Bad Ass Babe Emerson Karsh
By Nicole Mitchell
Emerson Karsh (she/her) is a sex and kink educator and creator of the Instagram account @thekinkeducator. She often shares information on the world of kink on her Instagram account, such as aftercare conversations that need to be had or discussing sexual stereotypes. She’s also written a few articles for Rachel Wright, an online sexual health blog, including Your Guide to Ghosting: Why it Happens & How to Recover and 12 Important Facts About Orgasms That Are All Based In Science. Sex is all about feeling comfortable and connected, as well as having fun. Today, Karsh talks about how she got started in sex education and where she’s planning on going next.
Tell me about your background. What did you do before you taught sex education?
Before I became a sex and kink educator I was actually in sexual assault prevention and education actually! I would present to fraternities, sororities, and other college organizations on topics surrounding sexual assault prevention like consent 101, bystander intervention, alcohol and consent, and healthy relationships. I loved this work but as a survivor myself, it was draining. At this time I also realized I wanted to put my personal love for kink and my sexual assault prevention education background together as one of my assaults occurred within a D/s dynamic I was in when I was young and didn’t have the right tools to understand the importance of vetting, safewords, negotiation, and aftercare. I have also worked as a personal assistant in a few different fields to make money.
What inspired you to start teaching others about sex?
I think I was always teaching others about sex! I took my sister’s online health class for her when she was in high school and I was in middle school because learning about vaginas, penises, STIs, condoms, contraceptives, etc just excited me. I would do her lessons for her and then translate back to her what I learned. In high school I was the friend people came to talk about all things sex, masturbating, menstruating, and birth control. It was just a natural love for sex positivity and education that put me on this path.
What have you learned from doing what you do?
The main thing I learned is how engrained internalized sex negativity and shame can be. It can take a lot of unlearning and work to have a positive, fulfilling sex life and that’s because of the society we live in and it’s messed up. The biggest part of my everyday work as an educator, especially in kink but in sex as well, is just reaffirming and validating people that their interests are healthy and not uncommon. I love making people feel comfortable in who they are and their interests and doing this work but the fact that the reaffirming oftentimes is needed more than the education itself is what shocked me when it comes to the day-to-day work.
What do you hope people take away or learn from your Instagram account and other educational platforms?
I genuinely hope people learn that sex and kink are natural, healthy, and should be shame-free. I also hope that they are able to gain a sense of community and camaraderie. A community can be such a beautiful thing and a useful tool for finding resources, working through shame, and feeling accepted. I try to make my platform an inclusive, accepting corner of the internet where anyone can ask questions, feel represented, and connect with others. I also hope they learn something new or have that “a-ha” moment when seeing a piece of content that truly resonates with them.
Where do you see yourself in five years career-wise?
I would really love to get my Ph.D. or therapy degree to either be a certified sex therapist who is kink-aligned or be a professor who teaches the next generation of sex educators and sexuality workers. A dream would be to teach an entire college class on alternative sexualities.
What advice do you have for people who struggle with feeling comfortable about sex?
You are not alone and no one has the answers!! We all struggle with different aspects of sex and even sex educators, like myself, struggle. We are all in the same boat and in this together so I hope that can bring someone a bit of comfort. For more concrete advice, I would suggest someone to start interacting with sex-positive content and education that speaks to them. Maybe it’s podcasts, blogs, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, books, in-person classes, or movies, but find content and education regarding sex that feels accessible and understandable to you. I think this can help people feel less alone and unlearn the shame that is often associated with feeling uncomfortable with sex.
What advice do you have for those who are new to the kink scene?
Getting into kink is a marathon, not a sprint! It takes time, knowledge, a bit of courage, and maybe a bit of perseverance. I also recommend never comparing one’s journey into kink with anyone else’s. We all go and learn at our own pace. Also, it is never too late to learn or to get into the scene.
What’s your favorite sex toy to recommend right now?
My favorite that always reigns supreme and is used more than my other toys is Sweet Vibrations rabbit. It’s a great price, great company, super smooth, flexible, and is made of quality material.
Nicole Mitchell (she/they) is a writer and social media manager who graduated December 2020 with a degree in strategic communication. A few of her favorite things include cuddling with cats, listening to Bon Iver, making lattes, and running her book club (even though sometimes she forgets to read the books.)