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How does someone become a sex expert?

When people ask me what I do for a living, they are usually shocked by my response. I am a Sex Expert. With raised eyebrows and eyes as big as saucers I can see a cartoon bubble flash over their head exclaiming, “Did she just say sex?” Desperate to compose their features, they inevitably nod their head and respond with, “Interesting…”

Next people ask how I chose a field like sexuality. Well, simply put, I believe it chose me. I am the last person on earth one might consider to be an up-and-coming expert in sexuality—being the consummate uptight-whitey-woman from small town nowhere. How it all came about is still a mystery to me.

Several years ago I was out on a dog walk with a friend. After an in-depth discussion around sex, he looked at me and said, “You should give a workshop on sex.” And I thought, “You’re right.” At that moment everything clicked into place and it seemed such a natural segue from a career in corporate Canada to a career as a Sex Expert. That is about as deep as my epiphany goes.

Yet it was a clumsy liberation into my new occupation. Before I started all of this, I could not say body parts like “vagina” or “penis” out loud without giggling or stumbling over the words. I could never explain what I wanted in bed. And I always struggled with having the-made-to-look-perfect romance novel sex.

Not knowing where to start, my first step was to buy Lou Paget’s How to Be a Great Lover. In her book Paget describes techniques on how to pleasure a man. And I thought, “Well, if I am going to teach this stuff, I might as well learn it myself.”

Too embarrassed to go to a sex shop, I went into my local Safeway and grabbed two cucumbers and a tube of KY lubricant. For half-an-hour I walked up and down the aisles of Safeway convincing myself, “Don’t worry Trina, the check-out clerk won’t figure out you’ll be practicing hand techniques on the cucumbers.”

The hardest part of becoming a Sex Expert was telling my parents. It took me four months to buck up the courage. To break the news I treated them to dinner at a busy restaurant—no chance of yelling or crying fits that way.

As I sat across from my folks I felt like a 12 year old. A cool sweat spotted my brow. When the words, “I’m-gonna-be-a-sex-expert” came out in a garbled, high-pitched squeak, I was looking at my shoes. Worse yet was explaining that I would be writing a newspaper column that all of their family and friends could read. To this day I have a hard time talking to my parents about sex.

People often ask what qualifies me to be a Sex Expert? I have a Doctorate of Human Sexuality from a school in San Francisco. Yes it’s true. There are a few schools in North America that give out graduate level degrees in sex. Can you imagine?

Being a good (a.k.a. naïve) girl from the prairies, I almost did not go back after my first semester. The school’s calendar did not explain how mind bending their “education” would be. For example, during my second week after a strenuous day of class, the instructor decided everyone needed a relaxing massage. Within two minutes everyone in the room (but me) was naked. Funny thing is, being in the room of naked massaging people was not as weird as it may sound.

And then every nite my classmates went to things like S & M networking sessions or Bondage how-to workshops. On weekends, I declined invitations to hedonistic parties. To say that I was completely freaked-out by the sexucation is an understatement.

Ironically my friends in Canada considered me provocative; my classmates in San Francisco considered me a prude.

Today, talking with people about their sex is as commonplace for me as speaking about the weather. On airplanes, I counsel businessmen on how to make a woman orgasm. At networking functions women ask about sex toys. At parties, both men and women ask how to find the G-Spot. In grocery line-ups, I speak with expectant moms about estrogen fluctuations that take place before and after baby. People are relieved when I give straightforward answers and do not judge their circumstance.

Finally I want to give credit to my hero, fellow Canadian Sue Johanson who paved the way and made any of this possible. Because of Sue I can pursue my life’s goal which is to keep couples happily together over the long term. It is an exciting and at the same time daunting life agenda. Happily, I believe I am up for the task.

Prev: Is It Really Mismatched Libidos? - Up: Articles - Next: Letter to all Women

This article was published on Thursday 21 December, 2006.

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