My name is Kate McCombs.
I’m a sex & relationships educator,
community-builder, and
maker of puns.

Ultimately, all of my work is about helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex and feelings.

I believe that meaningful conversations + accurate information can help us create a healthier and more joy-filled world.

Sex & Relationships Education is a unique line of work – it’s often fulfilling, rarely dull, and I get to learn + teach about powerful things that are rarely brought into the light. But I didn’t always know that this professional path existed.

As a young person, I was frequently the go-to friend to ask about relationships. Like most Americans, the sex and relationships education I got in school was minimal and shame-based. When I was 10, I remember educating friends about puberty, armed with the great info I got from my mom. As I got older, their questions were about romantic relationships, pleasure, and safer sex.

I recognized from an early age that this near-universal aspect of our lives was not being talked about in a meaningful, accurate, or helpful way. I wanted to change that.

I got my first official sex ed position as part of UC Berkeley’s sexual health peer education program. I vividly remember the day I got my acceptance letter. I was incredibly nervous because I wanted that position so deeply. When I opened that letter, it felt like opening a door into a whole new world of possibility for me. Through that program, I taught hundreds of students and met mentors who showed me how I could have a sustainable career in this field.

Now, the focus of my work is on teaching people how to communicate better in all their relationships. Not just the sexual/romantic ones. Good communication is the foundation for all kinds of joy and connection. I believe that supportive, empathetic micro-cultures (like groups of friends, workplaces, and families) are key to our total wellbeing. Much of my time now is spent teaching my Tea & Empathy workshops, which are entirely devoted to helping participants both give and receive empathy with greater ease.

frequently asked questions

What did you study to do this work?

I have two university degrees. I have a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Melbourne (which totally looks like Hogwarts) and a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from UC Berkeley. In my approach to healthy relationships, I combine the upstream problem-prevention approach of Public Health with Anthropology’s exploration of cultural context.

A lot of my training didn’t come from a university. Much of what I know about public speaking and communication I learned from my mom. She spent her career as a public speaker and I spent a great deal of my childhood in the back of conference rooms and classrooms absorbing what she shared.

I actively pursue learning. I think it’s dangerous to think that just because we’ve reached adulthood, learning is finished. There is always more to learn and the process of learning keeps our brains flexible. I also think that people who are interested are interesting, which is something I strive to be.

What is Sex Geekdom and what inspired you to create it?

Sex Geekdom is a community for folks like me who delight in having meaningful conversations about sexuality in explicitly non-sexual spaces.

I started Sex Geekdom when I was in grad school in Melbourne, Australia. I wanted a regular, formalized way to get all the amazing sex geeks I knew together for excellent conversation (and nice food). There were public health professionals, sex educators, erotic writers, sex shop employees, and health care workers – all in the same room, chatting about sexuality. Total heaven.

I wrote about our meet ups on the Internet and folks in other cities liked the idea and asked to start their own Sex Geekdom meet ups. LA was the first satellite group, then it spread from there. Now, Sex Geekdom is in dozens of cities on multiple continents and in multiple languages.

To see me chat about Sex Geekdom with Dr. Doe from Sexplanations, go here.

What are 7 random facts about you?

  1. I have a deep and unrelenting love of Star Trek. TNG is my favorite of the series.
  2. I’m obsessed with linguistic precision.
  3. Getting bubble tea with friends is one of my favorite activities in life. Bonus points if we make sex puns at the same time.
  4. I experience chronic migraines, which color my world in weird and sometimes wonderful ways.
  5. My favorite compliment I’ve ever received was that my apartment “should be Zagat rated as the best place in the city to cry.”
  6. I love to tell stories about how I met my dearest friends. I met one on a plane, two in Disneyland, and countless on Twitter.
  7. I have a professional soulmate. Her name is Louise Bourchier and during one of her visits, we made a bunch of sex ed videos together.
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