As a speaker, she is widely regarded as an expert on sex education, LGBTQIA+ communities, kink and BDSM, ethical non-monogamy and polyamory, feminist pornography, the sex positive movement, and alternative sexual practices and relationships.
She gives keynotes, presentations, workshops, and trainings on these topics as well as public health, social justice, and sex-positive models for sex education at conferences, organizations, colleges and universities. She has given nearly 500 presentations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and Brazil. She does trainings for therapists, healthcare workers, sex educators, and other professionals. She is well versed in numerous topics and also available to create a presentation customized for your needs. To get more information about booking an appearance, contact Tristan today.
Lectures & Trainings (click for details about each lecture)
U Most requested by colleges and universities
C Great for conference lectures and keynotes
T Professional trainings or lectures for therapists, healthcare workers, sex educators & other professionals
- Sexploration on College Campuses [U]
- Beyond Monogamy: The Case for Open Relationships [U/C]
- Claim Your Sexual Power [U]
- Feminist Porn: The Politics of Producing Pleasure [U/C]
- The Truth Behind 50 Shades of Gray [U]
- The Body’s Politics: Sex and Social Justice [U/C]
- The Future of Relationships: Beyond Monogamy and Polyamory [C]
- Sex Educator Boot Camp Level 1 [T]
- Sex Educator Boot Camp Level 2 [T]
- Sex Educator Boot Camp Level 3 [T]
- Cultural Competency Training: BDSM [T]
- Cultural Competency Training: Non-Monogamy [T]
- F*ck Stigma and Shame: Toward a Sex Positive Perspective [C/T]
- Sex Ed Sucks: Why It’s Failing and How We Change It [C/T]
- Sex-Positivity and Social Justice in Sexual Health Education [C/T]
- Sexual Health and Pleasure Education in Recovery [C/T]
- What Does Inclusive, Consent-Driven, Pleasure-Centered Sex Ed Look Like? [C/T]
- Healing and Hustling: Creating Mission-Driven Client Care & Business Strategies [T]
- What’s on the Edge? Treating Gender and Sexual Minorities and Tackling Taboos in Therapeutic Settings [T]
Sexploration on College Campuses [U]
The undergraduate years are an amazing time of sexual exploration and education, where women can learn about sexual health, pleasure, and embark on new adventures. From her popular columns and website to her videos and lecture series, Tristan Taormino has garnered raves for her unabashed straight talk about sex. Now, you can hear it from the sex expert herself in the Human Sexuality class that most people never get to take! She’ll cover a wide variety of topics, including sexual anatomy, masturbation, orgasms, improving your erotic communication skills, finding the elusive g-spot, myths and truths about female ejaculation, sex toy tips and techniques, and the wonders of anal sex. There will be an extensive question-and-answer period where students are encouraged to ask her anything.
Beyond Monogamy: The Case for Open Relationships [U/C]
Who are your role models when it comes to successful relationships? What kind of partnership(s) are you in or do you see yourself in? How do you create a relationship that works? Monogamy is touted as the relationship ideal and a goal we should all strive for, but it’s no secret that many people feel dissatisfied with it. The “sexless marriage” is a talk show staple, cheating and dishonesty in relationships run rampant, and divorce rates continue to climb. Yet you don’t have to blindly accept this dominant model. Relationship and sex expert Tristan Taormino offers a bold new strategy for creating loving, lasting relationships. Drawing on in-depth research, interviews with over a hundred women and men, and her own personal experiences, Tristan explores the real-life benefits and challenges of open relationships. With her refreshingly down-to-earth style and sharp wit, Taormino argues that we must question the fairy tales and challenge the myths we’ve been taught about love, sex, intimacy, and commitment—only then can we create relationships that are honest, fulfilling, and really work.
Claim Your Sexual Power [U]
What does it mean to be sexually empowered? How is our sexuality affected by the mixed messages we get from the media and other cultural institutions? How can we make sense of it all, shed sexual shame, and develop sexual confidence? Tristan Taormino shares what she has learned on her journey from law school reject to sex expert with stops along the way as author, anal sex guru, Village Voice columnist, and feminist pornographer. Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, you’ll learn how to decipher who you are as a sexual person, figure out what you want, and communicate it with others. She’ll explore the concepts of sexual health and erotic power, discuss why they are important, and share her unique recipe for how everyone can become sexually empowered.
Feminist Porn: The Politics of Producing Pleasure [U/C]
Award-winning author and director Tristan Taormino shares her personal journey from writer and sex educator to self-identified feminist pornographer. Hear about her first foray into porn on and off camera and what led her to form her own company, Smart Ass Productions. She will share her definition of feminist porn (as a growing genre, industry, and movement), what she hopes to accomplish with her films, and the challenges she faces in the mainstream adult industry. As “reality” and representation collide around issues of gender, sexuality, race, and class in pornography, Tristan will argue that feminists must disrupt normative depictions in the medium and create new kinds of imagery. She’ll discuss the role consumers play in the movement, how internet economies have shifted the industry, and why she thinks anti-porn feminists haven’t watched enough porn.
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Gray [U]
The undeniable success of Fifty Shades of Grey generated more interest in kink and BDSM than ever before. Kinky sex is no longer some underground practice on the fringes of society. But what is BDSM? Why do people do it? How do you navigate the overlapping terrain of fantasy and reality? Tristan will introduce you to the world of kink, what it is and what it isn’t. She will define and demystify common practices and discuss the physical and psychological aspects of kink. She will argue that BDSM has taught her life lessons and relationship skills that everyone can benefit from?not just kinksters. She will also tackle some challenging issues from grappling with the taboo of submission to negotiating power dynamics from a feminist perspective. Ultimately, BDSM is not only compatible with feminist beliefs, it explores some of most critical issues to feminism including identity, consent, autonomy, power, and equality. She will answer the question: can BDSM be a truly feminist?
The Body’s Politics: Sex and Social Justice [U/C]
Sex-positivity is often misrepresented as apolitical hedonism. I’m all for hedonism, but that’s not the only reason I sit at the sex-positive table. Sex is personal and political. Our bodies are battlegrounds for reproductive justice, queer and trans rights, sex worker activism, and sex education, just to name a few. How can we frame our bodies as intersection points to connect marginalized folks with different identities and agendas? How do we reclaim our bodies and sexualities to fuel both hot sexual expression and meaningful political work? How can some bodies use privilege to illuminate the margins and boost underrepresented voices? Let’s explore sex positivity and/as social justice.
The Future of Relationships: Beyond Monogamy and Polyamory [C]
Tristan explores the myths about monogamy, the limits of polyamory, and the future of relationships. She begins with a look back at how pop culture and politics shaped our ideas about love, sex, and partnerships from the 1950s through the present. She’ll identify trends when it comes to intimacy and pairing, the shifting reasons for why people choose marriage and committed relationships, monogamy’s current dilemmas, and what she calls the outsourcing of different types of relationship labor. She will ultimately tackle where sex, identity, and relationships are going, and how we get there.
Sex Educator Boot Camp Level 1 [T]
Are you passionate about sex education and want to build a career in the field? Sex educator, author, college lecturer, filmmaker and radio host Tristan Taormino has written or edited more than thirty books, appeared on dozens of television shows, garnered national media coverage, and keynoted, lectured, and taught workshops to over a million people around the world. But she’s never shared her insight into creating a successful sex education career—until now. In this three hour course, Tristan will share the secrets of her success as one of the most sought-after sex educators in the world for over a decade. You’ll learn how to: explore options for education and certification; harness your unique perspective in the field and communicate it effectively; identify your individual goals and the audience(s) you want to reach; network with other sex education professionals and build awareness about your work; create dynamic presentations and develop your teaching style; think creatively about marketing and promotion. Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to ask Tristan questions about your specific issues and concerns in an intimate environment. This course is ideal for people who: work in an ancillary field to sex education; are considering a career in sex education; are enrolled in or recently completed a sex education advanced degree program; or have worked as a professional sex educator for less than a year.
Sex Educator Boot Camp Level 2 [T]
Have you begun your journey as a sex educator and are ready to get serious, streamline your business, and get paid for what you love doing? In this intermediate course, Tristan Taormino, one of the most well-known educators in the field, shares her experience, skills, and insight to help you create a vibrant, fulfilling career in sex education. You’ll learn how to: hone your mission and unique point of view; make your work accessible to diverse audiences and communities; develop and create business, branding, and marketing plans; use web-based tools and social media to connect with media professionals, other sex educators, and potential clients, employers and fans; garner media coverage in order to raise your public profile; embrace the value of your work and develop pricing structures and rates. Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to ask Tristan questions about your specific issues and concerns in an intimate environment. This course is ideal for people who have: worked as a professional sex educator or in the sex education field for at least a year; and/or completed Sex Educator Boot Camp 1.
Educator Boot Camp Level 3 [T]
Are you a sex educator ready to take your career and business to the next level? World-renowned sex educator Tristan Taormino reveals her proven techniques for success. You’ll learn how to: write promotional materials and create media buzz about your work; build strategic partnerships and coalitions with individuals, organizations, and companies that boost your reach, credibility, and visibility; shape your public identity and boost your credibility; leverage a local/regional presence into a national one; transform a part-time job into a full time career; monetize your expertise and experience; clarify your goals and prioritize your work accordingly; stop doing work that doesn’t have a clear path toward supporting yourself; integrate your values and politics with your business practices; explore what personal blocks may be holding you back; expand your offerings, grow your business, and make your career sustainable. There will be real talk about money, community politics, and burnout. You’ll have the chance to network, brainstorm, and collaborate with other attendees in smaller breakout groups. Plus, you’ll get sample pitch letters for colleges, media, sponsors, potential employers, and more. In addition, there will be a special presentation on advancing racial justice in sex education by Trina Scott, Cindy Lee Alves, and Aida Manduley of Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN). This course is ideal for people who have worked in sex education for at least three years and/or have completed Sex Educator Boot Camp 1: Basic and 2: Intermediate.
Cultural Competency Training: BDSM [T]
What if your client is kinky? Kinky sex is no longer some underground practice on the fringes of society. But what is BDSM? Why do people do it? How do you help clients navigate desire, fantasy, trauma, consent, boundaries, and reality? How do kinky folks form identities and non-traditional partnerships around these sexual practices? We will define and demystify common practices and discuss the physical and psychological aspects of kink. We will also tackle some challenging issues from grappling with the taboo of submission to negotiating power dynamics from a feminist perspective.
Cultural Competency Training: Non-Monogamy [T]
How do people create and nurture non-traditional partnerships and sexual practices, and how can therapists assist their clients on their journeys? In this training, Tristan Taormino will cover two relevant topics for the modern therapist: consensual non-monogamy and BDSM. Tristan will define different styles of non-monogamy, from solo polyamory to mono/poly and share stories from the 100+ people she interviewed for her book Opening Up. What are the differing needs of someone new to an open marriage versus a polyamory veteran? She’ll discuss common issues and challenges—from “new relationship energy” and time management to jealousy and agreement violations as well as tools and strategies for conflict resolution and success. This training is designed to help you learn about non-monogamous traditional practices so you can better support your clients as they explore more authenticity and fulfillment in their lives.
F*ck Stigma and Shame: Toward a Sex Positive Perspective [C/T]
“Sex positive” has become more widely used and discussed in the mainstream, but what does it mean to work from a sex-positive perspective? Most of what people see and hear about sex is steeped in shame and stigma. We need to name and challenge deeply ingrained negative ideas about sexuality before we can begin to shift the way we approach sexuality. What are the tenets of sex-positivity and what does it mean to be sex-positive? Discover how to examine your own biases and approach sexuality in a non-judgmental, holistic, and compassionate way in order to better serve your clients.
Objectives: By the end of this session, participants will be able to: describe the tenets of sex positivity and how they can be incorporated in sexual health education work; identify the larger systems which constrain people’s sexual self-identity and behavior; and list ways to use sex-positive frameworks to better serve their clients.
Sex Ed Sucks: Why It’s Failing and How We Change It [C/T]
50% of sexually-active young people will contract an STD by the time they are 25. As we look at the current state of sex education in the United States, the dominant models of abstinence-only and abstinence-emphasized programs are failing; they consistently lead to higher rates of HIV and STD transmission as well as unintended pregnancy. If comprehensive sex ed has a positive effect on behavior, decision-making, safer sex practices, and STD prevention, why isn’t it the gold standard? How do we move the needle in meaningful, sustainable ways? Who is currently left out of the discussion? Our society’s very definition of sex limits our ability to reach people whose identities, behaviors, and practices fall outside a narrow box. But how do we shift the conversation away from shame and silence toward explicit, comprehensive, inclusive, pleasure-based sex education? Come hear lessons from the front lines of teaching sex education to college students and adults. Find out how what they know, what they don’t know, what they want to know, and what they need to know reflect why current sex education models are failing and what needs to change.
Objectives: By the end of this session, participants will be able to: discuss different sex education models and their associated effects on STD transmission rates; list reasons why comprehensive sex education is more effective than abstinence-only models; and identify ways to incorporate more explicit and inclusive sex education.
Sex-Positivity and Social Justice in Sexual Health Education [C/T]
HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and lack of knowledge disproportionately affect people of color, sexual minorities, and the economically disadvantaged. When individuals make decisions about their sexual health, they don’t make them in a vacuum. How people conceive of their sexual agency and value is constantly informed by media representations, access to education and resources, and cultural, community, and faith-based messaging. Most of what people see and hear both within sex education and outside of it is steeped in shame and stigma about sexuality. What are the tenets of sex-positivity and what does it mean to be sex-positive in your approach to sexual health? What shifts can you make away from shame, pathologizing, and criminalizing individuals based on their sexual identities and practices toward centering enthusiastic consent, empowerment, and pleasure in sex education? How can you incorporate lessons from social justice movements to see people’s behavior in the context of real constraints, social inequalities, and systems of oppression? As public health professionals working in a variety of capacities, discover how to check your own biases, actively work to reduce stigma and shame, and approach sexuality in a non-judgmental, compassionate, and holistic way.
Sexual Health and Pleasure Education in Recovery [C/T]
When you are working with folks in recovery through trauma, pain, self-harm, and unhealthy behaviors, there is one topic that is often left out of the equation: sex and sexuality. It’s unfortunate this topic is often too taboo to be discussed, because pleasure can be a healing force in people’s lives. In our sex-negative society, if we get an sex ed, it’s abstinence-only or abstinence-dominant education; we are bombarded with sexy images, but rarely get comprehensive information. In this training for clinicians, sex educator and author Tristan Taormino will teach you how to challenge your own assumptions and biases around sexuality. She will define what sex-positive means and how to incorporate sex-positive principles into your work. She will offer you tools you can share with clients, including how to: reduce shame, guilt, and anxiety related to sexuality; treat safer sex as a holistic practice to mitigate and reduce physical and psychological risks; talk about pornography in a clear-headed way, teaching mindfulness rather than shame or dismissal. She’ll offer insight into making your work inclusive of diverse identities and practices, including LGBTQIA, consensual non-monogamy, BDSM, and asexuality.
What Does Inclusive, Consent-Driven, Pleasure-Centered Sex Ed Look Like? [C/T]
There is compelling evidence that abstinence-only and abstinence-emphasized sex education has failed young people. We need a new model that replaces silence, fear, shame, and conformity with knowledge, confidence, respect, and diversity. But what does that model look like? How do we create sex ed where consent is the cornerstone of all sexual activity? How do we ensure it’s inclusive of different genders, sexual orientations, races, abilities, sexual practices, and relationship styles? Pleasure is one element that’s missing from most sex education. Instead of emphasizing risk, danger, and transmission, what does it look like to center pleasure, and how does that change people’s relationships to their bodies and their sexuality? Let’s talk about how we can nurture better informed, more empowered clients by changing the way we talk about sex.
Healing and Hustling: Creating Mission-Driven Client Care & Business Strategies [T]
Are you on a mission and a budget? We all want to make the world a better place through our work, but we also have to address real-world business issues in order to create sustainable careers. Learn how to clearly identify your values and craft a mission statement for your work. Get tools for making your work more competent, inclusive, and accessible to a diverse array of clients. Identify and address how your values and vision may come into conflict with capitalism. Get specific strategies for promotion, branding, and marketing. Find out how to raise your public profile by harnessing professional networks, media relationships, and web-based tools and social media. Explore ways to integrate and balance your vision and politics with your business practices.
What’s on the Edge? Treating Gender and Sexual Minorities and Tackling Taboos in Therapeutic Settings [T]
How comfortable and confident are you treating clients who are transgender, kinky, polyamorous, or who otherwise fall outside the mainstream in their identities and practices? When these folks seek therapy, they often find that their practitioners know less than they do. What does it mean to tackle taboo topics in a therapeutic setting? What kinds of information and experience do you need to discuss them in ways that best serve your clients? How do you approach a topic like mainstream porn and are you well versed in other kinds of porn (queer, feminist, alternative)? Whether it’s exploring stigmatized desires, navigating non-monogamous relationships, or reconciling Dominant/submissive power dynamics with politics, achieving competency in these areas will help you to serve those who can be the most underserved. While you may have covered these topics in your educational journeys, go deeper into them with someone who is both a recognized expert and has been embedded in these communities and practices for over 20 years. Learn how to level up your knowledge and get tools for making your work more competent, inclusive, and accessible to a diverse array of clients.
Past Public Health Presentations and Trainings
Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Albuquerque, NM, 2020
Everyone Deserves Sex Ed (EDSE), Los Angeles, CA, 2020, 2019
Sexual Health Alliance/Gold Coast, Los Angeles, CA, 2019
State of Michigan Annual HIV & STD Conference, 2019, 2018, 2016
New Mexico State HIV/HVC Conference, Albuquerque, NM, 2019
Adult Performer Advocacy Committee & Free Speech Coalition, Los Angeles, CA, 2019
University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program, Ann Arbor, MI, 2018
Health Disparities Series: LGBT State of the Science and Caring, Los Angeles, CA, 2018
BlackSexGeek Presents: Competency for Therapists in BDSM & Polyamory, Dallas, TX, 2017
Don’t see what you want? Email Tristan with your course idea.