Today we want to introduce one of our long-time followers and the creator of a wonderful project @thebettersexedproject. Jess Douglas-Monks is a sexual health and well-being advocate who is now pursuing her dream of becoming a psychologist and sexologist. A year ago, Jess created @thebettersexedproject with the intention of providing a safe space for people of all genders & sexual preferences to discuss everything about sex, pleasure, their bodies, openly and relationships without judgment.
Hi Jess, can you introduce yourself?
I'm Jess, I live in Australia and I'm a psychology student & student sexologist.
I am also married and a mum of 3 gorgeous children.
What exactly is The Better Sex Project about?
The Better Sex Ed Project is about providing a safe, inclusive space for people to learn about sex, pleasure and relationships.
It began as an account for me to be able to be more open about myself and the things I've learned/am learning, as well as to document my journey to becoming a sexologist, but it quickly turned into more of an educational account, and is now a business and a brand.
You are studying to become a sexologist. Can you tell us more about your journey? What inspired you to pursue studies in sexology?
So I'm currently studying an undergrad in psychology, and intend to finish that next year then do my Masters in Sexology.
I'm also doing and have done different courses on sex, RSE (relationships and sexuality education), sexual pain and many other areas alongside those studies.
The reason I chose to do this is because I love sex and pleasure and I love to communicate with others about it. I hate the stigma and the shame that people have (although I understand where it comes from) and I want to help people rid themselves of that shame and be able to live lives full of pleasure and self acceptance.
What do you love the most about what you do?
I love seeing people grow in their confidence when it comes to their sexuality and sexual expression once they've been following my account for a while. What I do essentially just gives people permission to express themselves and their sexual identity freely, which I think is really beautiful and very healing.
What are some things that most people do not know about you?
My husband and I have been together since we were 14 and because of this, people always incorrectly assume I'm straight (absolutely not, very Queer thank you!) and that we've only ever slept with each other, which just shows that as a society we have a strong misunderstanding of the nuances of relationships, and the strength of the heteronormative gaze.
What is the best/useful sex advice you ever received?
It's about the journey, not the destination. Orgasms are not the be all and end all of a sexual experience.
If you could give just one piece of advice to women on sex and desire, what would it be?
Your sexuality and sexual expression belongs to you and you alone. Nobody every gets to tell you how you should feel or how you should act. If someone has a problem with you and the way you express your sexuality, that is THEIR problem, not yours. If they try to shame you for expressing your sexuality, that is them projecting their own shame on to you- it has nothing to do with you, so don't ever change the way you are to suit someone else. No one else gets to dictate your sexuality to you either.
Your best advice on communicating in the bedroom?
Actually communicate. The number one issue that people have with sex is that they don't communicate about it!
People think that sex should just come naturally (pardon the pun) in a relationship, but it absolutely won't all the time. Most of us have never been taught to communicate our sexual needs and most of us have been taught that there is inherent shame in discussing sex, which leads to dissatisfaction, resentment and often, the end of a relationship. Through teaching people how to communicate what they want with their sexual partner effectively, I really hope to prevent that from happening when possible.
Is there anything you personally struggle with when it comes to sexuality and your sex life?
Speaking up about what is working for me or not working for me (see, even I struggle with communication sometimes!) but I am being very mindful of this and trying to get better at it.
Do you think that sex education standards at schools are improving?
Not in Australia. There are definitely organisations and individuals that are striving for this to happen, so at least SOME Australian children will end up getting decent RSE, but as our education is run state by state, there is no Federal push for a mandated National RSE Curriculum that guarantees all Australian children will receive comprehensive RSE, and until that happens, I can't see much changing.
What do you wish you learnt about sexuality when you were growing up?
That being straight and getting married is just ONE way to live your life. It's just one of many options. Also, that being a sexual person is nothing to be ashamed of, and pleasure is something we should be proud of embracing and sharing with others.
ARE YOU LOOKING TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR PARTNER?
Check out our COMMUNICATION FOR LOVERS GUIDES