Area of sexpertise: ‘A personal trainer for people’s sex lives’
Dr. Jill McDevitt helps adults grow more sexually knowledgeable, introspective and self-compassionate so they can feel good — sexually and emotionally. As a sexologist, sexuality educator and sexual wellness coach, she is basically a personal trainer for people’s sex lives. By teaching fun sex education classes for grown-ups, offering one-on-one sexual wellness coaching, writing books, maintaining a killer educational sex Instagram page and selling a highly curated collection of vibes, lubes and condoms, she has earned her stripes. PACIFIC recently spoke with Dr. Jill about love, sexuality and sexphobia.
Hometown: Suburban Philadelphia, but San Diego is my forever home.
Current neighborhood: Ocean Beach.
In her own words
I think sexuality is f**kig awesome and a central, vital part of what makes us human. I also think sexuality is too often used as a weapon to shame, fear and oppress each other and that makes me really sad and angry. That is the passion that fuels my work.
It started when I found out about the existence of my clitoris — inadvertently as a teenager — and become embarrassed, and then infuriated, that no one taught me about it before. I vowed to teach the world about clits when I grew up and bring female sexuality out of the shadows, and here we are.
What’s the best part of your job as a sexologist?
I get to live my life with the reward of knowing I’m making an impact on people’s lives in real and meaningful ways.
I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, so it’s not uncommon for me to receive out of the blue emails or social media messages from folks letting me know that I was the first, or only, person to ever say to them, “I hear you,” “I believe you,” “that’s totally valid,” “that’s completely normal,” “I’m not judging you,” “you have the right to say no” or “it’s YOUR body” and they’ve never forgotten it. That’s a powerful, powerful connection I get to have with other humans through my sex education work, and I’m so grateful I get to do this.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have when they find out you are a sexologist?
I’m met with an unfortunate number of misconceptions that sexology isn’t a “real thing” or worse, that human sexual behavior isn’t a subject worth serious scientific inquiry. So much sexphobia.
On the flip side, there also is a misconception that sexology is just teaching people how to have a good roll in the hay, when really that’s about .001% of what sexuality is about when you take into account all the physical, emotional, psychological, social and political aspects of what it means to be a sexual being. But because of this misconception, I hear a lot of, “I have a lot of good sex, so does that make me a sexologist?” And I have to be like, “I have a heart, but I’m not a cardiothoracic surgeon,” ya know?
What tips can you give men and women about having a healthier attitude towards sex and a more vibrant sex life in 2018?
Vow to stop slut shaming people in 2018— if we’re weaponizing sexuality, we aren’t living a healthy sexual life no matter how good the sex we’re having may be. Be introspective. Never stop learning about sexuality. Prioritize sexual self-care. Hire a sexologist.
What is the craziest or most bizarre thing that has happened to you in your professional life?
Oh, every day is a new adventure. Once I was hired to do teach my Female Orgasm 101 class at a nudist resort. I was the only clothed person there, and on the drive there, a hurricane hit and I almost died.
Another time, I did a workshop on sexual diversity at Yale University. FOX News and the Drudge Report picked up the story about it from Yale’s student newspaper, except they twisted it into this completely bizarre story that my workshop was about teaching students how to engage in bestiality in the classroom. So absurd! Watching the rumors go viral and getting death threats was just a surreal experience. I did an interview with Sean Hannity and then cut the mic on live air. It was a time, man.
What’s your biggest goal when conducting a sex education class or workshop?
I’m not hoping people walk away saying, “Wow, I never knew that” — you have Google and Wikipedia, you don’t really need me for that. Instead, my biggest goal in a workshop is that people walk away saying, “Wow, I never thought about it that way before.” That’s where the real, transformative learning is.
What are some of your favorite new sex toys and products?
One, clit cream; it’s a dance in your pants! Two, lube; use it, love it. Wetter sex is better sex.
Three, The Magic Wand; it may be the world’s ugliest, bulkiest, ridiculous-looking vibrator, but it also is the world’s best vibrator, so we don’t judge it on its looks.
What is the #88dates project?
My husband Ryan and I embarked on a challenge to go on 88 unique dates in one year. We did everything from getting pedicures to roller skating, building a home science experiment to taking a sand castle-building lesson. We shared the story on Instagram, and now I’m turning it into my next book.
After the (2014 Isla Vista) shooting (near UC Santa Barbara), we learned that women were targeted because the killer had backwards ideas about gender and felt he was deprived the sex from women he believed he was entitled to. I was despondent. #88dates grew out of a desire to get me out of my depression around that shooting, to do something full of fun and love to remind me those things do still exist in a violent world, and to model healthy masculinity and healthy relationships to my followers.
What advice do you have for people who are playing the dating game in San Diego?
Dating has become a platform for just abusing strangers, so if you’re looking to have a good time and get to know someone as a potential partner, probably don’t do that. That means don’t say “hi,” “hey,” “what’s up” a million times in a row. Don’t make obscene sexual remarks within seconds of meeting. Don’t send unsolicited photos of your genitals. Don’t be verbally abusive when someone declines a date. Don’t ghost. Don’t flake. Don’t make a date with dozens of people and then ditch some when someone better comes along. Don’t treat people like they are disposable and be careless with their emotions.
Best date spot in San Diego?
I really loved the sand castle-building lesson date (sandiegosand.com). So unique, gets you outside, being creative, working together as a team, with plenty of time for talking.
What do you think is San Diego’s coolest neighborhood and why?
I’m biased, but Ocean Beach. My values around sexuality, bodies and how we treat each other are very progressive and accepting, so I need to be in an environment that is similarly progressive and accepting.
Favorite San Diego restaurant?
Baja Beach Café — because margaritas the size of your head.
Favorite San Diego boutiques/stores?
I like Claytime Ceramics for when I’m in a crafty mood.
Favorite San Diego happy hour?
South Beach Bar and Grille — amazing sunset views.