ABOUT COOL AUNTIE
Julia Sheldon is a Sex & Relationship Educator who helps teens have better relationships with themselves, their bodies, and others, so that they feel seen, heard, and supported.
Her goal is to help them create relationships that feel like the home they always wanted – a safe, loving place that requires no armour or emotional walls, where they can have tough conversations and explore.
HOW IT BEGAN
When I was 2, my parents divorced. Mom had been dealing with the early stages of dementia since before I was born, creating a relationship that shifted from mother/daughter to caretaker to resentful adult. Mom was in a long-term care facility for 19 years, starting when I was 10, until her death. Meanwhile, I have a very close relationship with my Dad, who did his best to fill all roles of parenting. He recognized, though, that I would be more comfortable talking with a woman about some topics, like periods and sex, and that’s where my Aunt Steph became a guiding force in my life.
Aunt Steph introduced me to concepts like consent, sexualities, and normalized talking about bodies and relationships. This relationship allowed me a safe place to ask questions and Aunt Steph’s was the first stable marriage I saw up close.
In university I had my first serious sexual relationship. It was mostly long distance so I got to know my own body very well, spending a lot of time on self-exploration and pleasure. In my early 20s I volunteered with CISV, a peace education non-profit focusing on intercultural cooperation and understanding for a more just and peaceful world. While facilitating a discussion about marriage, divorce, families, and romantic relationships, the teens in the group asked if they could chat with me about sex.
It was that afternoon, chatting with teens and answering questions they threw into a hat, I knew I’d found my calling: talking about sex and relationships. In my mind, they always go together, because if you’re going to have sexy times with someone, there’s some kind of a relationship at play, no matter how long it lasts, what happens, or who is involved. Shortly after that afternoon, I went back to school for a post-graduate diploma in Sexuality, Marriage, and the Family from the University of Waterloo (St. Jerome’s University).
I am a cis, queer, white, educated, able-bodied woman living on Haudenosaunee land who loves talking about healthy sex and relationships. I have been a student of relationships as far back as I can remember.
WHERE I AM NOW
I have spent time in more than 30 countries, lived 9 months in Australia, volunteered for Planned Parenthood, been a nude model, and a whole bunch of other off-the-beaten path experiences.
Today I am in a happy, healthy, long-term relationship that began as a day-long conversation (on a beach in Aruba) about our dreams, values, relationship baggage, and all the things I firmly believe we should know before committing to someone, but often don't ask.
I firmly believe that pleasure is your birthright and we can find it in all manner of ways. I believe that we all have the capacity to be better to one another. We can set boundaries, be respectful, and maintain fulfilling relationships.
I have a degree in Geography & Religious Studies from University of Ottawa, and a post-graduate diploma in Sexuality, Marriage, & the Family from University of Waterloo. I have attended Sex Geek Summer Camp twice - a 5-day sex ed business intensive, and regularly attend webinars related to teens, relationships, values, and community.