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Mija is one of my sex educators. When I was younger and learning the basics, they were there gently guiding me toward diversity and inclusion. I'm so grateful that Mija is a part of the sex positive community and working to enhance the sexual lives and identities of so many.

Here is a longer interview I did with Mija on the Sexplanations podcast:

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Lindsey: I'm Dr. Lindsey Doe, clinical sexologist and host of this sex curious show, Sexplanations.  Joining me today is my friend Mija, who is also someone I've done HIV prevention training work, counseling, we have worked on an organization of sexual health collaborative together.  You taught me how to cheek condoms by putting them on a penis or phallus with the mouth.  What else should we know about you?

Mija: Hello, my name is Mija.  I go by they/their or two-spirit pronouns.  I am a sexual savant and sex farmer here in Missoula, Montana.  

L: A sex farmer?

M: Well, work abroad, mhmm.  

L: What--I don't know about the sex farmer part.

M: You know, I help things grow.

L: I love it so much.  So today, I was hoping that you could talk with us about sexual healing.

M: Sexual healing is part of the work that I do.  It's part of being a sex farmer.  I help other folks learn and develop and grow in terms of their own gender and sexuality by using my body.

L: How is that different than sex work, or is it part of it?

M: It absolutely is sex work, but for me, it has more of a traditional aspect.  As a two-spirit person, part of my roles and responsibilities are in realms of sex education and in forms of sex work and helping others discover their authenticity through sex and sexuality.

L: And how did you get into this?

M: Well, I've been sexual my whole life.

L: Your whole life?

M: My whole life.  You know, there was a lot of like, early on, self exploration and not really knowing, like, what to do with all of my energy and also being like, raised in a way that like, taught me to suppress who I am and those things about myself, but then when I started working in HIV prevention and health education, because I am also a queer person that then a lot of the trainings or workshops or conferences or things like that that I went to helped me, like, fine tune and develop, like, what I wanted to do with my body and the information that I know and have access to and have learned and put it to a good purposeful use.  Meeting with like, my elders in and among two-spirit communities, them telling me, you know, like what is more traditional for someone like myself and that I was valued for those things and that it's an honor and a responsibility I have to be careful with and allowed me to find my way and be myself and help others be more of themselves.

L: Could you say what it means to you to be two-spirit?

M: For me, two spirit is a word that replaces what I would be called in my own communities' languages that was removed through colonization and it's an umbrella term for LGBT+ individuals who have roles and responsibilities to our communities and that we're honorable people who have a place among our indigenous communities and larger communities.

L: And so elders in your two spirit community said one of the roles that our people have played in the past is as sexual healers and would you like to take this on and hear what the responsibilities are?

M: Yeah, not so much about, I mean, like, yes they did say, you know, this is who some of us were in the past, but we still are.  Like, we are contemporary people.  We aren't people that are, you know, long ago, we're here and we exist and we still have a lot of those same traditional roles, they just look differently, and we call them different things now because of the way colonization has changed that and yes, my elders said this is you.  Go with it.  Work with it.  You know, I was having a moment of like, doubt, I guess in myself about the work that I was doing.  Thinking about how I'd been told that like, our gifts should not be, we shouldn't accept money for our gifts, but my elder was like, no, absolutely, you need to be like, taking compensation for the work that you're doing with your body and that that is still a sacred thing, and you know, being paid for sex work does not make the work any less and it doesn't make the gift less meaningful.

L: So how has it been?

M: Highs and lows, you know, like, I think that the general stigma and shame, our current culture can be really tough sometimes.  When I'm feeling shame from you know, our society or this community about the work that I do, I call in my ancestors and my trancestors and ask them to remind me that like, the work that I'm doing is important and powerful and meaningful and that it's just too bad the way that some people feel about these things and I think that a lot of times people feel this way about those things is because they don't have access or think that they have access to those things in the same way and so it's like this like, low-key level of jealousy, upset because they never got like, to have access to that or--

L: To sexual healing?

M: Yeah.

L: You can't have one because I can't have one.

M: Yeah, I think that's where a lot of that comes from and I think that by being authentic in like, who I am and how I am with my sex work that then people realize that they do have access to those things and it is okay and less hateful about it.

L: Can you share an example of an experience you've had as a sexual healer, maybe the whole process even?

M: So I've had a client who had cerebral palsy and couldn't move their body very well, and especially in terms of masturbation so I would go to that person's house and I would help them masturbate.  Sometimes it's just spending some quality time with someone and talking about sex and what they're interested in and breaking that down for them and like going on like, or going on like, mini dates so that like, somebody's who's just recently divorced can like, see what it's like to be out on a date with somebody in the world now and like, to negotiate what sex might look like.  Like, we might not even have sex.  Just getting them used to, like, what it's like now, because they haven't been having sex or having dates or having things for so long.  Sometimes someone has like, a kink that they're afraid to be open about and they need someone who is willing and has experience for them to like, be that way or to do those things or to try something out.  It can look a lot of different ways. 

L: Okay, so one last question.  How would you describe the difference between sexual healing and sexual farming, or is there one?

M: Sex farming?

L: Yeah, sex farming.

M: I would say that they are the same.  Those are just different names.  That's just a cute, clever name that like, one of my lovers gave me.  They said, you're like a sex farmer.  

L: Love it.

M: You know, I don't actually necessary always like, bring those things, like, bring in the harvest, right?  I just like, help the, help plant the seeds and then help them grow and get strong and then they can do whatever they want with the, you know, end product.  Like, they can harvest themself or they can replant themselves or they can, you know, do a million different things.

L: I believe that it's really controversial, what you're doing and doesn't need to be, but there are a lot of outside factors that may be pressing on you and I'm so grateful that you pushed through those anyway and you give the gifts that you embody to others, so thanks for sharing this space with me and for sharing it with others so that they know if they, they are on the path that you have taken, that they're not alone and if they seek the services that you offer, that someone out there is able to give them.  It's very special.  

M: Thank you.

L: Yeah, okay, thanks for being on Sexplanations.  

L&M: Stay curious.