L. Kris Gowen, PhD, EdM, has been a sexuality educator and researcher for over 25 years. As a child, she learned very little about sexual health from her parents – when she was four she got a book called the Wonderful Story of How You Were Born, and then her mother took her to the doctor to get on birth control before she headed off to Stanford University as an undergraduate. Feeling that her school-based sexuality education was equally inadequate –focusing more on anatomy than the information about relationships and pleasure she craved – It became her quest to help develop quality sexuality education.
After receiving her Master of Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and her Doctorate from Stanford School of Education, she taught Human Sexuality and Women’s Reproductive Health to university students. Kris was continually surprised at how many young adults lacked basic knowledge of the reproductive system, and how they craved open discussions about communicating effectively in relationships. Her book, Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide, is in its second edition.
Kris has been studying the intersections of sexuality and technology since the mid-1990s, when she was a sexpert in an AOL chatroom for teenagers. There she learned from the young people she interacted with online; she discovered how “cybersex” (before pictures!) could impact a young person just as much as sexual intercourse, and how much young people craved answers to questions about relationships. Today, Kris presents on different intersections of sex and technology from sexting to online dating to sex robots. In 2018, she released a revision to her guide for educators, A Guide to Teaching about Online Sexually Explicit Media: The Basics, in response to her community wanting more evidence-based strategies about how to address pornography in the classroom.