Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs, MPH is a NYC-based sex educator + blogger. She's the founder of Sex Geekdom, a global community for sex educators, researchers, and other folks who love having geeky conversations about sex.

Recent posts

Where in the World is the Wondrous Vulva Puppet? New Zealand Edition

Nothing makes my sex geeky heart sing quite like being sent photos of a vulva puppet hanging out in Middle Earth (OK it’s just New Zealand, but still). Las Vegas-based sexuality educator Dr. Amanda Morgan got in touch with me after taking her vulva puppet on vacation with her to Hobbiton and the Otrohanga Kiwi House in New Zealand. Below you can see a few of my favorites (or favourites as the Kiwis would say). I particularly like the vulva puppet with the vulva tree. All photos are by Dr. Amanda, who you can find on her website Askdramanda.com. Continue Reading →

Eight Holiday Gifts for the Sex Geek in Your Life (2013 Edition)

There’s nothing quite like a thoughtful gift that says “I love you in all your sex geekiness.” And if you’re a reader of this blog, I’d guess you have a bit of a sex geek streak yourself. Continuing the tradition of curating a list of sex-positive gifts, here are my 2013 suggestions for the sex geek in your life. 1. Buy them an iTunes gift card so they can download the first season of Masters of Sex when it comes out. This well-reviewed series about sex research pioneers Masters and Johnson will be sure to please. Continue Reading →

Six Things I Learned From Being a Birth Control Counselor

Like many sex educators I know, my very first sex ed gig was taking part in my undergrad university’s peer education program. Getting the training and the opportunity to deliver sex ed was a powerful experience for me and a real boost to my career as a sex educator (penis costume notwithstanding). One of the key responsibilities of being a peer educator was providing one-on-one sexual health counseling for students at the University’s health center – many of them young women wanting to start using birth control. Since the doctors and nurse practitioners at the health center had little time to spend with patients, my role was to educate the “clients” about their options beforehand. I had the time to ask questions about their lifestyle, sexual activities, preferences, and what would be convenient for them. Continue Reading →

My Visit to the Icelandic Phallological Museum

I first heard about The Icelandic Phallological Museum when I was an undergrad student taking my first Human Sexuality classes and discovering the big-wide-world of people who study sex. I was somewhere on the internet, reading a top-ten list of weird sex places and lo and behold – a penis museum, in ICELAND. Needless to say, this shot to the top of my bucket list faster than you can say “baculum.”
Just last week, during a complimentary Icelandic Air stopover on my way from London to New York, I got to check this one off the list. Immediately after dropping off my bags, I headed straight to the museum like the die-hard sex geek that I am. Coincidentally, the Airbnb accommodation I’d booked was just a few blocks from the shrine to all things penile. Continue Reading →

Why “Daggy” Should Be the New “Sexy”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this gem-of-a-slang-word, “daggy” (adj.) is an Australian term used semi-affectionately to describe things that are unpopular, un-chic, or uncool. It’s a bit like “nerdy” but without the intellectual association. The noun form, “dag,” can be used to classify people as in “Kate, you like watching NCIS marathons with your parents? You’re such a dag.” It’s not insulting exactly – more like the kind of sarcastic teasing Aussies do when they like you. Literally, a “dag” is the clump of wool around a sheep’s bottom that is matted with poop. Continue Reading →

What’s Your “Sex Educator Face?”

Recently, at the end of a workshop I had given to a group of university students, I was standing with a small group of organizers and participants when an international student from Asia came up to me and asked me, “How does a tampon work?”

The group that was around me were all from Western countries and I could tell that they found her question really surprising. While internally I felt a bit surprised that someone who was in her late twenties was asking me a question that’s in the content of a fifth grade sex ed class, I responded in a way that communicated that this was a completely typical question. I asked a woman in the group if she happened to have a tampon in her bag. She found one, and I took a little plastic cup, put water in it, and did the demonstration that I’ve done in a puberty education class. After the participant left, a couple of the organizers commented on how I had handled her question with a warm but emotionally-neutral facial expression and a matter-of-fact explanation. Continue Reading →

Genitals in the Wild: Recycling Bin Edition

I was having a lovely walk with my fellow sex geek friend Kimu when I noticed the logo on this recycling bin. I asked her, “How have you not told me your city’s emblem is a vulva?!” It even has asymmetrical labia and a clitoris for goodness sake. Needless to say, this genital-in-the-wild sighting significantly enhanced my morning as well as my opinion of the city of Boroondara. Continue Reading →

How I Became a Sex Educator: Lessons from My Mom

Most sex educators I know are constantly being asked why they go into the work they do. Fair enough, I think, since it’s a bit surprising when people learn that someone’s chosen to spend their days talking about a subject that most people find uncomfortable. I think it’s exactly that discomfort that inspires many sex educators to pursue their field. Sex is a near-universal human experience, yet it’s clouded by cultural shame, embarrassment, and mis-information. The light bulb moments that can occur as the result of actually talking about sex are powerful (and sometimes even healing). Continue Reading →

My Visit to Tokyo’s Female Masturbation Bar

Love Joule's owner, Megumi, holding my vulva puppet

Like many sex geeks who inhabit the internet, I delighted in reading about the existence of Love Joule, Tokyo’s “female masturbation bar” when it made the rounds on Jezebel, Huffington Post, and Wired back in October. I was especially excited because I had an upcoming trip to Tokyo planned, and any place whose sole purpose is the de-stigmatization of female masturbation was surely going to top my to-do list. While Love Joule’s website is (not surprisingly) in Japanese, I managed to find their location and opening hours through their Facebook page. Completely coincidentally, Love Joule was a five-minute walk away from my hotel. Call it divine intervention or sex geek synchronicity: given how giant and sprawling Tokyo is, I considered this a sign of awesomeness to ensue. Continue Reading →

A Tribute to Our Sex Professor, Debby Herbenick

In celebration of Mentorship week here at MSP, the other contributors and I have each written a small piece in appreciation for MSP’s founder, Debby Herbenick. She’s influenced all of our careers and we wanted to take the opportunity to express our gratitude for her contribution in a public (and surprise!) way. Craig: There are two things I really admire about Debby. First, her posts strike the perfect balance of thoughtful personal sharing and not revealing too much information about her life. I’m thinking about this post on the messiness of relationships, this one on non-thing gift giving, or especially this one on being a conventionally attractive sex researcher. Continue Reading →