Recent posts

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 →

My Mentor, Sex Therapist and Author Sallie Foley


One of my mentors during my graduate studies was Sallie Foley. Sallie has been a social worker and sex therapist for 30+ years and currently runs the Sexual Health Certificate Program at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work. Check out that amazing program here. My first contact with Sallie was when I was the Peer Education Coordinator at the University of Michigan and I helped to put on ”Sexpertise”, the University’s annual conference on sexual health. Sallie was an integral part of this important conference and one of the premiere speakers, talking about her research and giving workshops on sexual pleasure. Continue Reading →

My Mentor, Sexuality Educator Ivy Chen

ivy panda game

While many people have trained me, offered me career guidance, and encouraged my career as a sex educator, my very first (and most influential) sex ed mentor was Ivy Chen. When she’s not mentoring, Ivy’s a lecturer at San Francisco State University and teaches age-appropriate sexuality education classes to primary, middle, and high school students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. I first learned about Ivy when I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about her work in schools. The article described her passion for educating young people about making healthy choices and reflected the sex-positive approach she takes to her work. At the time the article was published, I was starting my first year as a sexual health peer educator at my university and just beginning to learn about the possibilities for how I could turn my love of teaching others about sexuality into a life-long career. Continue Reading →

Intersections Of Folklore And Sex: My Mentor, Alan Dundes


Longtime MSP readers will know that I’ve written a lot on the connections between folklore and sex, sexuality, and gender, with topics including vaccines and public health, rites of passage, sexual slang, family meal practices, storytelling and sexual health, urban legends about sex, Little Red Riding Hood and sex, breasts in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and how the very idea of folklore connects to sex. Clearly, folklore and sex connect in a lot of ways. However, I didn’t reach this conclusion on my own: I have my mentor, Alan Dundes, to thank for it. Professor Dundes was one of the best-known scholars in the field of folklore, and he was my teacher and mentor while I did my undergraduate training at UC Berkeley. Sadly, he passed away in 2005, leaving those of us lucky enough to have studied with him to forge ahead in the field. Continue Reading →

Nurturing Sex Geeks

for The Hug Shirt

One of the things I’ve read that has been the most beneficial to me as a sex educator has been Bill Taverner’s article “Tips for Emerging Sexology Professionals: Networking and Nurturing.” While this article about the importance of networking and nurturing among sexology professionals is from 2006, I still think it’s extremely relevant. Lots of my friends have been discussing New Year’s Resolutions, and I am aiming to put more effort into sex education. I’m still somewhat new to the field, and it can be extremely difficult to make a living doing this (no one gets into this for the money), as can breaking into the sex education field at all. There are definitely some amazing and supportive individuals in this field (I count everyone that writes for My Sex Professor among them), but I’ve also encountered some less than helpful individuals. Continue Reading →

This Week on MSP: Mentorship

Mentorship – the art of nurturing a relationship between a mentor and mentee – is important in all fields but mentorship is particularly crucial for those of us who study sexuality. There’s no Occupational Outlook guide for how to become a sex educator or researcher, so it’s left to mentoring relationships to help us navigate that career path. Since January is National Mentoring Month, it seems an opportune time to reflect on the mentorship process and to honor and highlight the efforts of those who’ve nurtured our work. This week on MSP, the blogging team will be writing about their individual mentors’ work as well as about mentorship in the sexuality field in a broader sense. For aspiring sexuality professionals, this week’s posts might shine some light on future directions you might take. Continue Reading →