I’m a sex educator and a cannabis industry professional. By and large, most of my friends are colleagues and my colleagues are my friends. This means I spend a great deal of my time talking with other people who speak my language—who understand what I mean when I say internal condom or who don’t blink when I start waxing philosophical about cannabinoids and terpenes.
Sometimes I forget that the average person’s sex education was limited to “wear a condom or you’ll get chlamydia and die” and that a majority of people only know about cannabis through reefer madness or that one edible they did in college that made them wish for death. One of the reasons that I share so publicly and so transparently is to make people feel less alone—that they can point to another human having a similar experience and say “me too.” Another equally important component to me telling you all the details of my sex and cannabis adventures is that I’m trying to cultivate curiosity. Curiosity is the key to learning. If you’re not curious, you’ll never ask why or how, because it’s not of interest. So when I talk about threesomes or cool cannabis gadgets or new and innovative sex toys, I’m not just humble bragging—I’m trying to get you to ask “why would someone do that?” or “how does that work?” and then start searching for the answers.
The downside to that transparency is not everyone I’m trying to serve is comfortable hearing that level of detail. Some of the people I really want to help might consider my suggestion to masturbate in front of a partner unthinkably kinky. Others might hear non-monogamy and immediately shut down because it’s so divergent from their lived experience. The things I take for granted (spending $80-$150 on a sex toy) might be well outside of their socioeconomic reality.
Professionals, myself included, need to get better at meeting people where they are and giving them information in small digestible pieces—not in a condescending way, but in a way that allows them to slowly build on the knowledge that they already have in ways that feel safe and approachable. In the cannabis industry, that might look like not tolerance shaming people who don’t need more than a 2.5mg edible, or who aren’t interested in taking dabs at events because it spikes their anxiety to have that much THC in a social setting. It could also look like not shaming medical patients for needing 100 times that amount to feel relief. For sexuality professionals, it might look like checking in before launching into a story about the live anal fisting demo you watched last week. (Yep, that’s a thing I’ve done).
Next week I’m going to talk about meeting people where they are in the context of a relationship or a sexual encounter—the importance of consent, checking in, and checking your assumptions at the door.