Q&A: Elle Chase Opens L.A. ‘Academy of Sex Education’
LOS ANGELES – The third branch of the Academy of Sex Education has arrived in Los Angeles, with sex educator and body acceptance advocate Elle Chase at the helm.
Sex educator Ducky Doolittle established the flagship Academy of Sex in New York with the aim of creating an establishment that addresses the sex-ed needs of “every experience level, orientation, gender, body type, singles, couples and all.” The idea sparked the creation of a franchise, which now has locations in Portland and Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education (LAASE) officially opened in July inside the Los Angeles LGBT Center, located at 1125 N. McCadden Place, and already has featured popular sex educators and personalities such as Buck Angel and Charlie Glickman, among others.
As the lead sex educator and education coordinator, Elle Chase, who coaches individuals and couples on sensuality, sex and body image, as well as operates the websites LadyCheeky.com and SmutForSmarties.com, says the toughest part of her role is spreading the word on the LAASE’s diverse course offerings.
In this exclusive interview with XBIZ, Chase discusses the LAASE’s mission of providing “varied, pleasure-inclusive sex ed and sexuality classes to as many diverse and underserved communities,” and how companies and individuals can lend their support.
XBIZ: How and when was the first Academy of Sex Education established?
CHASE: The Academy for Sex Education is the brainchild of veteran sex educator and author Ducky Doolittle. She started the New York Academy of Sex Education a couple of years ago because she wanted a place she could always teach at in NYC. The idea was to extend the Academy franchise and business model to other sex educators, in other cities around the country who were interested in starting their own branches. Ducky’s hope is to provide accurate, entertaining and real-world sex ed for the community, and at the same time, create a space where sex educators can get paid for their expertise.
XBIZ: What inspired you to launch Los Angeles branch?
CHASE: I had been speaking to fellow sex educator, JoEllen Notte who was starting the Portland Academy of Sex. I thought it was a genius idea, because there is no dedicated space for adults to receive sex education in L.A. I remember looking for basic sex ed classes years ago when I wanted to become trained as an educator, and found there was nothing in L.A. I was shocked … in L.A! I mean, I can get my nails done, or even get a tailor to come to my house 24 hours a day, but a place to take classes on sexual pleasure and safety … nothing. Thank God for the Pleasure Chest’s sex educators and the weekly classes they offer, otherwise I don’t know what I would’ve done.
XBIZ: What’s the most challenging part of your role as the coordinator?
CHASE: Getting the word out. We don’t have the budget for advertising, and social media can only get us so far. We really rely on word of mouth and the kindness of companies donating products and the press (like you and Alec at XBIZ) to get the word out. We have really exciting classes and teachers coming up through the end of the year. For example, renowned Australian sex therapist Cyndi Darnell is teaching “Occupy Your Inner Lover” in October. It’s a very rare chance to attend a class of hers stateside and I would love for as many people as possible to get to see her.
XBIZ: What’s been the most popular class to date?
CHASE: Hands down, Sex Nerd Sandra’s “Balls Deep: the Fundamentals of Fellatio” and Charlie Glickman’s “The Pleasures of Prostate Play.” I schedule Sandra to teach once a month at the Academy and her classes are always popular, but that blow-job class sells out fast. Charlie is an amazing Bay Area teacher and isn’t in L.A. that often so people cancel plans to hear him teach.
XBIZ: What are your goals for the Academy?
CHASE: I want the Academy to be able to provide and fill as many varied, pleasure-inclusive sex ed and sexuality classes, to as many diverse and underserved communities as possible. It would be great to keep the integrity of the Academy’s tenets, and still be able to offer some free monthly community classes, as well as some deeply discounted tickets for students or people that are on a tight budget. Buck Angel is very excited to offer the first of these types of classes to the Trans community through the Academy, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone of his caliber offering his expertise. I would love to eventually create weekend workshops, retreats and online programs for anyone who wants to attend, and also for sex educators to continue their education. The possibilities are endless.
XBIZ: How can companies or individuals support the Academy?
CHASE: Spread the word! Tweet, tell your friends, book one of our educators for an event or party but most of all, attend the classes. It’s really been amazing how supportive people and companies, like XBIZ, have been. Lucky Bloke, who is our official condom and lube sponsor, generously provides us premium condom and lube samplers for every attendee, in every class. That’s A LOT of condoms and lube.
Companies like Aneros, Screaming O, SheVibe, PleasureWorks and Little Black Box have graciously donated product to raffle off, and Sex Positive Los Angeles has been incredible, by getting the word out to all their members and volunteering. If companies or individuals would like to become sponsors or support the Academy by donating advertising, website help, product or even space to hold workshops, that would be so helpful.
For more information, visit LAAcademyOfSex.com, or email Info@LAAcademyofSex.com.