I spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and working with people about sex and sexuality. There are other people who do this work as well and the internet has many different voices. Lately, I feel a need to share more about my approach or philosophy so people can decide for themselves – Why should you listen to me? I’ve written my Sexual Education Manifesto.


So, why should you listen to me?

Because I started out like a lot of you. I only got basic puberty education in school. I didn’t get extensive information from my parents about much of anything related to sex, love, dating, or relationships.


My lack of education caused me to make some poor decisions when I was young. I knew this topic wasn’t particularly “dangerous,” I knew that if I educated myself, I could make better decisions.


So this is what I believe…


I believe my children can grow up with better information and education than I did. I believe they deserve better experiences than I had.


I believe my attempts to shield or protect my kids from any and all potential emotional, physical, or psychological discomfort or, God forbid pain, will not benefit them when they are living on their own. Of course, I’m scared for my kids at times, but my fear is my fear.


I believe I can model vulnerability with my kids while at the same time owning up to when I snap at them or otherwise fuck up. I take great pains to not speak a bad or hurtful word to them such that they would ever ingest it like a poison. As a result, I have two daughters who are growing into confident young women who don’t put up with shit from others.


Why am I doing this work in human sexuality? Because I believe my kids CAN be trusted to make healthy decisions but that I need to make sure they have all of the information, to begin with, regardless of the topic. I’m actively practicing this with them on a daily basis. And it’s working.


What else?

I believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with masturbation. That there are benefits that outweigh the drawbacks. I believe that putting masturbation in a bucket that creates shame will lead a person to feel bad about their sexuality or worse – their desires.


I believe growing up with shame about masturbation creates a feeling like masturbation isn’t enough or “not real sex” when someone is without a partner. Masturbation is valid and healthy all on its own.


I know masturbation feels magnificent and it gives a person a way to learn about what feels good in their own bodies – such valuable knowledge. I’d much rather my daughters explore masturbation than for them to expect a partner shows them what feels good.


I believe our kids deserve more education around love, dating, relationships, and pleasure than the “plumbing and prevention model” that is currently in use.


I believe people keep their desires bottled up because they are afraid of the judgment of others. I believe the most essential relationship is the one between parent/caregiver and child and that lying can have a negative effect on that relationship, which is why I tell it like it is in an age appropriate manner.


I believe you can tell your kids that sex toys exist and that you don’t need to tell them HOW to use them.


I believe you can tell your kids about sex and sexuality and by doing it authentically, with accurate information, they will not be harmed. Kids can tell when things make sense and being honest makes things a nonissue. Generally speaking, they are not triggered the way we can be about sex.


I believe most of us have hang ups or history that prevents us from talking to our kids, but we are doing the best we can. And here is the key: just being told to talk openly with our kids won’t resolve our hesitations. Sometimes, we need some help ourselves, to uncover that history and understand the hangups we may have. This is why I have pursued the educational background I have to help my clients.


I believe if one finds themselves having a really strong reaction to something related to sex or sexuality, that it is important to pause and look inward as to why that is, what comes up for you.


I believe there are some people with good intentions who tout themselves as experts in the field, but who at the same time are on a spectrum from under-informed to wholly misinformed about certain topics. Some of the topics within sexuality that are the most contentious are BDSM, porn, sex addiction, sex work. Lots of times the people who really SHOULD be consulted are not. In those instances, space needs to be made for them to lead us.


I believe that people can have healthy and well-adjusted sex lives so long as the good information cancels out all of the shame and guilt and bullshit that comes from other people. I believe that the shit other people lay on us is often their own ignorance or misunderstanding of something that can be clearly explained.


I believe there’s a whole lot more to this human sexuality thing than just having sex.


I believe it’s time to disrupt the status quo in sex education.

I believe it’s time to approach the issue in a new way.


I believe we can teach our kids about healthy sexual behavior without incorporating fear into those teachings.


I believe that parents can be the best educators for their kids, but that the parents need to have a solid education themselves. I believe I can help parents which is why I sought out the depth and breadth of education around the larger topic of sexuality.


I believe that we need to lay a healthy foundation for our kids of having open and honest discussions and that when it comes to sex, we cannot forget that love, dating, and relationships must also be part of that conversation. These are also factors that support the importance of my 5 Building Blocks to a Healthy Sexuality – Communication, Consent, Respect, Pleasure, and Fantasy.


I believe the 5 Building Blocks to a Healthy Sexuality are more important than the sex acts themselves. (This is not to say the acts are unimportant, they are, but just not necessarily foremost).


I believe that each individual should be the expert of him or herself. I don’t claim to be an expert of “you, ” but I’ll do my best to make sure you have accurate info to start that journey if you’re not there yet.


I don’t know all of the answers perfectly all of the time. I do know a lot of damn good resources, people who specialize in a lot of different areas and if I cannot help you, I’m happy to connect people to the best.


If any of this resonates with you, please comment, share, or reach out and grab time on my calendar for the free 20 minute exploratory call. I am excited to work with like-minded people who want to make positive change around this important natural human activity. Let’s talk.



The MamaSutra


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About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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