Gianna Bacio, The Sex Educator
Coaching Story by Stamatia Gotsi
Gianna talks about sex and love, and how to flirt. She talks about real life. She is real. She has no taboos. She certainly isn't shy. No topic is too intimate, and she investigates all kinds of sexual desires. In Germany, she inspires thousands of people through various channels as "Die Aufklärerin", i.e. The Educator. It's one of those conversations where I could not leave out anything. You will soon understand why.
Gianna, you are a sex educator. What do you do exactly?
At the moment, as far as everyday life is concerned, I hold workshops and seminars for single women and single men, in which I teach them how to flirt. I know, it may sound a bit pretentious or similar to pick-up coaching. Ultimately, however, it is about communication and stepping out of your comfort zone. We often imagine a red line in front of us, that we do not dare to cross. I encourage participants to step over this line, talk to people, and become more open. To incorporate flirting into their everyday life. In addition to that, I am known online as The Digital Educator, so to speak, via my YouTube channel and now also via my two podcasts on sexuality. One of them is primarily geared towards men, and the other more towards women. I talk openly about this whole topic on there. I inform about stereotypes and try to give men an understanding of the female perspective and get women to understand the male point of view. I hope that this adds some clarity and that people will become more aware of what they want and dare to communicate their needs.
Where do you live?
I live in Hamburg, but I also travel a lot due to my workshops, which take place in different German cities.
How did you get started? What was your motivation?
Back when I started, all I wanted to do was simply be in front of the camera, moderating. That was something I had always wanted to do and found very fascinating. And we focused a lot on local issues. I had a great time working there. And while I was working at this TV station, I met a person who was in charge of an educational channel on YouTube, "61 minutes of sex". I ended up teaming up with him. We became friends and decided to join forces as an educational team. Being both, a man and a woman, we could then treat both issues equally. And that's how it started. I think you need to have a certain affinity for that topic, and an openness to it. I had that, of course, and I could really picture myself doing that. And that is how I slowly grew into that role. I wanted to be a primary school teacher, and that is also what I studied. To be honest, at that time I could not have imagined ever becoming a sex educator. But we often come across something by accident, only for us to realise, wait a second, this is actually really fascinating. So I continued on that path. Later I then decided to continue my studies and become a sex educator.
How do you come up with topics and how do you prepare yourself?
The process is usually the following: I receive a request, I prepare myself, I read up on the subject, try to figure out how I can help that person. Then I enter into a dialogue and the rest will usually unfold.
Tell me more about your workshops, what do they look like exactly?
A part of it is the psychology of men and women, but I also focus a lot on practice. At the beginning, for instance, we all walk around and high five each other, or we go into town and compliment people. That is so important. Most people don't even experience that in their everyday life. If you think about it, smartphones are omnipresent. Many other people are constantly distracted. We ourselves are distracted. We are so preoccupied with ourselves and our smartphones that we do not really care what happens around us. I would like to open people's eyes! Who is around me, who are these people? Who could I be interested in?
So it is also about leading people out of their limited interaction, caused by the digital world, and guiding them back into the analogue world, to connect with others.
Exactly. I used to have my own educational YouTube channel for over 5 years. At that time, I spent little to no time in the offline world as an educator. But I noticed that I missed the practical part. Of course, we received messages from viewers who asked questions, but I didn't realise, at first, what the people are truly interested in and all the additional questions that are raised, once you dig deeper. Because of this, I felt incomplete. Now that I have incorporated the analogue world as well, my experience feels a lot more harmonious. I believe we need both, we need the theory, but we certainly also need the practice.
What lessons do you want the participants to take away from the workshops?
Most importantly, I want them to have positive experiences. If all we had before were negative experiences, for instance with flirting, where the other person does not react or is not interested, once you experienced a couple of those situations, it obviously becomes more difficult. Our inhibitions will be harder to overcome. So to have a positive experience in this workshop, realising how much people enjoy it, will change things! If they learn what to say and it is well received, they go home with these positive experiences and think to themselves, “that's cool, I want to continue with this”.
So with the help of these positive experiences, you introduce them to a different world. What kind of topics come up?
Sexuality, as a topic, is actually not a part of it, I offer to go into it, in one-on-one coaching. Or I will answer those questions on my own blog or in an episode of the podcast. The workshops also focus on the issue of shyness and having the courage to do something. There are, for instance, also people that just came out of a long-term relationship or long marriage, who have not flirted for a long time. They often feel that they have downright forgotten how to flirt. The challenge now is to open their eyes. Look, this is how nice it can be. And to also keep up the flirting in a relationship, and discover how much fun it can be. We often have such high expectations. We believe that if we go out with someone, things always have to work out with that person. But we can simply be a flirt. To me, becoming a flirt means becoming an open person. Going through life with one's eyes open. Being likable, charismatic, and outgoing. They don't have to be our dream partner. It could also, for instance, if we're heterosexual, be a person of the same gender, and we simply chat with each other. We could learn a thing or two from our grandmothers, for example.
What do you mean by that?
Well, my grandma has no problems with this. She walks up to other people, starts talking ten to the dozen, she certainly does not have a problem with flirting. But, these days, other things play an important role, such as smartphones, causing us to be constantly distracted. Being or feeling stressed, we then believe we are not able to do that anymore. I believe we are. It is in our blood.
That is, being empathic. Flirting is nothing else than being empathic towards other people and communicating with them.
Yes, more humanity, more interpersonal relations.
What topics come up in your one-on-one sessions?
Well, those are a little more in-depth. Those focus entirely on the issue of sexuality and problems with one's own sexuality. Insecurity is a frequent topic. Being insecure about one's body. Am I actually normal? Those who come to me often look for some sort of blessing. Yes, you are normal, you are fine just the way you are. It is a lot about self-acceptance and self-love.
Other issues include loss of erection among men, difficulties with orgasm among women. Those are the main issues.
The #MeToo movement is currently a big deal. So many people speak of negative experiences. To what extent do these issues come up in your work? What is your experience?
Often, such a problem arises from a negative experience we have had. Or from what seems like a negative experience, and we ourselves consider it to be one, it is a personal assessment after all. So, topics like that do come up as well, yes, but most issues are rather born out of insecurity. Such as people not being able to immediately define what exactly is bothering them. And thinking that they are not normal. When it comes to the issue of orgasm problems amongst women, they think that, because they don't orgasm during sex, during penetration, there is obviously something wrong with them. After all, it obviously seems to work in porn or movies, right? We are presented with an unrealistic and smooth world devoid of any problems. If we then use that as a guideline, it will be problematic.
Use pornographic films, you mean?
For example, yes. But I find that Hollywood movies also depict male and female images or relationships in a way that is not necessarily realistic.
What do you want to achieve with your work?
I want to bring more love to people! I want people to have more fulfilling relationships with one another. And I am working on that as well.
What aspect of your work inspires you the most?
What inspires me most in these seminars is when I see the change happening in the participants and their eyes light up. And then I think: wow, that's crazy, the things we can do, that at first we can't see and can't believe, and then we just make them happen. I think that is probably my greatest motivation. Seeing that change in people.
Do the participants also inspire you?
Yes, it is a continuous process of learning, not just for the participants but definitely also for me. I learn a lot about people and also about myself, how I interact with people. I always say: the coaches may have more theoretical knowledge, but we basically have the same problems. We face the same challenges as everyone else. We might be better informed in some situations, but I still believe that we repeatedly fall into such traps and then find our way out again. Because I am a sex educator, everyone thinks I have this ridiculously crazy sex life. But it can also be inconvenient, having all this theoretical knowledge and categorising everything. At least, that has been my experience. So it is not only positive, there is also a downside.
What is the most extreme thing you have come across?
Well at the moment, although it is not that extreme, I am amazed at how many foot fetishists actually exist. I feel that there is still a huge gap to fill. Dismissing such a topic, as I might have done in the past, thinking that there is only a really small amount of people who are foot fetishists, right!?! But that is not the case. For instance, I am very active on Instagram. When I post a photo of my feet, I receive so many comments, much more than on other pictures. I think we should not disregard this topic; it needs to be discussed. That's one thing, the other is that there are things that simply do not come up in my life. I remember a video, if you watch it, you will see me standing there and discussing something, when truly I have no idea what I am talking about. There was a request concerning sex with bread. That is something that simply is not part of my reality, but obviously it is an important issue for some people. I think those are the most extreme things.
How do you handle this feeling of being surprised?
To be honest, I don't remember. For me, it was mostly also a question of sustainability, thinking, well, sorry, but I don't want to show people that you should go buy bread only to use it for other things. So, in this respect, I clearly distanced myself from that topic, asking people to just not waste any food. Look for other objects, that might be more sustainable. But that was a different matter altogether. I'm not saying that it is entirely shocking. We always said that we would have no taboos, that we would talk about every topic. And others have asked us, how can you talk about this topic in such a neutral way!?! Because of the way we grew into the whole thing, it was entirely normal for us to discuss these things.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to get into online courses. I noticed that these questions about sexuality are rather asked anonymously and want to be answered anonymously as well. The number of requests for this is definitely higher than for one-on-one coaching. So I would like to offer online courses, and the plan is to get them out this year. As for television, I don't know how long that will last, but there have been some requests for TV formats. We will see, I also allow myself to be inspired by their ideas, if it aligns with my visions. Other than that, I can definitely imagine continuing the podcasts as they are now. Making them even larger than they already are. And actually holding more seminars, perhaps even on a larger scale. Which would then not be limited only to the topics of sexuality and flirting. One thing I notice during the seminars is that it is really about personality development. It is about a change within you. What you mentioned earlier, the holistic approach, I find that very exciting as well and would like also to dive further into that.
If you want to know more about Gianna, you can soon read more about her right here, stay tuned!