I’m guessing that this won’t surprise anyone, but I’m a sex geek. I’ve been studying, learning, talking, and teaching about sex for over 20 years and I continue to find it endlessly fascinating, complex, and fun.
Though I’ve described myself as a sex geek for a while, I decided that I wanted to explore what that means, so I turned to facebook and twitter. After all, I’m connected to a lot of other sex geeks and I wanted to get their input. I found some really interesting trends in their responses.
Interest in sex
First off (and unsurprisingly), people said that a big part of being a sex geek is being really interested in sexuality. Some of them were academic scholars who had spent a lot of money on university degrees, while others had gone for a less formal approach. Wherever they fell on that spectrum, several of them spoke about having gathered amazing collections of books, research articles, and bookmarked websites. Others mentioned the tendency to connect whatever news or current events they hear about to sexuality, sexual politics, or other related topics. And one person specifically mentioned getting daily google news alerts for “masturbation”, “orgasm”, “sex education” and “erotic.”
It makes sense- geeking out about anything usually involved learning and thinking about it a lot. As one person put it, part of being sex geek is:
When sex as a subject is something you find completely fascinating. You seek out knowledge and soak every little bit up like a sponge. You’re on a constant quest to find out more and to share the info you find.
Another phrased it as:
a long-term, sustained, passionate and consuming thirst for knowledge, of the “data” variety, the “insight” variety and/or the “personal/physical experience” variety…This isn’t just about personal curiosity; it’s an interest in information and ideas about sex that simply never turns off, and that extends to the academic, the practical, and the political.
Sharing sexual knowledge
Several people also mentioned talking about sex a lot, whether with friends, at parties, or other social gatherings. Quite a few work as sex educators, relationship coaches, or sexologists, and I wonder how many of them got into the field because it seemed to make sense to make a living doing what they were already doing for free. That was certainly part of my motivation. But even the dedicated non-professionals said that the topic comes up a lot in conversations, often because other people ask them questions.
So while it’s not a requirement, there is a correlation between being a sex geek and sharing one’s knowledge. As some people put it:
It’s being excited to have the opportunity to talk with people about any and all aspects of sex, but especially about those topics for which I have the most passion.
You’re on a constant quest to find out more and to share the info you find.
someone who gets so excited about information, research and teaching in sexuality that they can’t help diving into it and sharing it with others
Making it personal
Another common thread that emerged is the tendency to take all of that information and apply it to one’s own sex life. For some, it was a process of experimentation: “That sounds interesting. Let’s try it!” Or perhaps it was the desire to improve and enhance one’s own sexual skill or relationships that led them down the path of sex geekery. There’s a way in which sex geeks hack their own sexual operating systems by exploring what makes them tick and looking for ways to make things run more smoothly. For one person:
Sexuality, for me, is not a black box, but a complicated thing that begs to have the case opened and its insides rearranged FOR GREAT JUSTICE! Or, great orgasms, or whatever.
and another added that you’re a sex geek:
when you’re just as turned on by WHY you’re doing something as you are by the FACT that you’re doing it.
Having had quite a few sex geek lovers and playmates, I can say that it’s quite entertaining to be in the middle of sex and realize that we’ve shifted into “experiment” mode. Quite often, it leads to some really amazing discoveries. And even without the science lab aspect to a particular sexual encounter, sex geeks are often talented and skilled lovers who have dedicated a lot of time into learning how to give and receive pleasure. Sex geeks are usually a lot of fun. (I’m working on a follow up post about how being a sex geek shapes one’s sexual practices and relationships. I welcome input, from sex geeks and their partners, either below or through my contact page.)
When sex geeks discover a sexual practice they’ve never heard of before, their response is usually along the lines of, “Wow! That’s new to me. Tell me about that.” Or “where can I find more information?” That’s quite different from the more common responses of “that’s weird” or “huh?” I think that’s at least partly because once you’ve really studied and explored the incredible range of human sexuality, you come to recognize the difference between something being unfamiliar and something being weird or bad.
That’s not to say that everyone who geeks out about sex is deeply sex-positive and non-judgmental. The folks I surveyed were friends, colleagues, and professional acquaintances of mine, there’s a selection bias since I unfriend people if I find out that they shame or attack people because of their sexualities. But I am quite confident that sex geeks as a group are much less likely to judge or shame people for their sexual practices or identities than a random selection of people in general.
It’s not always about you
One of the respondents started calling themselves a sex geek once their interest in sex “went beyond titillation.” And another said that a sex geek is:
Someone who can talk about, explore, ponder sex intellectually and with enthusiasm without making it about their libido.
I agree with that- although part of being a sex geek is applying information to one’s own sex life, part of it is also being able to discuss it without making it about oneself. After all, it can’t always be about you! Being a sex geek means being interested in experiences and perspectives that you haven’t explored or have no personal interest in, simply because you find it fascinating, or professionally relevant, or a useful bit of information to pass along to someone else.
Sex geeks follow many different paths. Some are sexuality professionals while many aren’t. They range across all of the different spectra of sexuality- orientation, desire, practices, relationship structure, etc. And for the record, I know an asexual sexologist, so you don’t even have to want to have sex yourself to be a sex geek. (Though in all fairness, I don’t know if they’d describe themselves as a sex geek.) But there are some common threads that many sex geeks share:
- a deep and abiding interest in sexuality
- an interest in talking about sex with other people and helping them improve their relationship to sexuality and other people
- applying that information to one’s own life
- a sex-positive perspective
- the awareness that a lot of sexuality information isn’t about oneself
If you’re a sex geek and you want to show it, you can pick up one of these awesome shirts from Reid Mihalko. They’re super comfy and guaranteed to start an interesting conversation. Especially at the supermarket.