Dr. Logan Levkoff is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sexuality. She can speak on a wide range of issues, including issues of sexual health, trends in sexuality, relationship hurdles, and sex in pop culture and politics. For almost a decade, Logan has been working with students of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds. She has designed and implemented sexuality education programs in many independent schools and community organizations. Logan’s work with teens and parents has been profiled in many publications including The New York Times. Logan Levkoff is an AASECT certified sex educator. She received a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Life Education from New York University as well as an M.S. in Human Sexuality Education and a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in New York City with her husband, son, and daughter. (source: loganlevkoff.com)
Logan's work has made her incredibly sought after, and she writes for numerous publications and appears on a variety of news sources, which you can find listed here.
In addition, Logan has written several books: Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be: What Your Kids are Learning About Sex Today and How to Teach Them to Become Sexually Healthy Adults, How to Get Your Wife to Have Sex with You, and her latest book, with Dr. Jennifer Wider, Got Teens?: The Doctor Moms' Guide to Sexuality, Social Media and Other Adolescent Realities.
I have attended several of Dr. Levkoff's talks and been given a great level of comfort as a parent in regards to sexuality and my child. I had the true pleasure of chatting with Dr. Levkoff recently this July about her career and picked her brain for some Advice For My Daughter.
What is it that you do exactly?
The field of sexology is basically the scientific study of human sexuality. It's sort of broken up into different areas: sex therapy, sex research, sex counseling, and sexuality education. I am most certainly an educator, and my mission in life is to get people comfortable talking about issues of sex and sexuality in ways that are intelligent and positive and healthy. So, my life has been either in classrooms or lecture halls or writing. All with the same goal of helping people develop a healthy sense of sexuality so that translates to all areas of their lives.
What are you working on presently?
The nice thing about what I do is that I really have been given this incredible privilege to work in a lot of different capacities. During the school year, I am teaching all the time. I had a book, a parenting book, come out in February. (Got Teens?: The Doctor Moms' Guide to Sexuality, Social Media and Other Adolescent Realities) I am currently working on a television show called, Married At First Sight, which sounds super salacious, but is meant to be a very thought-provoking and positive look at what happens when social science gets involved in relationships, and we actually have to fight for something.
What skills and characteristics are needed to be successful in your field?
Well, I would say that the first thing that's really important is that you can't talk about issues of sex and sexuality without knowing what your own values are. Knowing what they are and sometimes being able to put them aside in order to be a better communicator and educator. So, I think being aware of what you come to the table with is important. I think, also, that the key to this is really being non-judgmental, which is really hard in this field.
We all kind of grow up with baggage and messages about sex and sexuality, so it is really easy to come from a place where we make assumptions and judgments about others. But, I think the key is to be non-judgmental and to be a good listener. And then, being able to facilitate a conversation as opposed to preaching.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love everything in terms of what I do. There is nothing better than seeing someone's face, of any and all age and demographic, when their question is validated, when their concerns are addressed, when they realize there really is no such thing as normal. That to me, there is nothing better. Even in my own home, even in my own little world to contribute to raising a new generation of sexually healthy young people is really rewarding to me.
What are the challenges you face?
Well, talking about sex is always challenging. I think that people make a lot of assumptions about me, about how I teach, about what I say, what I tell people to do and what not to do. There is no question that being a sexuality educator you come to the table with certain values . I believe that people are entitled, I believe children and teens are entitled to learn about sex and sexuality in healthy and positive ways. You know, people have a lot of beliefs about that, and a lot of people feel, they're not in the majority, but they're certainly very loud, believe that children and teens are not entitled to hear this information. It goes with the territory. You can't be in this field and not be ready to manage adversity. Some people are really good at it, and some aren't, which is why they don't necessarily deal with issues of childhood and adolescent sexuality.
I have always believed that I have been fortunate enough to be raised with privilege in a lot of different capacities. I believe that when you have privilege it is your responsibility to put yourself out there and use that privilege to benefit the greater good. So I really am happy to work through the adversity, because if I don't do it, I'm not sure who is going to.
You are also a parent of two children. What advice would you offer to someone who is beginning parenthood?
I think that we need to trust our instincts. I think we live in this world with these alarmist, frightening headlines about the million ways we're going to screw up our kids. Because of it, we've sort of forgotten what it means to trust your own gut and instinct. I think that the most important thing to do is that if you think you should answer a question, at least in respect to my field, if a child asks the question about sex, give them the answer. Don't worry about screwing up your kid or taking away their innocence. The only way that that happens is when they hear about these things from someone other than you.
What is one motto that has served you well in your life and career? Why?
I think that throughout my life I have always had a particular personal mantra and that has been be provocative with a purpose. So, for me it's always been get people to question, get people to talk, get people thinking about issues in new ways, but never be gratuitous. I think that is sort of how I operate in my own life. I ask provocative questions, but it's not simply to make people uncomfortable. It's really to get them thinking and to get myself thinking, too, for that matter. So, be provocative with a purpose.
Thanks, again, to Dr. Levkoff for her time participating in this project!
Check out Dr. Levkoff's website for more information about her books, television appearances, and speaking engagements.
You can see her Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on FYI on Married At First Sight.
Click here to read Dr. Levkoff's Huffington Post blog.