Amy Levine, M.A., is a sexologist and sexuality educator in New York City. She received her Master's Degree in Human Sexuality from New York University, and certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. She spent a decade at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States and has written for the excellent Go Ask Alice! website. She makes her home on the web at SexEdSolutions.com.
So what does it mean to be a sexologist-slash-sexuality educator?
It means I've spent years studying the research, learning the facts, keeping up-to-date with new trends and findings in the field, and educating others, making a difference in their lives.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was 12, I wanted to be an interior designer. In college I declared it as my major, and found out the program was being phased out. Now, I'm all about feeling good about my surroundings, and being empowered about sexuality. And, for the record having sex in a well-designed and dressed room with a compatible partner is the ultimate sexual experience. Oh yeah, and a high thread count if you're having sex in bed.
And how did you end up where you are?
I've always been the go-to girl for sexuality information. Growing up I was the one who my peers would seek out, because they knew that in my family, talking about sexuality wasn't taboo. When I got to college in the late '80s, while my circle of friends was an entirely new crew, my role remained the same--I was always tracked down to provide sexuality advice.
Turns out the condoms that the university was providing students were bursting and friends asked what they should do. I made an appointment with one of the directors of the health center to find out how we can change the condom brand. She let me know the free condoms they distributed were high on the Consumer Report list, not to mention, due to bureaucracy, it was impossible to switch. The next day, that director called to offer me a position in the health center handing out condoms and sexual health information. From there, I became a peer educator on campus and learned in my training why the condoms were breaking...no one was pinching the tip and getting the air out before doing the deed--a surefire scenario that causes condoms to burst. I educated my friends. The rest is history. I found my calling--a career as a sexuality educator. (If you're still buying your condoms at the drugstore, then we have a video that you need to see!)
Describe for us a typical day in your work life?
A day is anything but typical. Sometimes I sit in front of the computer in the morning with an idea about my next project, and before I know it's 10 p.m. Other days, I walk around the city and take in all the sex-related things that are happening in my periphery--billboards, couples making out, singles talking about the date they had last night, the sex they recently had or want to have, the couple that's blissfully in love, the other couple that's miserable together, how people touch each other--you get the idea. I'll even let you in on a little secret. Sometimes, when I'm on the train, to pass the time, I look at everyone's faces and think about what they look like when they come. I also coach people who want to overcome a certain sex-related issue or learn something about their body or pleasing their partner that no one ever explained to them, or they need more information about. Sometimes, all of this happens in the same 24-hour period.
What do you think would surprise people most about what it's like doing this for a living?
It's not a job, it's part of who I am. Also, it's safe to say that unless you're a voyeur who is peering into my windows, you'll never see me naked as a publicity stunt.
How does your day job affect your relationship?
I started dating my husband when I was 32. So, for many years I was single. When dating guys the question about work was inevitable. The guys who had a devious grin were weeded out very quickly. The others often asked intelligent questions--the real way to get me interested and in my pants. In my relationship with my husband no topic is off limits, definitely a positive result of my career choice. We talk about our needs and desires, my thoughts about getting a happy ending at a massage parlor--it's not okay, besides I'm really good at using my hands!--and a whole lot more. (Find out how Em & Lo's sex blog has improved their sex lives.)
What's a sexologists most embarassing sex moment? Click here to find out!
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