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S3E2: In Place of Fear and Shame, We Need Sex-Positive Education

Sexual education is extremely important and we need more of it. In the second episode of our mini-series about human sexuality we talk with Dr. Theodore Burnes about the need for educators to go beyond the “SexEd” class, incorporating open and sex-positive discussions about sexuality, and gender also across young people’s educations. Dr. Burnes, a therapist and educator specializing in sexuality and gender, shares with us key strategies to create culturally responsive, sex-positive learning environments that make children safer.

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Episode Notes

You can  find out more about the Master of Arts in Applied Psychology that Theo teaches in, and in particular its LGBT-Affirming Psychology Specialization on our website.

This episode was recorded January 4, 2022 via and released February 2, 2022. 

The Seed Field Podcast is produced by Antioch University.

The Seed Field Podcast’s host is Jasper Nighthawk, and its editor is Lauren Instenes. Special thanks for this episode goes to Karen Hamilton and Melinda Garland for their contributions.
For information about this and past episodes and to access a full transcript, visit To get updates and be notified about future episodes, follow Antioch University on Facebook.

Guest Bio

Dr. Theodore Burnes (he/him/his) is a licensed psychologist (PSY 25544) and a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC600) in the state of California. His professional interests include the psychology of human sexual expression and sex-positivity; teaching and training pedagogy in mental health services; clinical supervision; social justice and advocacy; mental health and wellness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) individuals; qualitative research epistemologies and ontologies. Dr. Burnes is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (in Divisions 17 and 44), and is an Associate Editor for the journal Training and Education in Professional Psychology. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC). Dr. Burnes also maintains a private practice in which he sees a range of clients and also supervises pre-licensed professionals.

S3E2 Transcript


[00:00:04] Jasper Nighthawk: Welcome to The Seed Field Podcast, the show where Antiochians share their knowledge, tell their stories, and come together to win victories for humanity.


[00:00:20] Jasper: I’m your host, Jasper Nighthawk. Today, we’re happy to bring you the second episode in our mini-series on human sexuality. In our last episode, we talked with Dr. Markie L.C. Twist about diversity in human sexuality and how we can support young people as they explore and find their own preferences and identities. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Theodore Burns onto The Seed Field Podcast to build on this conversation and specifically to talk about his work promoting sex positivity in multicultural education.

Theo is a full professor and core faculty in the Psychology Program at Antioch Los Angeles. He’s licensed as both a psychologist and a professional clinical counselor, and he has deep experience serving clients who are marginalized based on their sociocultural identities. Theo especially focuses on serving LGBTQ people, people with various gender identities and expressions, intersex identities, sexualities, and sexual expression. He also, and this is what I’m most excited to talk about today, has thought deeply about the importance of sex positivity in education. Theo, welcome to The Seed Field Podcast.

[00:01:31] Theodore Burns: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:01:33] Jasper: Starting out, I want to make sure that we disclose for our listeners the positions that we’re bringing to this conversation, especially because we’re going to be talking about the different intersections of power in our society. For myself, I want listeners to know that I identify as a white cisgendered man, I have a post-graduate education, I’m a millennial, I’m middle class, and while I don’t identify as 100% straight, I am in a monogamous relationship with someone who identifies as a woman. Would you mind sharing as much as you’re comfortable what position you come to this conversation?

[00:02:08] Theodore: Yes, sure. No problem. I also identify as a white cisgender male. I am queer and in a monogamous relationship as well as a post-graduate degree, identify as both able-bodied and at this stage of my life, middle class to high middle class.

[00:02:28] Jasper: Yes, I think that also is important to disclose. Theo, you’ve published extensively around questions of how to best teach therapists and counselors and psychologists so that they bring a sex-positive stance to their work and affirm their clients who identify as LGBT. Today, we’re focusing more on sex and sexuality and education more broadly. I was wondering what your earliest experiences of sex education are. Perhaps as an adolescent, if you got that in your public education and then also as you were training to become a therapist.

[00:03:03] Theodore: Yes, sure. What’s true about my own experiences of sex ed is that like many adolescents, I did not get really great sex education from my formal experiences in school and most of my sex education came from three places. It came from media, it came from peers, and it came from larger community norms, which for me is pretty common for individuals that grew up– I went to school in the ’90s and early aughts mostly, and as well as the ’80s too, but I wasn’t as sexually connected to my own positivity at that point in my development, but most of it was ’90s based.

We were living, I think, I was educated in the United States. At that time, there were lots of norms, post-political sphere around abstinence-based only sex education. Those kinds of norms heavily influenced my own educational development, which meant that I ended up having to go outside of my traditional training in order to get the knowledge that I made. The difficult part of that, just to piggyback really quickly, is that I also did not receive great media literacy training.

I was looking for these educational experiences, but not really sure how to decipher what was true, what was not true. I ended up getting a lot of information that was either somewhat inaccurate or highly inaccurate. From there, really learning a lot of inaccurate information about sex.

[00:04:43] Jasper: I think, in particular, as a queer person in the ’80s and ’90s and 2000s, our culture then was even more slanted to having a heteronormative mindset.

[00:04:57] Theodore: Totally. Yes. I think what is true for me, not only as a therapist but as an educator, is working with people who reflect quite a bit on their own experiences as queer people and recognize the lack of visibility or representation that they found of their own sexuality in their sex education. Almost feeling erased or silenced by their lack of visibility.

[00:05:24] Jasper: Yes. Do you think it was these experiences that brought you to become an advocate for, and a scholar of LGBT-affirming therapy?

[00:05:32] Theodore: I’m sure it had a huge piece of it. I can’t say that it didn’t. I definitely feel as though that was definitely the pilot light, but I’m not sure it’s what lit it. I think, for me, it was more about working in schools and working in places with young people that were so noticeably uninformed about some of their own sex ed experiences. I can’t say that my own experience didn’t impact that because I’m sure that allowed me to empathize with people’s experiences in a certain way.

I think for me, some of the most memorable origins for my own advocacy around sex education came from working in high schools as an intern and a trainee and realizing the lack of information that people had. I often, when I teach, share stories with people about some of those early clients that were really profound for me around, wow, the messaging that we receive about sex is pretty infantile.

[00:06:39] Jasper: Infantile. That’s a great word coming from an era of human development when sexuality just isn’t even really on the radar. Would you mind sharing one of those stories that you might share in a class?

[00:06:54] Theodore: Yes. One of my first experiences as a counselor was in a school where I was working with a young man who I think probably had very little sex ed, and we had only met once. It was probably my third day on the job. He came to session with a pretty severe case of an STI. Came to see me and said, “I itch, and I don’t know why.” Had very little understanding. I remember sitting in my therapy chair being like, “There was no book that I read that taught me how to talk to a kid about crabs.”

There was no book that had helped me learn about pubic lice, how to talk to a kid about pubic lice. I remember sitting there thinking, “Wow, how did we get to a place where this 16-year-old young man had no idea and didn’t even know what was happening?” Also wanting to figure out a way in that moment as a therapist to be really not shameful about his experience.

Connecting him with a nurse, talking a little bit about what he had been feeling and experiencing, letting him know that this was not something that was incurable, but it might be important for him to receive comprehensive medical assistance to make sure that there weren’t other things that were happening for him. Just realizing, in that moment, I remember going to a supervisor and being like, “How do we talk about STIs?” My supervisor at the time was like, “Oh, we usually refer that out.” Being like, “Oh, okay. I see. We don’t even talk about these things in session.” We “refer them out,” and feeling really demoralized by that conversation.

[00:08:54] Jasper: Yes, that sounds demoralizing. It just sounds like this young man was totally failed by his education and the community surrounding him.

[00:09:02] Theodore: Totally. That’s right.

[00:09:05] Jasper: He was lucky that he talked to you. I want to pull out one of those threads because you talked about trying not to increase his feeling of shame, which I personally remember when I was like 14 or 15. I hadn’t had sex, and I was convinced that I had an STI. I was terrified. I finally nervously talked to my mom, and she brought me to my like primary care physician who really helped me realize I was fine, but when we’re emerging into sexuality, it’s so easy to experience lots of fear and that can lead to shame in tons of circumstances. You as an antidote to this use this term, sex positivity.

I loved, in one of your papers you write, “Sex positivity has become a framework that integrates the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, somatic, and spiritual aspects of sexual being and sexual practice in positive enriching ways.” I was hoping you could expand on what sex positivity is and what it means for a teacher or a therapist or an adult in an adolescent’s life to be sex positive.

[00:10:08] Theodore: I think the first thing to recognize is, going from our earlier conversation, is that historically, many social science disciplines or helping professions or any kind of social service have not been sex positive. There’s been a huge focus on shame as well as the term we use a lot in the scholastic world is erotophobia. Phobia meaning fear, and eroto coming from the eros. It’s really the fear of pleasure but it’s also the fear of sex. As a result, a lot of social service providers will internalize a lot of their discipline’s norms about that type of sexuality.

What comes from that then is either a complete disacknowledgement of the people that we serve as sexual beings. Whether it’s our students or our clients or it is a overemphasis on the negative aspects of sex. We work with students and clients. We help them internalize some sort of a fear base so that they are decreasing the amount of sex that they have. What we know is that when, especially in education, if we use fear-based models of sex to talk about sex with young people, they’re still going to have sex because they have urges.

What we often do is we take this little human and they have all of these perfectly healthy and really normal sexual curiosities, and we couple them with all this fear. What that does is shut them down from talking about it in a space where they can receive accurate information and then they go off and they do lots of other things. They look at porn, they ask their friends, they watch media, and they may receive really inaccurate information.

On the contrast, sex positivity really is about one, centering this idea that sexual curiosity, as long as consent is involved, as long as communication is involved, is healthy and pleasurable. That sex isn’t actually just a means of biological reproduction. It’s also about pleasure, it’s about intimacy and communication. When we talk about the social and the psychological pieces or the emotional component of sex, we begin to expand that sex isn’t about insert genital A into hole B. That it’s much more comprehensive. Individuals begin to think about sex not only as a behavioral act, but as a process with values and emotions and social context.

[00:12:41] Jasper: That’s beautiful. In hearing you talk about it, I think it makes a lot of sense, but also trying to sympathize with people who might be nervous to talk about sex or to bring it up with a client who they’re seeing or with their students. I think that it can be hard to talk about sexual pleasure without feeling like you’re crossing a line into engaging in some inappropriate way with a young person. How do you navigate that?

[00:13:08] Theodore: I think the first thing to do is usually, is that it’s not necessarily direct questioning, but an invitation. I think what I usually will start with is an invitation, especially with a client or a student around, just so you know, if you wanted to talk about sex, we could do that. As long as you feel safe in whatever way you feel safe. That can be now, that can be four weeks from now. As a therapist, what often happens is people look at me wide eyed and then three weeks later it’s a, “Hey, remember when you said that we could?” Because there is a little bit of time for folks to feel more comfortable.

I like to plant seeds early and then they don’t really sprout for a month or so but they usually do sprout at some point. Then I think as an educator, figuring out ways to incorporate conversations about sex into curriculum so that individuals know that you as a teacher are sex positive because maybe this is something that you’ve talked about and maybe let’s say you’re doing a vignette or you’re reading some piece of literature where sex is explicitly talked about.

You’re stopping and having a conversation with the class about what is sex positivity and what is consent? What are values that we’re building as we read this piece of literature? Something of that nature. I think it’s really more invitation than it is direct questioning initially.

[00:14:31] Jasper: Thank you for bringing up the example of an English class where you might talk about a novel that has sex in it. The teacher might then, that is a moment, especially if they are themselves someone who’s sex positive or they might be the only queer identifying person in their students lives, that can become an important moment. You write a little bit about how sex ed doesn’t or sexual education doesn’t just happen in sex ed classrooms, which might be one semester in a high school education. Can you give us some examples of other places where sex ed can happen?

[00:15:09] Theodore: As someone who did some training in a school setting, what often happened was there were– Most of my school training is in middle and high schools. What we found was that there were lots of conversations about sex that happened in everything. From social studies to English, but even health promotion classes. Although health often incorporate sex ed, not every school has sex ed as part of health. Even thinking about recognizing that consensual sex that is pleasurable can lead to greater health outcomes. Being able to explicitly talk about those pieces.

I think even in social studies when we look at, especially for students that are taking economics classes or government classes, sex has huge intersections at both economic and political lines. As I say, in 2022 in the United States sex is a political act, right? I think finding ways to draw some of that out as an educator can be really helpful.

[00:16:14] Jasper: Yes, I feel like it’s the elephant in the room in a lot of conversations. I spent seven years going into classrooms as a poetry teacher. I would just visit, for a series of classes, about poetry. I know, for myself, I didn’t have any formal education on how to have like bring sex positivity. When those things did come up in conversations, especially with high schoolers, I think I often was like, “Oh, I’m going to back away slowly. I do not want to get in trouble.” There was definitely some fear on my part despite I’d like to think of myself as a very sex positive person.

[00:16:50] Theodore: Sure. No, and I think that experience is really true for lots of educators. Where there’s a desire to probably think about that, but feeling really ill-equipped or not feeling supported systemically and having those kinds of conversations, which is why I think more and more schools are doing trainings with as kids will initially bring up questions. I think especially as we are providing literature where, or classroom curricula, where issues of everything from sexuality to sexual assault to harassment. These kinds of things come up all the time. How are we navigating those? Do we feel supported by the school to have those conversations?

[00:17:33] Jasper: I think this might be a great place to transition to talking about some of the strategies that you’ve come up with for how to bring sex positivity into multicultural education. I really like how you combine sex positivity with this framework of multicultural education, which if listeners don’t know, this is a very popular pedagogy today that works to incorporate the histories and texts and values and belief systems and perspectives of people from lots of different cultural backgrounds.

Specifically trying to bring in classrooms that the students come from different backgrounds trying to make real all of those backgrounds rather than just teaching from a white hegemonic point of view. You combine that with sex positivity, and you come up with a bunch of these different strategies. I just want you to share them with our listeners. If I could run through them and you could talk a little bit about each of them.

[00:18:28] Theodore: Sure. Yes. Totally.

[00:18:29] Jasper: Okay. The first strategy that you bring up is to acknowledge the wide diversity of sexual expression that learners might have. From asexuality to a wide range of sexual and relational practices that include kink polyamory vaginal intercourse, but also anal intercourse, masturbation, and everything else. Why is it important to acknowledge this diversity of sexual expression?

[00:18:55] Theodore: I think what is true is that there are long standing assumptions about certain types of sexual expression or certain practices being a “norm.” When we actually go back historically and look at some of those, a lot of those have basis in European religiosity. When we look at outside, historically, of some of those kinds of very specific religious based sexual understandings that lots of different sexual expressions have been a part of our world’s history and culture for centuries.

What’s interesting is to hear mainstream critics of sex positivity talk about these new phenomena of polyamory or these new phenomena of BDSM and not really challenging their own ahistorical assumptions about what sex might look like. By acknowledging diverse sexual practices, one of the things that we’re doing is moving away from a European understanding of human relationships, which I think the more that we do that, we, one, we critique white supremacy and we also begin to acknowledge how the diversity of sexual expression is rooted in the diversity of human beings and their identities.

[00:20:15] Jasper: I really like how you bring up not just the importance of bringing in all of these other sexual practices that aren’t rooted in a European Christian background, but also the ways that people’s experiences of sexuality, like students may have intersected with the ways that people of color have been exoticized or fetishized or objectified and that can be ongoing and just like bringing that into the classroom and making it real as part of someone’s background or what they may be experiencing or may experience in the future.

[00:20:52] Theodore: I think what is true is once we begin to look at sex as an interdisciplinary field, then we also begin to look at the ways that gender studies and ethnic studies have really impacted our study of sexuality to really understand the ways in which much of that information gets left out of traditional conversations.

[00:21:18] Jasper: It seems to me, like you’re saying, sex is something that if you just look at it you start to see it from different lenses or through different backgrounds. If you can get through the fear and the shame to just actually look at the thing, there’s a lot there.

[00:21:34] Theodore: Totally.

[00:21:35] Jasper: I want to move to your next strategy, which is to make a point of noting and honoring learners current relationships with their sexuality even if that involves shame or fear or erotophobia, as you defined earlier. This seems like a balancing act to me, to be like, “Be open, be sex positive, but also if you’re afraid, that’s okay, too.” How do you honor the individual’s relationship with their sexuality while also creating a safe learning environment for other students?

[00:22:07] Theodore: I think the first part of my answer to your question is explicitly acknowledging that everyone is allowed to enter a sex positive space where they are. That sex positivity for each person might look different. Part of that I think is starting with a conversation about what sex positivity is and that if it really is acknowledging that sex is normal and healthy, and if we all have different sex, then all of our sex, as long as it’s consensual, is normal and healthy.

Sometimes individuals might say, “These kinds of acts or expressions or behaviors are part of my identity.” Other folks might say, “I’ve never even considered that and that might be true, but I’ve come from an arena or a background where that was never even talked about, so I’m going to need some time to even warm up to those ideas,” and allowing people to not feel shame around that because I think what can often happen is, is we swing from, “Let’s not talk about it at all.” To, “Let’s talk about it a lot and if you don’t know how to talk about it, there’s something wrong with you.” Which can be also shaming and result in many of the same areas.

I think the first thing is to explicitly note it and then to provide learners in whatever context, strategies to support their own growth, but also challenge themselves. Are they journalers? Do they want to have small group conversations in the classroom so that it’s not everybody talking, but maybe you’re doing some small group learning, so people feel more able to talk or share?

To provide appropriate language really early in a class experience, so that folks recognize that it’s okay to say penis or vulva in a classroom, which they may have never had that experience before. Being able to really acknowledge, “Hey, in this classroom, we’re actually going to call genitals by their real names and not societal names that are cloaked in shame.”

[00:24:00] Jasper: I really like this step too, or this strategy, because it feels to me like it addresses a concern that I know a lot of people from more conservative cultures and backgrounds have, which is that like their students are just going to be indoctrinated into changing the sexual practices that they may have had in their backgrounds and that sex positivity is just going to lead to a stereotypically, like 1969, free love, free for all.

[00:24:27] Theodore: Exactly right. One of the things that we talk about early in the courses I teach is that sex positivity is in no way synonymous with an increased frequency of sexual behavior. That one can be more sex positive and have just the same amount or engage in just the same amount of sexual acts as they did before. What will shift is their openness to either their own or other people’s experiences.

What also happens is students will say things like, “Since I’ve started teaching this class and talking about it more, more people have come to me and wanted talk about it with me.” Folks will come forward and want to have more in depth conversations about their own experiences.

[00:25:10] Jasper: That’s great. I want to move to the third strategy, which is to include global perspectives in any learning about human sexuality. You touched on this a little bit earlier, but why is it important not to just keep repeating these, as you put it, like European norms around sex?

[00:25:29] Theodore: I think what’s true, especially as we engage globally with a pandemic and it would be difficult for us to divorce global perspectives from the pandemic that our world has been involved with over the last couple of years. What’s true for me is that different countries, different continents, have had vastly different experiences with sexuality and sexual expression. We, obviously, one of the main things that happens when we look at global perspectives with sex is we look at sexual disease or we look at sexual infection. Which is unfortunate because what we begin to also look at is, how does pleasure look for people with different cultural values?

That’s actually the part that gets missed, because I think many individuals from European based colonized places will look at pleasure as much more of an external experience. Whereas if we begin to really incorporate globally diverse perspectives on what sex positivity might look like, sex positivity can be complete internal experience for someone whose cultural values might say, “I am positive, but I live in a world where talking about sex is not just about erotophobia, but it’s about my culture and my heritage.” Being able to really allow people to understand that one can be sex positive and not be explicit or open about that positivity.

[00:26:53] Jasper: You mentioned in one of your papers that you spent time conducting research with sex workers in Mexico. That this work gave you information and stories and values that really challenged white Western ways of understanding sexual expression. Could you tell us some specifics from that?

[00:27:09] Theodore: Yes, sure. What’s true about that research was that there were lots of different ways that the specific culture and context where I was conducting research was really anti-sex work. Have a lot of what is now called in the literature, [unintelligible 00:27:26]. What ends up happening often in those kinds of contexts is learning about cultural values related to openness or explicit expression, sexual behavior or attitudes. One of the things that many of the research participants that I worked with commented on was the lack of cultural understanding, not just even about sex work, but about sex in general.

That is feeling as though it wasn’t just about the fact that they were exchanging sex for money or goods, but the fact that they were positioned themselves in relationship to a taboo subject made their work taboo. It could have been any taboo subject, it could have been hospitality work, it could have been lots of different areas. What I think is true is that work really exemplified for me the importance of different cultural values related to some of that experience.

[00:28:29] Jasper: The last strategy I want to ask you about is the strategy of using self-examination and self-reflection as instructional tools. I know that at the university level that you teach at, one of your favorite assignments is to ask students to read a book about kink and then you use a class to have them reflect about their prior misconceptions about what kink and BDSM actually are, and to reflect on the relationship in their own life between sexual expression and pleasure. Why do you recommend reflection and self-examination?

[00:29:05] Theodore: What is true for me is that my own training as a therapist, obviously, biases this assignment. I have a strong value that when we examine some of our attitudes and not just necessarily judge them, but examine why they are present, what has made us hold onto them, where we got them. We begin to really, almost do a little bit of a cleaning out of different values that we might have around different types of sex.

What is true is stereotypically, many of the students that I work with think that that type of experience happens early in development, but what we know, especially for classes where the learners are in all different stages of their development, that that can happen at any time. That kind of internal experience is really helpful. I think that when students realize that they don’t have to be afraid of their own thoughts or attitudes, the more they can examine them with humility, and curiosity, and compassion.

I think a big piece of this is that when students do not feel shamed for the attitudes that they have, but they have compassion for, “Hey, I was an individual living in a world where I learned these things because that was all that was available for me to learn,” the relationship to self-examination begins to shift because then it’s less, “Oh, I didn’t learn all of these things that make me ‘more sex-positive,’ it’s more about these other pieces.”

I think as far as the assignment goes, one of the reasons I love that assignment the most is because the way in which the piece of writing that they read is written really begins to not just challenge their understanding of what kink or BDSM is, but also what it means to have power in a sexual relationship. Right? Because in essence, for the students, what they begin to learn is, is kink is not just about certain stereotypic practices of BDSM, but that kink and BDSM can also just be about power exchange. There’s a great line in one of the readings that they read about, which is, “If you’ve ever played with food or a feather during sex, you’ve played with kink.”

The students are often mesmerized by that idea because many of them would say, “Oh, yes, maybe I’ve had a sexual experience where I’ve played with food, or I’ve touched somebody with a feather, but I’ve never necessarily created some sort of bondage situation, for example.” Even just shifting the way that they think about power and control within the sexual relationship, as part of a kink affirmative process, can be really significant for students in their own learning, which is why I love that assignment.

[00:31:51] Jasper: I love the way that just creating a space without judgment and without shame to discuss these things can make something that they may have had these preconceptions about, which came from their previous sexual education, which might have been pornography, and they might think, “Oh, that is what BDSM is, or that is what kink is. You’re able to bring them into just a gentler and more eyes wide open understanding.

[00:32:18] Theodore: I think what’s also true is that many students, as they think about kink for the first time, don’t recognize the amount of communication, the amount of ground rules, the amount of intimacy that happens between individuals who may, let’s say, create certain types of scenes, and so also helping people to gain an introductory understanding to some of those really core and elementary communication processes.

I’m smiling because I’m thinking about a student who at one point was in class, and we were talking about different types of processes that happen through kink and said out loud in class, “Wow. It almost sounds like people who don’t practice kink could learn a lot about communication from people that do, right?” I just thought, “Gold mine.” Really started to ask the class, “What are people’s thoughts and reflections about that statement?”

Even thinking about the ways in which the underlying processes of so many types of diversity within sexual experience and practice can be really enlightening for individuals who have what we would think of as like traditional relationships to sex and intimacy.

[00:33:29] Jasper: This is all so beautiful. We are nearly out of time, but I wanted to ask you one last question, expanding this conversation from just the classroom. I know that you’ve written a fair amount about the relationship between sex positivity and social justice writ large. I was hoping you could just tell us a little bit about the possible transformative potential of undertaking this work that you’ve been talking about here today.

[00:33:54] Theodore: Oh, my gosh, I feel like I can talk about that for an hour. I’m going to make the comments really short. What is true for me is that sex positivity can be a liberation for many people. It can allow them to transcend decades of shame in a way that can be really life-changing. When people let go of a shame that they’ve been carrying around about their desire, about their deep need to connect with people in certain ways, and it can be really liberation focused.

I think what’s also true is that communities of individuals who are often marginalized based on their sexual identity or their sexual expression or their career, when they begin to connect, not even as individuals, but as a collective to sex positivity, it can feel empowering to create change and to also help individuals to treat them with respect. I have done tons of work with individuals in the sex industry to create programs for everything from law enforcement officials, to medical doctors, about how they should respond to folks in the industry.

These types of programs have been written by and for folks in the industry, which I think often, if we dilute some of those programs, really come from kernels of sex positivity and empowerment. That’s, for me, where that justice piece comes in.

[00:35:18] Jasper: Yes. That’s beautiful. Thank you so much for joining us today, Theo. It’s been such a pleasure to get to talk with you.

[00:35:24] Theodore: Yes. Thanks for having me.


[00:35:34] Jasper: To find out more about the master of arts in applied psychology that Theo teaches in, and in particular, the LGBT-affirming psychology specialization offered at Antioch Los Angeles, follow the link in our show notes. We post these show notes on our website, You’ll also find there, full episode transcripts, prior episodes, and more. The Seed Field Podcast is produced by Antioch University. Our editor is Lauren Instenes. A special thanks to Karen Hamilton and Melinda Garland.


[00:36:09] Jasper: Thank you for spending your time with us today. That’s it for this episode. We hope to see you next time. Don’t forget to plant a seed, sow a cause, and win a victory for humanity. From Antioch University, this has been The Seed Field Podcast.


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