5 MINS WITH SEXOLOGIST, CHERYL FAGAN



We were instantly drawn to your Instagram and how you’ve curated such a beautiful, modern approach to sex. How did you get into sexology and what made you realize this passion? 


Thank you, I’ve been very intentional about creating an online space that is welcoming and approachable because the topic of sex can feel invasive for many people. Through my own questions around sexual intimacy as a teenager and young adult growing up in California where my sex-ed merely consisted of “how to not get pregnant or an STI”, I felt I had so many unanswered questions. I was always open with talking about sex with my friends and family and I started to wonder about the science of sex, particularly what was happening in the mind during sex and how people would become so attached after sex! I was in my first serious relationship, which was long distance, so I had a lot of time to think about the part that sex would play in my relationship and I started researching and felt like I was finding so much interesting, sex positive information, that I felt like my friends did NOT know about, I felt like if people knew the entirety of sexuality, then they would be empowered to make healthy choices that aligned with their values! So, I changed my major in my first year of Uni to Psychology and did my Masters in Sexual and Reproductive Health! The journey for certification is long, but worth it! 



Sex is still a bit of an uneasy topic for both individuals and couples, how can we break down the walls and talk about it more openly?


Well, firstly things like this article! Thank you for creating a space to talk about sex, the more people can find helpful and normalized spaces that talk about sex this can help them to feel more comfortable in having the conversation themselves. I think this is a great question because it seems like sex is everywhere that we digest all forms of media, yet it can be hard to find helpful and meaningful conversation about sex.  


I think we can start talking more openly about sex with our partners if we consider what our fears and holdbacks are with bringing it up, reading more about sex, talking with our friends, and taking the pressure off! I also think it is helpful to have a goal in mind with what you’d like to get across - is it a feeling or fear you want to share, is it a need to be heard or do you want to understand your partner better. Be kind and consider the timing of the conversation as well.  






How important is sex and intimacy in a relationship and how can couples rekindle their spark? 


Sex and intimacy are a very important part of relationship. There is this mystical and sacred aspect of sex that connects on a deep level with another person. A place where you can be known and loved. We learn intimacy through our upbringing so each partner will be bringing different expectations and experiences to the relationship, so it’s SO normal to have things to work through when it comes to this area. I think society teaches us that sex should come easily, naturally, and spontaneously, but sex is so much more complex and really does take intention and effort. If you look up sex on amazon books, there are over 60,000 books, so this is a topic many people care about and even struggle with.  


Sex and intimacy help us feel close to our partner and known, which is a core human desire - to be wanted and worthy of others love and affection. It’s important for individuals to explore what and how they define sex and intimacy, to explore what sex means to them personally and in a relationship, for example, some people may just think sex is a fun pleasurable physical activity while other think it’s deeply spiritual, so it’s important to work out what value you and your partner(s) hold towards sex.  


We love your Closeness Card Deck. Can you tell us a little about it and what inspired you to create it? 



The closeness card deck is a tool to foster everything we’ve been discussing, sex and intimacy. The deck has questions for a couple to take turns asking and answering. If a person is struggling with addressing sex with their partner (be that awkwardness, embarrassment, etc.) this can help take that away! It’s not you that’s asking the question, but the card is! Questions about orgasms, frequency of sex, satisfaction are all in there! I was inspired to create this because I hear from many people their concerns and discomfort with talking about sex (even if you’re having sex), to the point that it’s effecting their sexual pleasure and their relationship! People have lackluster sex lives because they don’t know how to talk about what they like/don’t like, sometimes they never even consider sex could look differently for them until they are posed with a question. From people in their 20’s to those in their 50’s (cough my mom), I have had such great feedback that it’s allowed couples to have open and meaningful conversations about sex! 

 



How do you recommend introducing and educating younger generations to sex, and why is this important? 


It’s so important! Teenagers were actually who I first worked with when it came to sex education. Our sexuality is made up 5 circles - intimacy, sensuality, health and reproduction, identity, and sexualization. As I mentioned before, the media only show the physical side of sex and in the West sex-ed usually consists of fear-based tactics to scare people into using condoms, so young people are left with a lot of gaps. Being a sexually healthy individual means you understand the five areas of sexuality, understanding sexual pleasure, consent, healthy relationships and boundaries, so that you are empowered to make healthy choices. Sex has to do with our entire wellbeing, so its’ important young people learn factual information about sex! I recommend reading material or even discussing the media young people consume, if you’re watching a show together afterwards talk about how sex and relationships were displayed, create an open and safe place for young people to ask questions, we’re all curious about sex, it’s normal part of sexual development, for parents or youth workers I think it’s about a bunch of small and frequent conversations rather than one loaded and intense sit down when puberty hits.   



get in touch with Cheryl:

instagram | @cherylfagan

website | cherylfagan.org



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