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Gender Stories
Healing sex education for the next generation
October 03, 2018 Alex Iantaffi
Gender Stories

Healing sex education for the next generation

October 03, 2018

Alex Iantaffi

Justin Hancock, a fantastic, experienced and qualified UK-based sex and relationships educator chats with Alex Iantaffi about the role of gender in sex education, consent, power and privilege and so much more! Justin is also the co-host of the fabulous Meg-John & Justin podcast, as well as co-author (with Meg-John Barker) of Enjoy Sex (How, when and IF you want to). You can find his podcast and educational zines co-created with Meg-John Barker at Find out about their training courses and resources at and find their sex education website for everyone over 14 at
Justin Hancock, a fantastic, experienced and qualified UK-based sex and relationships educator chats with Alex Iantaffi about the role of gender in sex education, consent, power and privilege and so much more! Justin is also the co-host of the fabulous Meg-John & Justin podcast, as well as co-author (with Meg-John Barker) of Enjoy Sex (How, when and IF you want to). You can find his podcast and educational zines co-created with Meg-John Barker at Find out about their training courses and resources at and find their sex education website for everyone over 14 at

Episode Transcript

Singer:0:03I want to tell you about. Adventures dangerous and queer. Some you can guess and some I've only hinted at. So please lend me your ear.

Narrator:0:32Everyone has a relationship with gender. What's your story? Hello and welcome to Gender Stories with your host, Dr Alex Iantaffi.

:0:43So welcome to another episode of Gender Stories. I'm your host, Alex Iantaffi and I'm super excited to be talking with Justin Hancock of Bish Training and also the Meg-John and Justin Podcast. Amazing. Metamauthor. What that means is that Justin also writes with Meg-John Barker and I also write with Meg-John Barker, so that's kind of where that connection is coming from. I really admire Justin as a sex educator and the Meg-John and Justin podcast has really inspired me to kind of start my own podcast. So I'm just really super excited to be interviewing Justin today.

:1:20Well thank you so much for having me.

:1:21Yeah, I kind of think of, you know, I've had so many amazing guests. I was like, everybody. I'm like, I'm always so excited, dear listeners and it's true.

Justin:1:30Well, I love listening to a big fan of your podcast is really great. So I love how you get to the. You tell so many different gender stories and you, we were able to reframe gender in a really a warm and inclusive and very diverse way that really includes everyone, so it's a thrill to be involved.

Alex:1:50Oh, thank you. So Justin, a lot of your work is really around sex education and um, and you're an amazing sex educator based here in London, in the UK. And the first question I have for you really, it's, um, tell me a little bit about how you feel sex education intersects with gender. So what's the relationship between sex education and gender in your experience?

Justin:2:15I think that, um, it kind of, it doesn't intersect in the way that I think it probably should, um, I think sadly a lot of sex education, particularly in the UK, um, is still very much based on kind of very old fashioned ideas about gender and that men do this, women do this and uh, the, there is only a, there is any kind of. It's very straight, very aimed at straight kids, yet really let's down a lot of straight kids whilst some at the same time excluding anyone who isn't straight, um, I very much kind of, it perpetuates the ideas of masculinity and femininity, which I think are really unhelpful, particularly things like consent and things like, um, safer sex. It's always kind of construed as that, uh, men are inherently predatory and always trying to get sex and more interested in sex and they are interested in love and the reverse is true for women and that women have to kind of repel the advances of man. I think that's sadly kind of a lot of sex education, retells those narratives mean where it should be, is being much more critical and opening up gender, allowing people to explore their gender in the way that, you know, your podcast and your, um, on your book you wrote with MJ does, "How to Understand Your Gender", plugging it for you, but whilst also recognizing the so much sex education doesn't talk, doesn't refer to power and doesn't look at the inevitable power imbalances that there are in in sexual and romantic relationships. Um, and so we have to be able to kind of open up a space for young people to work out how to do their own gender by doing much more effective sex education, which is more about them rather than about us as educators and making it much more of a facilitated experience for young people to kind of go there and figure this out for themselves and to give them the tools to be able to do that. Whilst also recognizing that power and privilege and how that has a huge impact on how we negotiate relationships, how to negotiate sex and has a huge, huge impact on consent and how it's easier for some people to ask for what they want and what they don't want from sex and relationships than others. Uh, so yeah, exactly. Yeah. So it's a pretty basic at the moment, but I'm trying to change it.

:4:56You are doing an amazing job because what I don't know happens in the UK, but in the US often, not always, but sometimes people get separated into girls and boys sex education for example, which of course is also disastrous for all the non binary and/or trans kids. But even, like you said, even for like the cis gender straight kid, so even those kids who might really fit into the norms of kind of dominant culture for gender, it's a little bit of a, a bit of a letdown. What do you think, you know, so talk about power and privilege, like you already said some of the things that you think should be in, right? Really good sex education, but how do you think we can kind of move past this very basic like perpetuating almost dominant kind of narratives in sex education? What can we do differently? I guess that's what I'm asking.

:5:50I think the first thing we need to start doing is to um, stop making about what we think young people should learn and to take a completely different approach in the way that we teach. So really to make it more about facilitating really challenging conversations with young, with each other, because most sex education for young people happens outside of the classroom. It happens in the corridor, happens on social media, it happens at home, it happens, uh, in parks, wherever, young people hang out, that's where it's all happening. And so like classrooms or youth group rooms or workshop rooms, need to be a space where we give young people the tools to be able to go away and do that effectively more critically. So I think that's the first thing that we need to do. Um, and I think if we can do that then we can actually do quite a lot of good because one of the issues is that the stuff that we're passing on or trying to pass on is often inherently really heteronormative um, really cis normative, really ablest...

:7:00Racist sometimes.

:7:00Yeah either racist or kind of being like race, like just being, um just glossing over it as if race isn't present.

:7:11People get sexualised according to their race and ethnicity in lots of ways.

:7:16Exactly. And how that. Yeah, and how that can play out. Um, and it's. So that's the reason that that's the first passed on is often that our own sex education has been shit like really, really bad. And that's the thing when I train teachers around this, the thing that I asked them to do is to focus on their, the, their own sex and relationships education. And for them, usually I would train like up to like 16 people in a room and there'd be one person who had like pretty okay stuff. They said it wasn't great. It was okay. Everyone else ranged from either it was nothing and didn't exist or it was terrible or some cases traumatic. Like these teachers are still living with the trauma of sex, of their own sex education,

:8:01while then trying to educate kids.

:8:02Right. So how on earth do we, where do we start? So I'm like

:8:08This is like breaking the chain of intergenerational cultural trauma around sex education. It really is. Not a job for the faint hearted.

Justin:8:17No. And actually one of the things I'm quite, when I'm, I guess I'm one of the more militant sex educators around in the UK, but I really think that bad sex education is worse than no sex education.

:8:30Yes, I would agree with that.

:8:31I really think that young people are much better place to work this stuff out for themselves rather than getting this really bad stuff. The really shaming stuff, the really, um, the stuff which is, um, kind of scaring young people as well trying to scare them off having sex. It's like, oh.

:8:46Oh yeah. There were some young people that were basically taught if you, if you have sex, you're going to get pregnant or you're gonna get HIV and you're going to die. So literally like having sex means getting like a disease which also is getting misrepresented and we can talk about HIV stigma or you know, and I even remember growing up like my best friend was like if I, if I got pregnant and there were a young adult already, so not a minor, like I would rather have an abortion then tell my parents and I said, but what would you want to have that abortion? Or would you just want to avoid this conversation with your parents? What kind of culture do we live in, if we feel like, you know, and often that gets perpetuated, right? It's only like dads talk to boys and about sex and moms talk to girls about sex and they're passing on their trauma and gender relationship in the cis normative, heteronormative way a lot of the time. And so do teachers. And so we're kind of passing on this relational trauma and call it sex education.

:9:50Yeah, I think it's done in a way to kind of close down conversations rather than to open them up and that's the issue that we, I think the scary thing that a lot of adults think is, is that we don't want to reveal to the young people that we don't have our shit sorted about sex and relationships. And I say this all the time. Like I say on my blog posts at I'll say my work with MJ and our podcasts and I say it throughout my resources. Like I'm 42, I teach this. I've been doing sex relationship with education since 1999, so a long time and I, you know, struggle with this stuff all the time and kind of adults in inverted commas are trying to perpetuate this idea that they've got all sorted of people in order to close the conversation down. So really good sex education, good conversations about sex and relationships are a facilitated, like collaborative approach. So for parents, I always say, um, that it's okay to find out stuff together and to chat about stuff together and to chat about things happening in the news and the media without having to talk about ourselves and to keep it normalized and to keep it like a part of the conversation and to knows that this is, uh, this is, uh, this is ground that can be covered and can be talked about this in a way which isn't kind of, I know everything about this and I'm going to teach you all the key messages you need to learn which is just bollox.

:11:17It really is. And it's also, it's like there's often this dilemma of what is age appropriate information when doing sex education. Right? And what fascinates me also is that often what's consider age appropriate changes from gender to gender in dominant culture, right? So what is considered age appropriate for whom, when, how does gender impact that, of course how does race, ethnicity, and class impacts that because I think those are all factors, right? The environment and, and identities and experiences. But if you do that collaborative, if you'd take that collaborative approach in some ways, you're also willing to listen to where the young people are at and often that surprises parents like people think that, um, you know, sex education needs to happen in middle school or even high school. And my experience is that, that point is so late, like young people are not really willing, definitely not willing to listen to their parents if they haven't started to talk to them at a much younger age. And I think there was some research in the US, they even showed that like 11 years old, is the average age of which sometimes young people come across porn online for the first time. I remember my kid telling me, you have no idea what gets talked about in middle school. Um, there's so much misinformation that goes around starting from around second and third grade in my experience, both as a parent and family therapist. And yet we often take on sex education somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16 if we're lucky.

Justin:12:48Yeah, I mean, the thing is, is that yes, it has to happen. Relationships and sex education has to happen throughout the life cycle. I think age appropriateness is, I think quite straightforward to get the young people are getting it, then it's appropriate. If they're not getting it then it's, what are you talking about Justin? And I've been in the, the, the difficulty for sex education in schools is the young people's sexual development and sexual knowledge, um, is so varied. So I often get, um, so one of my resources is called planet porn and I often get people buying my resource and wanting to use it with years eight year nine or something which is under the recommended age. I say years eight and nine that's between 12 and 14. And I'm, I wote that resource really for over 14 year olds and maybe even a bit older. And um, because teachers often have this idea that all young people are looking at porn and actually the most recent, uh, UK research demonstrates that 75 percent of 15 and 16 year olds haven't seen any sexual images at all. And the half of those have sold them on the telly. Things like Game of Thrones or something, so um, so the might be some young people who are looking at porn at the age of 11 and actually going to porn and others for whom, like that's just not on their radar at all.

Alex:14:15And what's interesting to me as well as like who are they talking to because often what I'm finding is the assumption is that boys are looking at porn and girls are not right and the girls need to be talked to about not getting pregnant. And often that's also what I found that both parents and sex educators are more worried about girls than boys because they're like, you know, people can get pregnant getting pregnant and rather than looking at kind of power dynamic. So avoiding abusive relationship for people of all genders. So there's this weird way in which sometimes different people get different bits because of their sex assigned at birth sex education. Does that, am I making sense?

Justin:14:55Definitely true. And I think there are also a lot of the differences around how sex and relationships education is delivered is because of the classroom management issues. Like it's thought that the lads take up too much space, the girls don't get enough time. The problem is, is that there isn't enough of it in the curriculum to get it right for everybody. And also it's not collaborative enough. It's not asking young people what they want and it's not working with them. It's not facilitating conversations, it's telling people have to think. So it's kind of, it's the, if we got the methods right and the, uh, approach, right about how we're meant to teach it, then we'd overcome a lot of those difficulties and also make the space as much themselves model the kinds of diversity and inclusion that we, that we want to have. Um, but there are these huge assumptions made based around gender in terms of what it is that young people are interested in. And I've worked a lot with lads, so I've mostly worked with lads over the years and um, uh, they are really, really interested in talking about love, like really, really into it.

:16:04Yes boys love talking about relationships and intimacy in my experience. That's true.

:16:07And they're also quite chill with talking to each other about it as well. I mean, there are awful lot of misnomers about this and uh, they are, um, on, I was going to say thirsty, but that has a different connotation that they are hungry, hungry in, in when I'm working with, when they're working with me, we're working together that they are asking me about stuff all the time. So yeah, those kinds of, um, because we're not starting with young people and we're not working with them collaboratively. We're not finding that out.

Alex:16:43Yeah, it was interesting and I think that goes across the lifespan. When I was doing this research around, um, aging and sexuality, we decided to have mixed gender focus groups and there were some really moving moments about, um, people talking about their experiences and also being accountable, you know, for, you know, men saying to some of the women in the room, like, when I hear you talk about that, it really brings up those feelings for me about how I was raised or how I was taught and I would teach my grandchildren something different. Right? That in some ways there's this weird thing where sex education is almost like shaping people to enact this kind of gender stereotypes where actually maybe their inner desires quite in a different place. Like I think that we're all wired for connection and boys also need that sense of connection and belonging and wanting to know how to do relationships. And often that's, you know, um, they're not really getting access to the information they need to become skilled at it.

Justin:17:46No and the messages that they receive or that they, that um, you know, men are meant to be active, meant to be actively pursuing relationships and that they have to do a particular kind of masculinity here in order to do that. So they'll have concerns about that. And we're also interested, increasingly interested, um, uh, in, in, in, in different kinds of gender as well. I started wearing nail polish over the last couple of years mainly to cover, I've got psoriasis in my nails and I thought, well, instead of like constantly trying to treat it and I'm just paint over it. And so this has like a, an effect when I'm teaching in a school, particularly with boys that kind of start thinking, oh, well maybe I can start asking gender questions and I can start to ask about nonbinary and about pronouns and um, and it, um, I don't know whether the two are related because actually it's also just more in the conversation now as well on social media and the news, um, but they can feel that they can kind of go there as well and talk about this stuff. So I'm, I'm hoping that that will also get what we also need and how I got into sex education. I actually was doing work with young men around masculinities and um, and trying to really explore the rules that we get around being a man and how narrow they are and the repercussions that you face if you don't conform to those. And, uh, now what a scary place that can be a if you don't conform to the rules of masculinity. So that has to be kind of thrown into the mix here as well as that, you know, that first of all, sex education has to not retell those stories about masculinity but also allow us to challenge them or now allow us to model different kinds of masculinity I think as well.

Alex:19:35Yeah. When we're talking about, uh, you know, the podcast and what I wanted to ask about, one of the questions that I mentioned was that really wanted to ask about how your own identity kind of impacts your work as a sex educator. So you know, your gender identity, but, and, and of course you can talk about any other aspects of your identity that you think impacts the way you interact with young people and teachers when you're doing the train the trainer kind of types of events.

Justin:20:01I mean, I kind of, um, when I first started working in this field back in the day, I got into it through youth work and it was seen as an advantage that if I was going to be doing work around masculinities but also then sex and relationships education primarily with your is how I first got into it. So it was a benefit that I was a man and actually when I was starting out I found that a real disbenefit I found that really, really tricky because men talking to other men about sex was know difficult thing and I think they kind of thought that I'd be able to get through to young men and find these like an inverted commerce, hard to reach or men by, by being a man. And kind of having like a sense that I know everything about them because my masculinity because I have exactly the thing is I have a very different masculinity to all the young men and I was working with and so it's, it doesn't really make any sense. So how I approached it was I going to try and be the very best youth worker, how I got into this and to try and be as professional and as person centerd and reflective in my own practices as I can, I'll use that instead and that seems to work much better.

Alex:21:14What is it that you thought was different by your masculinity? It was the like the way you were do masculinity. Was it an age gap? Because you know, I was a youth worker to a long time ago and you know, there's something about generational gap, right? Even when I was in my early twenties, I was working with teenagers, so the years have passed and different references and all that.

Justin:21:34There were lots of differences in with depending on the kinds of groups of young men that I was working with at the time. So. And the groups that I found most difficult to work with, are those that biographically we're seeing were closest to who I was. So I'm. So I'm from Darby, which is like a small city in the North Midlands and I was from a very particular bit of Darby, which is very, very white working class kind of area and it was with the white working class boys from the area I was brought up in the west end that I had the most difficulty working with and they were like, who the fuck are you kind of thing. Well,

Alex:22:16So you shared identities, but there was something that didn't connect.

Justin:22:19They just really like, they really, they really loathed me. I don't know whether it was, I've never, I don't even really know why. I know that when I started working with different groups, so in, and the, one of the big projects I worked on in Darby was with um young South Asian kids, mostly Pakistani background, like the grandparents would probably, I think Pakistani and Muslim. Uh, and that was super challenging work for lots of different reasons. Uh, but um, and I was on like a steep learning curve, but that was like the most successful youth work that I was doing and I have the most connections that um, I don't know why. I guess there was a benefit to being somebody who is not read as being from your community during work with you and somebody demonstrating empathy because that doing that from because it's their job to do it, to come along and to be as good at that job as they are and to value those young people for who they are rather than, I guess that kind of maybe been perceived to be like somebody's uncle or older brother or you know, someone in it trying to, you know, I guess there was something going on

Alex:23:35That's fascinating because I wonder if also with those boys who had like similar background to yours if there was an element, there was that element of seeing you as like the older brother, the parent, you know, like somebody, like one of the men in their life and having certain and if they've had to perform masculinity in a certain way. So who knows, whether they liked you or not, part of their performing masculinity was to be like dismissive and difficult and challenging and rude when talking about sex that they were actually like just performing what maybe that thought you expected as part of a professional role.

Justin:24:12Yeah that'sprobably a big part of it and it's that, um, the, the me coming along, being somebody from that bit of Darby with like, yeah, those expectations culturally in this very small culture that this is a, yeah, it came with all this baggage that they were reacting against perhaps. Um, but it's, um, I think that's my relationship to this is that clearly I, uh, I am a bloke. I'm cis. I don't usually tell people that I'm straight, but I'm also straight. Um, so there is a kind of, I have to kind of almost, um, work with that rather than work that I kind of have to kind of work alongside that I kind of can't escape how I present to the world. I can't escape how people are reading me, but the way that I have to, the way that I've tried to work is to do this kind of more collaborative and very kind, very non hierarchical kind of work. Which means that I have to almost like disown elements of this kind of potentially quite an authoritative kind of figure. That is that I could be read as if that makes sense. So I kind of to kind of disowned a bit of that I guess like I dissemble a lot, often quite scruffy and I'm a kind of "call me Justin" kind of sex educator and I can disarm myself a lots and try to take a lot of that perceived power away and I kind of mumbled sometimes accidentally swear in class and you know, it's like, um, I have to kind of do a lot of that work in order to really work effectively with lads in particular because um, there's so much potential performance of masculinity going on that I think that we as soon as you can start to really dial that back and then you can, you can get beyond that and actually really get to a place where people are more able to feel vulnerable and more able to talk about actually the stuff that they want this lesson to do for them.

Alex:26:20So it sounds like there's a lot of intention about how you present yourself with young people. No, not in an inauthentic way. Because I feel like you're quite authentic in actually a really vulnerable way, which in some ways often vulnerability is acquainted more with femininity then with masculinity. So presenting in this kind of very kind of vulnerable, open, not no way, but then as a, as you were talking about that this is where my brain is going to make any sense to you as you were talking about that, I was thinking about what would happen if somebody who wasn't your gender was doing those things and that might be to quite as unprofessional, so just almost like a double edged sword or this paradox that you're doing those things so that people can relate, but in some ways you can do those things because, um, because of your identity is kind of a, is not necessarily seen as unprofessional, but it's seen as like you're being laid back and connecting and, and I might imagine either a trans and/or nonbinary person or even a cis woman kind of presenting in similar ways. So maybe seen as unprofessional or offensive or... does that make sense because that's often been my experience as sometime cis men can do things that other people of other genders are not allowed in kind of air quotes or inverted commas to do. So it's like this weird paradox.

Justin:27:48Yeah, there's the, the is the power and privilege issue, but, you know, I'm coming into a classroom and I'm, I'm the, I've got many layers of power and privilege. So I'm, I'm the oldest person there and I'm the one near the powerpoint screen which I really try not to use. Um, and um, you know, I'm at the front of the class so, and they're in their school uniform or something. And um, and so, um, and I don't have very long used typically and I, I have like one or two lessons so that I'm being read as being powerful and then I have to undercut it in order to present a lesson which is non nonhierarchical whilst also maintaining my expertise. Just tricky. So it's a dance, um, but then I guess with somebody of a different gender, um, the, the power and the privilege of being a cis man is absent so they'd have to navigate that in a different way. Um, but I guess the thing for me is really the, and the, the, I guess the thing with this, the point I'm trying to get to I suppose is that my training as a youth worker and in being a good sex and relationships educator, is much more valuable to me than anything to agenda. I think sometimes I'm an, I can't disentangle that from my gender is a big part of why I'm a gentle person and why I'm trying to be a kind person whilst also being quite cross at the state of sex and relationship education and youth services, sexual services. Um, so, but the, I guess you can't have one without the other but for me, I really try to, to, uh, to amplify the professionalism of being, of being a good sex and relationships. Educate. So because the problem is that it's, it's a, it's we've been deprofessionalized so much are so few sex and relationships, educators, there's no proper training really in the UK. It's kind of shocking. We don't really have any quality standards even there's no governing body for us. So if we're just kind of kind blokes turning up in classrooms, that's kind of like not enough, you know, we need like this needs this other stuff.

Alex:30:28It's quite the dance then right, because you're, you're there basically almost doing this disassembly of like this power and privilege to connect with young people while being very aware that you can do that because of your power and privilege, you know, and it's like this weird dance like. And also the reason why you can even do that dance is because you're an incredibly effective and experienced and well educated sex educator whose done a lot of work in this area. You know, you've, you've been doing this for almost 20 years and um, and I wondered like how, what kind of changes have you seen in that time? It's like this is two decades, right? So you've gotten really good at that during that time, but that's also been a lot of changes, kind of an environment and kind of around you and I would guess also changes in how you see yourself like this has been part of your development in some way.

Justin:31:23Exactly. I mean, I'm a much better sex educator. (both laugh) I really would not like to go back to see some of my...

:31:33That's how I feel about being a therapist, I'm better now than I was 10 years ago. I think that's a good thing. Sorry about my to my clients 10 years ago. I wasn't as good as I am now. (both laugh)

:31:41That's definitely the thing, um, I think that, um, it's hard to tell whether I've got better at, at, uh, because I'm a better sex educator, so we're having more nuanced, more challenging conversations that we're getting to more difficult topics more quickly. Maybe it's partly that I'm, I'm just better at getting to that place or whether the young people that I'm working with are moving on politically. I think it's probably, I'm definitely a combination of both of those things and young people are more politically aware now than they, than they were. Certainly. I no longer have like in terms of what young men say to me around how they want to have sex that I used to have young men say, you know, I don't care if the other person's enjoying it or not, as long as I'm enjoying it. And now it's moved much more to, I want to enjoy it more than I'm enjoying it. It's like do this performance of sex and to do sex well, which is both of those are problematic in different ways. Well in similar ways. So that's kind of changed. Um, maybe porn has had like a subtle influence, but the influence that porn has is often really overstated and is oversimplified. I think it's very, uh, lots of different things going on with their, um, which, uh, probably won't into it because I go off on a tangent and I think it's, it's so overstated.

:33:16We'll have to do another episode about that.

:33:20I think so. Um, yeah. So I think that's. But in terms of how I've changed I mean and I've always, when I got trained as a youth worker, I was really lucky that I got some excellent training paid for by the state where, which taught me about anti oppressive practice and being person centered, being reflective practitioner and that's incredibly valuable um, training and it's the kind of thing that I was training I always use and it's, I always go back to it and I always think about it and I'm always like, so I, it's, I'm, I've always been a work in progress around trying to do that stuff and trying to be as, to incorporate that stuff in all of my work wherever I'm doing it. Um, so I guess that's kind of gone with me. Um, and also I guess over the last few years, the way that I've started doing relationships and sex differently and uh, trying to be more. I'm trying to be more critical over that kind of stuff. And certainly the work, the idea with MJ, for our writing and also for our podcast. That kind of the way that we're both able to draw on our own experiences as well as the experiences of working with other people and other adults on young people together. And how on the experiences of our own relationships is super valuable, so that kind of being outside like that increased capacity to be able to do that kind of work. And uh, all the therapy really helps, you know, it's like, I guess it's that thing of being being, being an adult, I suppose. I mean, I started working with young people when I was 18 really, my first youth work I've been doing it. So I would have been a rubbish youth worker as an 18 year old. But as a 42 year old doing sex education or a sex and relationship education stuff on, that's an obvious thing to say isn't it. (laughs)

Alex:35:17Sometimes the obvious things are really important because that's part of being a reflective practitioner, there are practitioners without change of practices very much. And so, you know, the beauty of that being a reflective practitioner is that you really learned that yes, this is what, you know, what am I doing and what could that change? And then as you change it, you kind of revisit that again. Right? So it seems obvious, but it's also true. Some.

Justin:35:41Absolutely. I mean, that's some of the most valuable things that I've ever learned have been from the people that I am ostensibly there to teach and inverted commerce, you know, like the way that the have the, the um, there's one one good example of this I was doing, so I've been doing up and delivering workshops around consent using the metaphor and analogy slash experiential learning method of, of doing handshakes and asking people to do a handshake for the first handshake and then to negotiate a handshake for the second handshake and after the third one to really tune into the handshake and have like a, a more mindful and ongoing consensual handshake where it's more mutual collaborative. But uh, a couple of lads were saying when they were asked to do that to negotiate that second handshake, they said, oh, that was terrible. And it's like, okay, that's cool. It's allowed to be terrible. And they said it because we talked about everything we wanted to do. It raised the bar so much that we knew we were going to be disappointed. I was like, what a brilliant way of thinking about it. So we're kind of like spent the whole rest of the lesson I'm thinking about that just never occurred to me before that we could negotiate sex to the point at which then after that we will fear that the sex will no be nowhere near as good as that or we might do something nonconsensual because we've, we've talked about everything, but we might forget something or we might get something wrong.

Alex:37:04We might get so much in our heads about it. Whereas the body in the moment. Right, exactly. Yeah.

Justin:37:12So yeah, I learned that from a 16 year old, uh, about four years ago. And I was like, wow, okay, thank you for that. And I said, you know, that was super important and he was like, chill, whatever. (both laugh) And um, yeah. So that, yeah, that I wish more people were doing that reflects this stuff and learning from the people that we are working with.

Alex:37:34Yeah. I could just keep talking about this forever. I'm like another 15 questions in my head, but I think I'm going to change them for the next time I interview you. I'm definitely, I definitely know that it's going to be a second part, but for this episode, I wonder if there's anything in this initial conversation that we're having that I haven't asked you about that you're like, oh, I wish you'd really asked me about this. I really wanted to talk about this or not. It may or may not be.

Justin:38:00I mean I guess one thing. I'm just thinking about the benefits of masculine being a bloke a cis bloke. is that it's easier for me to call people out on not to call people out, but to challenge people gently.

:38:17I love that reframe that you just did.

:38:22And also it's easier for me to, um, that. so when young people writes me via my website, which is the main work I do now, at, it's mostly read by young men. Young women read it too. And when a young people asked me a question, if it's another guy and he's done something shitty, I can use my position as a bloke to say, hey, this thing you did is really shit. However, I'm also going to be like gentle and nice and give you some good advice here, but um, but this thing right here is no, no, no, no. And that is like, uh, that is uh, something that, that um being a gives me, um, and it, it's important to do it obviously, but it, it, I think it makes me, it makes me more heard and it gives me a bit more clout I think.

Alex:39:15Yes. It sounds like it's that intentional way of using your power and privilege rather than just like wielding it unintentionally all over the place. It's like really being aware of it being conscience of conscious of it and using it for the benefit of the people you serve. Yeah, that's what I'm hearing in that. Absolutely. Yeah, that's definitely my experience of you that you're very, very kind and very intentional about so really authentic and real and like really aware of kind of your position in the world and that's why you bring it to your work, including your awareness of your own masculinity and what that means.

Justin:39:49Yeah. I hope so.

:39:54Thank you so much. I, yeah, I'm so excited. Like I said, I'd like another 20 questions that I'm going to kind of go and write down for the next time that we get to be in a room together talking, but for now I know you mentioned kind of your book and your resources, but I would love for you to really like talk about where can people find you, all the different website, the social media, your book. This is your time to let isteners know. I will, I will also put it in the episode description, but I would love for them to hear it as well.

Justin:40:26Okay. So it's going to take a while. So I've got one website which has a list of everything which is If you forget all of this. So I've got a, which is my sex and relationships and other lots of other stuff. Uh, advice website for over fourteens. Um, um, that's a sponsored by Direct UK and it's, um, that's my main job. Um, I've got where I have, which is my website for practitioners who are doing sex and relationships education work. So I've got a resources on there for people to buy and download and people see details of my training courses and project work that I do. Another website called, which is a big project I've been working on again sponsered by Durex but in collaboration with the leading sex and relationships education agencies in the UK, which is about trying to get better, more inclusive, more about the young people, more everything I've been talking about in this podcast out there in schools and it's a free resource for teachers and the UK but worldwide. Uh, and the other one of course is where you can see all my work with MJ, our podcasts, our book, "Enjoy Sex how, how, when, and if you want to: A practical and inclusive guide" That's a long title.

Alex:42:04I think it's just such a great book and it is available in the UK and the US. It's available on kindle, it's available as a paperback is the probably the best money you'll ever spend if you're going to buy a sex advice book. That's what I think.

Justin:42:18Thank you.

:42:18What's the title again?

:42:19"Enjoy sex. How, when and if you want to". It's a sex advice book for adults, but there's nothing in there that would be inappropriate for young folk, but it's aimed at over 18. It's really, um, um, think that sort of the work I today I've probably missed something out. I always do.

Alex:42:38You probably have, but then we can add it to the episode description. But you do a lot of amazing stuff. That's fine, you know, and yeah. So thank you so much for coming on my tiny baby podcast or it's just the beginning and, and being a guest on my podcast and uh, yeah, I can't wait to interview again.

Justin:42:59Cool. Well I love it very much. A low so much for it. So thanks very much for doing.

Alex:43:04Well dear listeners. That's the end of another episode. Please keep listening to Gender Stories. Find us on your favorite platform, Like us on facebook. Follow us on twitter and instagram and also listen to the Meg-John and Justin podcast and find them everywhere on social media and I think they're also instagram now too, um, or not, not yet. Maybe next. Um, and in the meantime, um, have wonderful, enjoyable sex if, when, and how you want to. And if you don't want to that's cool too. And I will see you at the next episode. Thank you.

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