Juliet Allen, sexologist
Success for me is being true to myself and laughing lots ...
Regardless of whether you’re having it, trying to get it, or shooing it away, the topic of sex can sometimes feel inescapable. From the blurred lines of love and lust, to the intricacies of long-term relationships, the full scope of human sexuality is all part of a standard workday for Gold Coast sexologist, Juliet Allen. As a sexuality coach, educator, writer and columnist, the local mum runs enlightening workshops and events across Australia, while also mentoring young people via community-based programs and support groups. In the middle of a very busy week preparing for her 7 Habits of Sexually Empowered Women workshop in Burleigh Heads on October 29, and an upcoming Hot Sex + Powerful Intimacy e-course for women, which will kick off on November 3, Juliet took time out to explain to The Weekend Edition why Australians need to talk about sex more.
Can you tell us a bit about your career history – when and how did you get into this field of work?
I studied psychology as my undergrad degree, then went on to become a yoga teacher and doula, then became a mum, which is my biggest achievement. I became a sexologist because I’m passionate about sex and passionate about empowering people to experience more amazing sex, and with a background in psychology I loved the idea of studying my masters in sexology – so I did! And here I am, running my own business and absolutely loving it.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
Every day includes my morning walk at the beach and a coffee at my local. My work is very diverse and changes from day to day. At the moment, I spend my days coaching clients, consulting on sex education projects, planning events and workshops, writing my new Hot Sex + Powerful Intimacy e-course and answering Q&As on my Ansell Sexology Q&A and column.
What’s the best thing about being you right now?
I get to work for myself, talk about sex all day long and work on projects that I’m passionate about. I get to set my own work hours and be the best mum possible to my daughter. I also get to live in a beautiful location and wake up next to the beach.
What fascinates you about sexuality?
How diverse and amazingly different we all are sexually. I absolutely love hearing people’s stories and being a part of people’s sexual exploration and sexual journey. For me, exploring my own sexuality has been by far the most rewarding, challenging and fun part of life!
What are the challenges in your line of work?
The biggest challenge for me is the fact that sex is still a taboo topic in our culture. Sex isn’t spoken about freely enough, and honest and open conversations aren’t encouraged and supported. This leads to a lot of shame and guilt surrounding the topic of sex so my biggest challenge is to give people the permission to open up and embrace who they are sexually and ask for what they want.
What do you hope to achieve in your career over the long term?
I’m already achieving my goal of empowering women to talk about sex more and embrace who they are and how they want to feel sexually. My biggest goal is to develop amazing workshops and accessible online courses for women that allow them to explore their sexuality and get exactly what they want sexually.
What are the most common questions you’re asked in your role as a sexologist?
The biggest question would be ‘Do you have sex with your clients?’ and my answer is NO! I’m a professional woman who talks about and educates others on sex – sleeping with clients definitely doesn’t fit into my definition of sexologist. The other question is ‘Are you obsessed with sex and are you a sex maniac?’. The answer is yes and no. I believe a healthy sex life is definitely important and I wouldn’t settle for anything less, but I’m also human and some days sex is the last thing on my mind!
If we lured the Australian public into one spot, sat them down and handed you a microphone – what’s one key message you’d like to get across about sex?
Don’t be afraid to say you love and want amazing, satisfying sex. Embrace your sexual nature, seek out powerful sexual experiences and explore what makes you feel amazing as a sexual being. Sex is a healthy and natural part of life, we need to embrace and encourage that in everyone.
You’ve argued that there’s a lack of holistic sexuality education for young people, what do you think members of the community, parents and policy makers need to do to change this?
We definitely need to talk about sex more and create supportive and safe environments for young people to explore this part of life. We need to educate ourselves on sexuality and sexual diversity, and be honest and open with young people. Young people are engaging in sex and are intrigued by sex … Holistic sex education should be compulsory in all schools. This isn’t as simple as showing young people how to put a condom on a banana; this involves talking about the emotional side of sex, the pleasurable side of sex and basic anatomy of our bodies to create awareness and understanding. I also believe all sex education needs to be inclusive of the LGBTIQ community and this can be done by allowing for more education and awareness around this within the community, especially for policy makers and teachers.
You’re a facilitator and educator at Wesley Mission QSPACE on the Gold Coast, as well as a REALSkills facilitator at The Family Centre, what can you tell us about these roles?
QSPACE is a drop-in centre for young people on the Gold Coast who are questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity. I’ve been a volunteer mentor and facilitator at QSPACE for nearly three years and now run the sex education workshops. As a facilitator and mentor, we create a space for young people to feel supported and educated, and this gives them the opportunity to explore their sexuality and/or gender identity. Working at QSPACE is very rewarding and the young people really do inspire me with their strength and courage.
You run educational and empowering workshops around the country, what concerns you most about the sex lives of Australians?
What concerns me most is that we aren’t talking about sex enough … This leads to myths and lies being formed and people don’t have an outlet to talk about this and explore the topic with others. I believe so many people secretly want more sex, and more powerful, satisfying sex, but they don’t know how to get it or where to go to explore that side of themselves. My mission is to create a culture where we can talk about sex more and feel comfortable and empowered doing so.
What’s your definition of success?
My personal definition of success is waking up with energy, being an amazing mother, creating empowering and inspiring relationships with my partner and family and friends, and pursuing my career dreams and goals. Success for me is being true to myself and laughing lots. Plus having heaps of great sex, of course.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … Burleigh Heads ocean swim and sun.
Relax … Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.
Indulge … coffee at Canteen Coffee, Burleigh Heads.
Shop… American Apparel.
Be inspired … travelling and drinking lots of coffee.