I am a psychotherapist and an integrative sexuality educator. I’m lucky to have found my calling early in life. Out of necessity I became a sexuality educator as a teenager. My father is an Indian immigrant, and my mother is a Catholic-Italian Brooklynite. I often joke that the only things these two cultures have in common is a love of food and a refusal to EVER talk about sex. I went to high school in the South – another place where they refuse to talk about sex – and I received abstinence-only sex education. So I found myself growing up as a teen – going through things, having friends go through things, having access to the internet – and being forced to “figure it out.” I became a sexuality educator because I had many questions but no one to ask.
During my 10+ years of professional experience working with youth and families, I have respected the major influence parents play in children’s development; however many of these same parents refuse to touch the topic of sexuality because of their own embarrassment, fear, and hang-ups. Sexuality is more than just sexual behaviors, and talking to kids about sexuality opens the door to bigger conversations about love, connection, and what kinds of lives kids want to create.
If parents can learn to face their fears and teach kids that sexuality is innate and inclusive of more than just body parts and behaviors, society can be transformed. Imagine if all kids felt empowered in their bodies and empathetic toward others’ needs. People and communities would be braver, kinder, and more connected. I created BIG Talks to move us toward that goal.