Laura Knowles, Ph.D
Let's Talk About Sex

As a therapist, educator and parent I am incredibly concerned about the way intimacy is discussed, or not discussed in our culture. Health classes often cover the internal reproductive organs, and not much else. Schools often sponsor outside speakers who preach, or yell, about abstinence and spread potentially dangerous and hurtful misinformation about purity, virginity and contraception. What I find most distressing is how little attention is paid to communication between partners, relationship dynamics and mutual enjoyment.  If all we teach is anatomy and abstinence how will young people learn what a healthy, mutually pleasurable sexual relationship looks like? I fear we focus too much on the 'when' portion of the conversation and miss the opportunity to directly address consent, sexual objectification, power dynamics, cultural and religious wisdom, gender roles and expectations.  

After working at college counseling centers, conducting therapy with young couples, researching the emotional impact of STDs, completing my dissertation on sexual assault and volunteering as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault/domestic abuse, I began to see patterns of misinformation and misunderstanding around sexual expression in both young men and women. For all of these reasons (and many more....I could seriously write a dissertation on this topic) I decided to begin lecturing and offering psychoeducational groups focused on sexual intimacy.  

Below is a list of my primary offerings.  However, if your organization is in need of something different please don't hesitate to ask.  If I can't help you, I can probably point you in the right direction towards someone who can. 
  • Intimacy Education (aka Sex Ed) - the basics of anatomy and reproduction, plus the relational and emotional aspects of psychical intimacy
  • Healthy Relationships 101 - what does a healthy teen relationship look like? Boundaries, consent, coercion, abuse and manipulation are all discussed.
  • Choices - a nonjudgmental discussion of early decisions about intimacy and sexual expression. Focus is on being true to one's self and making healthy decision they can be proud of.
  • #TimesUp - What comes after the Women March and #MeToo? How do we help everyone adjust to current expectations of intimate behavior? Thinking beyond 'assault or not assualt' paradigms.