Driven by discovering and exploring her sexual passion, Elle Chase, stumbled upon her career as a Sex Educator and couldn’t be happier. As a sex educator, coach, writer and editor or two sex blogs and the Director of Education for the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education, Elle has a very interesting schedule, but one thing remains the same—exploring and educating others about sex and sensuality. Elle Chase gets candid with SGP on her journey, schedule, rewards and challenges of her career, upcoming projects and even some advice on how to get into the industry.
Thanks for chatting with me! First, what do you do, how long have you been doing it?
I’m a sex educator & coach, writer and editor of two sex blogs, LadyCheeky.com (NSFW) and SmutForSmarties.com and the Director of Education for the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education. 6 years.
What inspired you to start working in your field, and what has the journey been like?
Well, when I left my marriage at 40 I had this ‘satori’ … this sudden illuminative personal insight that I had never experienced passion. From there, I went on this single-minded quest to discover how I experience sexual passion. Lady Cheeky, my curated sensual images site was born out of sharing erotic images with my lover on Tumblr. People discovered the site and shared it and as it became more popular, I started getting asked questions about sex. I began researching the answers to their questions, and found that LadyCheeky not only helped me explore my passionate side, but introduced me to the passion I had for diseminating accurate, science-based answers to their questions about sex. For the first time in my life I was experiencing what it was like to feel passion, and experessing that through Lady Cheeky, the non-fiction erotica I was writing and the sexual relationships I was having. I’ve never enjoyed anything as much as I enjoy what I do now. So, even though the journey was fraught with some pain and drama, the result is who I have become which is actually a happy person who likes herself … flaws and all. I’m now someone who feels whole and free because I’ve discovered and integrated my sensual self into who I am and I feel balanced and complete as a result.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I wish I had a typical day! Lol I wake up super early and make coffee, answer emails, write a bit, then walk my dog. I come back and sit at the computer again, writing, doing some contracted work or social media for certain companies, curating the LadyCheeky site, reading up on the latest sex ed studies and news, planning a schedule for the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education, and working on my book to name a few. Right now I’m focused on creating a keynote on consent for Berkeley’s sex week on October 29th. I’m super excited about that.
What is the most rewarding or fun part of your work?
It’s going to sound schmaltzy but it’s the interaction with people when I’m teaching or speaking… being a permission giver. I never thought I would get so much satisfaction from seeing someone’s face when they realize that (for instance) anal sex shouldn’t hurt or that their sexiness has nothing to do with their body or that it’s possible to have an orgasm without ejaculating, or that a vibrator doesn’t desensitize you from having orgasms with your partner. People just want to know that they are “normal,” and while I don’t believe in defining “normal,” I do believe in letting people know that there is nothing wrong with them. Sex educator Kate McCombs, calls it being a “Beacon of Permission.” So, the most rewarding part of what I do is being a permission giver.
What are some challenges you’ve faced, or the hardest part of your work?
Hmmmm, well the big challenges have been self-imposed really – but more broadly, the most challenging part of what I do is figuring out different ways to explain and communicate about sex and/or sex & body image, effectively and responsibly so that whomever I’m speaking with can really understand and make it personal to them. I think taking in information that you can instantly personalize is the best way someone can learn and integrate that learning most powerfully.
How do you experience and overcome slut-shaming, or criticism about your field of work?
I think perhaps, because of my age and who I surround myself with I don’t experience a lot of slut-shaming thank goodness. Criticism is a different story. When people who are not in my field criticize me, I see if there’s an opportunity there to explain what I do truthfully, but in a way that they can take in. If there isn’t, I just agree to disagree and move on. I rarely engage in arguments if I can help it because most of the time there’s no fruitful result. However, if I witness someone being criticized or slut-shamed it’s hard for me to shut up. In those cases I really have to watch myself!
What advice do you have for women who might be interested in working in this industry?
DO IT! It’s probably not going to make you rich but it’s incredibly rewarding. Know your stuff and keep up on it. Always keep up with the latest sexual health news and really look at studies critically. With sex, there are a lot of studies done by self reporting, and/or studies done with a small number of respodents or participants. Keep an open mind and challenge how conclusions are come to and how the study was performed. Use good judgement before you form an opinion. Recognize that in many cases – especially when giving out facts about individually reported experiences, that there are many factors about sexuality that make us all beautifully different and let that inform your advice or teaching.
As a sex coach, educator, and speaker – what are some of the most common questions or concerns you hear? Is there a theme to the answers you give?
I hear a lot of questions regarding; erectile dysfunction, how one can have a squirting orgasms and A LOT about how to enjoy sex when you are self conscious about your body. If I have a theme at all to my answers it errs on the side of slowing down, paying attention to your breathing, calming the mind and focusing attention on how your body is reacting and how your partner’s body reacts to touch or sensation.
If someone is feeling shame, guilt, or embarrassment about their own sexuality, what advice would you give them?
Seek out books, websites or even documantaries on, or by people who’s sexual attitude is one you admire. The important thing to remember is that there is no “normal”, as long as you’re not causing harm to another or yourself (without consent), AND what you are doing is always consensual, there’s nothing to be ashamed of … sexuality is diverse and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
What are some resources you’d recommend for readers to learn more about their own sexuality?
My new favorite resource is Cyndi Darnell’s Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal pay per view sex-ed videos. They are unique, modern and very inexpensive to watch. They contain so much great information in 30 minute modules that I cannot stop recommending them.
For teens or young adults I highly recommend www.Scarleteen.com or www.sfsi.org. Both will answer questions accurately and without judgement, and both have resources to give out for further exploration, including resources for fetish or kink inquiries. SFSI.org (San Francisco Sex Information) has a switchboard where questions can be answered anonymously as well. Local LGBTQIA organizations usually have help lines that can point callers toward helpful resources, and all of the above are equipped to address myriad subjects. I’m also a fan of About Sexuality which is where sex educator Cory Silverberg answers questions and writes about sexuality and sex and disability.
Thanks for chatting with me! Before you go, do you have any plugs or upcoming projects you’re working on that we can look forward to?
Well, October 29th I’ll be giving the keynote address on Shame, Sex and Consent at Berkeley’s Sex Week and November 15th the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education is presenting an intensive with Tristan Taormino on Poly relationiships which is not to be missed. Other than that I’ll have a book coming out next year on body image and sex, so keep your eyes peeled!