Here at the Sex Education Forum we often receive enquiries from people who are interested in pursuing a career in Relationships and Sex Education and are looking for advice on how to get started. So we asked one of our partners, Split Banana, to share their experience and tips.
Split Banana is a social enterprise that delivers relationship and sex education in three ways: by running RSE workshops with young people; by training teachers; and by hosting RSE art projects in creative and community settings.
There isn’t really one way to get into RSE, which can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it means the sex-ed space is filled with people from all kinds of backgrounds, with different skills and expertise. However it is also a curse because, as far as a ‘career path’ goes, there doesn’t seem to be one straight one. This means the space can also be one of privilege where those who are in positions to take risks, spend money on courses and volunteer their time for free can access more opportunities. That however is changing. Society is increasingly recognising the value in quality RSE, and there are a growing number of sex-ed organisations. It’s an exciting time to explore sex education!
Our top tips would be:
Think about what kind of context you want to be working in. RSE is vast! To give people the best chance at enjoying safe and happy experiences, we need people working on it from all angles. Do you want to be a teacher? Therapist? Counsellor? Sexual health practitioner? Writer? Journalist? Lawyer? Activist? All of these are needed for better sex-ed.
Listen/ read/ learn from as many different people as possible. Sex-ed shouldn’t just come from one persons head, but often it still does. And more often than not that sex-ed tends to be it’s white, heteronormative, and ignores disabilities. Make sure your research reflects the multitudes of lived experiences, and that your work looks at the wider systems that impact people’s experiences of sex and relationships.
Reach out to people and organisations. My experience of the RSE space is that it’s filled with lovely people who are happy to have a chat, give advice and often have opportunities to get involved. We know that it’s a space which is of huge importance but often lacking opportunities, so we want to support people as best we can.
And whatever you do end up doing, keep connecting! As there’s such little investment in RSE it means providers and organisations are forced to compete. But real, exciting change only comes when there’s collaboration.
Anna + Matilda
Co-founders and Directors of Split Banana
Split Banana are partners of the Sex Education Forum.