Interview Kelly Connell

Would you like to share your name?

Sure. Kelly J. Connell, M.S.Ed., Ed.D(c)

What prompted you to learn more to become a Love Coach or a Sexpert?

As a teaching assistant for an undergraduate Human Sexuality Class and an employee of Planned Parenthood, I began to feel that if people were educated about sexuality they would become more comfortable with their own sexuality which would result in healthier relationships as well as people being more comfortable with pregnancy and STD/HIV prevention. I really began to see sexuality as a quality of life issue which can affect each aspect of our lives. Sexuality is something that is studied in a multi-disciplinary facet as you can look at it from many perspectives including psychological, sociological, anthropological, culturally, biological, etc. and sexuality is much more than sexual behavior, or intercourse rather it encompasses all we are and we value it for the pleasure it derives us. I knew I wanted to spend my life helping people reach become educated about sexuality so their quality of life would be improved.

What is your title? Love Coach – Sexpert – Party Planner – etc –

I am a Sexuality Educator and Consultant. I guess you could use the term “sexpert” to describe me.

In a few sentences, how do you describe what you do?

I provide education, training and consulting to a variety of populations regarding many sexuality issues. I have worked with a variety of populations including underserved at risk youth, college students, medical professionals, support groups and senior citizens. My emphasis has been on sexuality and health care issues including sexuality in persons with chronic illness/disability.

How long have you worked in this industry?

About 19 years

Speaking of the industry – how do you classify the industry or business that you work in?

I am not sure what you mean by classify. I would say as a sexuality educator I work in a variety of settings, including health care, education, public speaking and consulting

If you have a main focus or niche – what is it?

Sexuality and health care issues. Working with health care providers and patients.

What lead you to that specialty?

Seeing how patients are grossly underserved by health care providers when it comes to addressing sexuality issues, and the lack of education and comfort among both patients and health care providers when it comes to how health care issues can affect sexuality and how sexual function issues can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem. Fewer than 1/3 of medical schools in the US offer any classes or training on sexuality issues yet patients report they feel their health care provider is the appropriate person to address sexuality issues.

What has been the hardest thing about your work?

Getting paid. Funding for anything but abstinence only education dried up during the Bush administration. It can be hard to find places with any money in their budget to pay you for your work.

The conservatives who fight any type of sexuality education other than abstinence only, who don’t want us in the schools and who have an agenda that includes preventing any kind of comprehensive sexuality education that includes discussion and acceptance of LGBT persons, as well as any approach to sexuality that does not focus on the negative aspects of sex. I was shocked the first time someone approached me and told me how wrong they think I am for doing what I do for a living. I was not prepared for such a negative reaction.

People expecting free advice and services when they meet me casually and find out what I do for a living. Everyone has a “friend” with a problem, and while teachable moments exist where you least expect them, sometimes when I am out or at the Dr. or at a party, I just want to be the customer etc.

What has been the easiest thing about your work?

Having a genuine passion for what I do. Not everyone gets to do something they love for a living.

What has been the most rewarding thing about your work?

Knowing I have made a difference in people’s lives. Recently I agreed to meet with a woman in a nursing home who has a debilitating chronic illness and had some serious questions about sexuality. I did this pro bono because I found out she was on Medicaid and had no extra money. I have never had anyone so happy to have me work with them. At the end of our time together I knew I had made a difference in the way she viewed herself as a capable sexual person and it once again reinforced my knowing why I do what I do. Giving people information, skill building, or even just leaving them with some things to think about can really alter the way they relate to themselves and others when it comes to sexuality. Knowing I have contributed to a positive experience and change for them is very rewarding.

What education do you have to do this sort of work?

I have a Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania and am currently completing my dissertation for my Doctorate in the same at Widener University. If you want to be an educator this is recommended. You can also go the clinical route and become a certified therapist, which is something else I am working on. Many who go the clinical route have a degree in Social Work as well. I definitely think one needs education specialized in human sexuality. There are many people out there billing themselves as sexpert or sex educators that really have no formal training in sexuality.

What additional training did you feel that you needed to do more for your clients?

I need to complete my Doctorate. I am submitting my paperwork to AASECT to become a certified educator. For my career goals I need the Doctorate Degree. Some can meet their goals with a Master’s.

Tell us about your business.

I have www.sexpertkelly.com which is a fun website with mainstream news stories and articles I write about sex and sex tips etc. Soon I will be launching www.kellyconnellconsulting.com which will be used to market myself in many capacities. I am an educator, consultant, public speaker, and am qualified to do many things including teach, work with groups/organizations on curriculum development, policies and procedures, facilitate small groups, work with patients and health care providers in support groups or trainings. I hope to be doing a lot of different things with this.

How long have you been in business?

I have been a sexuality educator for about 19 years.

Did you expand an existing business to include love and relationship coaching?

Not yet but I am considering becoming a relationship/sex coach and adding this to my consulting services.

Do you have a website and/or blog?

www.Sexpertkelly.com which is now undergoing renovations

www.Kellyconnellconsulting.com which I hope will be launched soon.

How could someone get in touch with you?

My email is connell.kelly@gmail.com

Who are your favorite types of client?

Anyone who is open to learning.

Would you like to share your most unusual experience?

I don’t know that I have had the most unusual experience yet. J I did have a 2nd year Family Medicine Resident tell me until I have my presentation he didn’t know people in wheelchairs could HAVE sex. This was disturbing on many levels.

How do you promote your business?

I have a facebook fan page, I twitter, Linkedin, and other social networking sites. I go to conferences. I write articles for other websites. I look for local opportunities and may do something free or at a reduced cost in exchange for a recommendation.

Have you written any books or developed any products specifically for your clients?

Not yet but I have a book possibly in the works.

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