sides to this. Let me talk about the, I think I mentioned it, the privilege first is that, you know, I’m light skinned, I’m mixed. I’m, they use the word “passing”, but I think the word is really “perceived,” white, some of the time. Or even just more, you know, in the context of white supremacy, more palatable, right? And so I’ve had that advantage. And I’m very aware of that advantage. I literally have had people, and I’m talking just last week, tell me that I tick boxes, right? Like, “oh, you well, you tick two boxes.” And sometimes you want to fight those, I mean, you always want to fight those things.

And sometimes you have the energy to stand up. And sometimes honestly, like even just saying it now, it deflates me, right? And so there’s that exhaustion piece, of straddling these two worlds. So on one hand, I’ve had many advantages, because I’m perceived white, or I’m considered like a person of colour that is “white adjacent.” Similarly, I’m queer, and I have a cis male partner, and I’m a cis female. So you know, I have a lot of advantages, I think one side of it. The other side is the emotional exhaustion, just from all of the comments, all of the micro aggressions, I don’t even like that word, because they’re so not micro in terms of their effect right? Really, it makes me, it’s a constant reminder that we have to keep fighting. Now, it’s a reminder of my responsibility, like I’m in a position in this field, where I have a good following. Financially, the business is doing well. So I have a responsibility to elevate other people, to support other people. If folks are listening, and they want support, I’m happy to try and offer support, especially to folks who don’t have the same advantages. My goal is to leave this field in a way, in a space where lots of other people from various backgrounds are at the top. So I’m trying to do that, in my partnerships, in the people I promote, in the folks that I work with. And so all of that comes from my identity, all of that comes from, you know, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and basically all of that.

Maggie:

I love that. And I think that anyone who actually follows along with your work can see that you’re doing a lot of that already, you know, bringing marginalized people to the forefront. I mean, you can see it in the guests you have on your podcast. Even you know in these podcasts, you talk almost every week, I mean, pretty much every week about social justice, you somehow tie it in to a social justice perspective. And I’ve heard you say it before, and you just mentioned it now as well, you know, that these identities that you have are obviously not just something that affects your career, but you know, every realm of your life. And even though it’s not your job, and it shouldn’t be your job — and you know, you mentioned it was exhausting, and it deflates you, which I think is such a powerful word, deflate — you still take it upon yourself, and take the privilege that you do have and bring everyone else up with you, which I think is great. So thank you so much for that work. I’m going to circle back from the social to the personal here. And I’m wondering what personality skills or traits that you have do you think really serve you in your career?

Dr. Jess:

Oh, it’s much easier to say what I don’t have. I don’t have a thick skin. I do have a mind for business and strategy and marketing. I’m a natural public speaker. Maybe I don’t sound like it from that last ramble. But you know, I love to be on a stage and I love a microphone. And you know, oftentimes when I speak, people aren’t expecting as much from me maybe, because I’m a little tiny, Asian lady. And then I get on stage and I’m less little, because I’m in my high heels. But there’s a power there, right? That’s another piece of my job I love, is the power. And making people laugh, right? And letting them learn in a way where they don’t even realize they’re learning, because they’re laughing. And so yeah, I think my public speaking skills are probably, you know, an asset, and those have developed over the years. But also some of that’s just ingrained right? I always say that, you know, Jamaicans we love a mic. Every, every story we tell, is a story. Every story has impact. It doesn’t have to be true to be good. It’s just like storytelling. Yeah, and interestingly, I don’t do that when I’m writing, like I have a personality on stage. I have no personality when I write, despite the fact that I’ve written these books, like I really have to work to not be boring when I write. So I think that’s, that’s one piece of it. I also have a lot of difficulty focusing. So I don’t like to sit still, I start a task to 10%, and then I walk away and do another task to 3%. And another task to 4% until, you know, the day is over. And of course, that creates unique challenges.

But it also, I think, serves as an asset, in that I can do many different things in very creative ways, and I find creative solutions. Similarly, for example, my schedule often entails multiple flights a week to multiple time zones, to multiple cities. And that works for me, I actually need that adrenaline hit, most people wouldn’t enjoy that. And that’s okay. And maybe being like a little bit neuro-atypical, and not producing dopamine and adrenaline in the same way from structure that other people do, has worked to my advantage. And you know, that was all fluke. It’s not like I knew “oh, you know what, I can’t sit still, I get bored easily, I have no motivation, and I don’t create anything when there’s structure.” I didn’t purposely say, “Oh, well, what’s the antidote to that? Let’s create a career that involves jumping all over the place.” It just happened, you know, that I sought that out, and it happened to work out, so I think that’s worked out well for me.

Maggie:

So my last question for you here is, do you have any advice for students, or even just people interested in the sexuality field? Do you have any advice for them?

Dr. Jess:

Absolutely. Reach out and ask for help, reach out and ask to connect with people. I just came off a podcast interview today, it was a urologist who just messaged me and said “I’d love to be on your podcast.” So don’t be afraid to ask. I think that’s especially important for folks who are generally pushed to the margins, like we’re more afraid to ask. I hate asking, but I like being asked. So do reach out. Don’t believe that there’s one specific path to growing in this field, there are different places to learn that aren’t necessarily through traditional academic means. So you know, The Cameron Glover is a sex ed business coach, and they have a school called Successful Sex Ed, so that’s the Instagram handle (@SuccessfulSexEd) and their Instagram handle is @TheCameronGlover. So you can definitely check them out, because they teach you how to make money in this field and monetize and grow without necessarily going and doing a masters or a PhD or even an undergrad for that matter. And, folks, if you do have questions, reach out, I can’t promise I can answer all of them. But definitely if you’re interested in working in this field, you know, start just meeting people, connecting with people online, because that’s how most of us met. I’ve made so many friends in this field because we met online. And if you are looking for a sexuality conference to attend in Canada, obviously we have the Guelph conference in June. There’s usually a West Coast conference as well. Their acronym is ASPSH I think. There are a couple conferences in Canada, but definitely consider Sex Down South, which is run by queer black femmes, and is just super exceptional in its vibe, it’s programming, it’s organic networking opportunities, and it’s usually down in Atlanta in September.

Maggie:

Okay, yeah, no, thank you so much for that. Yeah, people should definitely be checking that out. I’ll be checking those out. So again, thank you so much, Jess.

Dr. Jess:

My pleasure. Thank you.

Maggie:

So everyone, that was Dr. Jess, sexologist, educator, the author of several books, the latest of which is “The Ultimate Guide to Seduction and Foreplay” (co-authored with Martha Renee Stewart). She’s the host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, she’s a TV personality, she really is a jack of all trades within the sexuality field. And today, she talked to us about her career in the private sector, what she’s done, what she’s doing and what she wants to do, and the steps she’s taken to get to where she is today. And this is part of a mini podcast series, which will be focusing on careers in the sexuality field. So other interviews will be coming up with really interesting people, who work in the public and academic sectors of the sexuality field. So stay tuned for those, and do check them out. So thanks for listening everyone. And as Dr. Jess would say, wherever you’re at, folks have a good one.