Justine Ang Fonte

Justine Ang Fonte Shares Expertise on Hulu’s Planet Sex

Justine Ang Fonte, an award-winning educator on Sexual Education and Antioch University faculty member, appeared as an expert in the hit TV docuseries Planet Sex with Cara Delevigne. In the episode titled “Pornucopia,” she discusses the importance of Sex Education and Porn Literacy—topics she teaches about in Antioch’s Sex Therapy and Sexuality Education programs. 

Fonte is deeply passionate about helping individuals understand that Sexuality Education, commonly known as Sex Ed, should go far beyond discussions of anatomy. She says that Sex Ed is not just intercourse education but so many topics surrounding sexuality in today’s society. 

Becoming a Sex Educator

Fonte, the daughter of Phillipine immigrants, started her teaching career as an eighth-grade math teacher in Houston, Texas. In the summer of 2008, she found herself teaching math to students who had failed the state exam earlier that spring. One of Fonte’s students, a girl named Maria, was studious, attentive, and inquisitive. Then, abruptly, she stopped attending class—for two weeks. 

“My high school Spanish skills failed me each time I called home to find out where she was,” says Fonte. It was only in the last week of summer school that Maria returned to class. When Fonte asked her if she was okay and where she had been, Maria replied, “I was sick, and I was bleeding a lot.” 

Concerned, she asked if Maria had a wound or internal bleeding, but her student corrected her. “No, Miss, down there,” she said, pointing below her waist. “It happens every month and it hurts a lot. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” 

Fonte went to the principal that day to discuss the situation. One of their students, a 16-year-old eighth grader, had missed half the year because, it seemed, she was on her period and likely had undiagnosed endometriosis. 

“This middle school failed Maria,” says Fonte. “Abstinence-only education failed Maria. Human Rights failed Maria.”

In the aftermath of this experience of the ways that educational systems fail their students when they don’t teach them about their own bodies and sexuality, Fonte became inspired to teach Sex Education.

And today she is of service in just this way. “I am someone who helps people understand how their bodies work and how they can relate to other people’s bodies,” she says. “That is in service of everyone’s safety. Everyone’s identities being affirmed and experiencing joy.”

The Expert For “Pornucopia”

Fonte went on to earn her Master’s in Education while teaching middle school math in Hawai’i and later got a Masters of Public Health at Columbia University, where she specialized in Sexuality and Health. This led to work as director of health and wellness at the Dalton School, a private school in Manhattan. During this time, Fonte’s profile as a sexuality educator kept rising, in ways both good and bad. She was invited to lead workshops and presentations around the country as well as in New York City schools. 

Unfortunately, one of those presentations, in 2021, ended up being turned into a mini-scandal by the New York Post and other Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloids and TV channels. The Post headlined its initial article “Students and Parents Reel After Class on ‘Porn Literacy,’” and continued with a similar tone of breathless prurience. The ensuing controversy ended with Fonte resigning from Dalton. But she has continued working as a leader in the field of sexuality education, as a consultant, speaker and, since 2022, through teaching in Antioch’s sexuality education programs.

Having spent so long in the frontlines of this field, being featured in Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne “was an honor,” says Fonte. The exploratory show searches for answers regarding human sexuality with all of its joys and mysteries. This uniquely unfiltered TV series, which is mainly from a female point-of-view, examines subjects within sexuality that are rarely even talked about. Delevingne speaks with experts in the field on the subject of sexuality, taking in the different cultural prejudices, and social prohibitions faced by women all around the world.

In the episode “Pornucopia,” the producers brought together Fonte, Delevingne, and three college students to unpack issues around the field and how porn impacted their social landscape. The group discussed their own personal experiences with porn and the concept of Porn Literacy. 

The Importance of Porn Literacy

Pornography is a controversial subject, encompassing issues of sexual morality, gender equity, and freedom of speech. Such entangled issues make nuanced discussion particularly challenging. 

“I teach my students at Antioch University how to teach these things to young people and children because porn is becoming the default sex education for a lot of people,” says Fonte. And if porn is how young people are learning about how bodies look, how they work, and how they’re meant to interact with other people then, Fonte explains, “we are not serving [youth] well when it comes to giving them tools on how to be safe, how to be affirmed, and how to experience joy.” 

Porn Literacy is entirely aimed at teaching teenagers to think critically about pornography and about how it’s made, with the goal of combating the negative messages that much pornographic content conveys. The need for porn literacy in Sex Education is pressing because, whether or not adults are comfortable talking about sexually explicit media, teenagers are viewing it and are trying to process what they see.

“Teaching porn literacy is about teaching how pornography is an entertainment industry and not an education industry. It is something that is curated, it’s something that is performed. It is something that is living in a space for adults’ consumption,” explains Fonte. “And despite all of that being true, being in a sex-negative society, people are going to use porn as a way to learn about their bodies, how to interact with other people, how to perceive other people, especially different races and other types of identities.” And that can be highly problematic given that mainstream pornography is oftentimes racist and marginalizing of people. 

“There are so many different issues around pornography that we don’t bring up and talk about enough,” Fonte says. “And if young people are exposed to it, then young people need to be understanding the ramifications of it. That certainly does not mean showing them pornography. It’s talking about pornography.”

Teaching Sex Therapy and Sex Education 

Since May 2022, Fonte has taught Sex Therapy and Sexuality Education Program courses at Antioch’s Seattle campus. She loves teaching in the program. “The community is really wonderful,” she says. “It’s really nice to have small group learning environments and grad students who are so passionate about the growth in the field.” 

For herself, Fonte says she never had the opportunity as a grade and high school student to take Sex Ed at the level her grad students today teach it at. Because the program is so specialized, the students that are drawn to the program are deeply passionate individuals, who really want to hone in on this field. 

“For a topic and a field so taboo and stigmatized, it’s really cool that Antioch is allowing this type of space and helping learners grow in this field,” she says. “It’s been very encouraging to see the sexuality professional field expand with enrollments and popularity.” 

Moving forward, Fonte plans to remain in this field that she is so passionate about. She especially wants to keep addressing the fact that young people are receiving health education outside of health class, for better or for worse. She plans to continue her work as a nationally-recognized intersectional health educator, speaker, consultant, and teacher of porn literacy training and Sex Ed at Antioch Seattle and online.

Fonte is also currently working on a book which presents Sex Ed through the lens of the actual lived experiences of being a Sex Educator: working in classrooms but also existing as a person out there in society experiencing sexuality through her own personal and social environments. 

Through striving to understand the full context of her own and her students’ lives, and by addressing society as it actually is, she is doing her part to help future generations navigate the world as best they can.


LEARN MORE: Read more about Justine Ang Fonte and Antioch Seattle’s Certificate in Sex Therapy and Certificate in Sexuality Education programs.