About the Author
Described in 2004 by the UK’s Nursing Times magazine as ‘a courageous innovator’, Helen J Knox qualified as a Registered Nurse at Westminster Hospital, London SW1 in 1978. She worked as a Senior Staff Nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital Accident and Emergency Department, London, and later as a District Nursing Sister in West London.
In the mid 1980s, she moved into the specialist field of Family Planning and has worked in the area of reproductive health as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Contraception and Sexual Health ever since.
Initially covering up to seven clinical sessions in West and North-West London and teaching in two or three men’s prisons each week, she gained a unique insight into the reproductive and sexual health needs of both genders.
In 1991, a time when there was no-one to base such work on and talking about contraception and sexual health was considerably more risky and ‘taboo’ than it is today, Helen became the UK’s first Outreach Clinical Nurse Specialist in this field, working in the deprived multi-ethnic, inner-city South London Borough of Lambeth.
She introduced ‘condom supply points’ to South London and by promising organisers a regular supply of condoms for participants or residents, gained access to many unsuspecting audiences.
She could be found in all sorts of unexpected locations too, teaching people of all ages about contraception and sexual health. Places included, but were not limited to: homeless hostels, youth clubs, drug agencies, probation centres, pupil referral units, civic centres, sex work projects, job clubs, bus stations, boxing gyms, mental health and learning disabled units, mother and baby projects, women’s refuges, schools, colleges, and universities. She even held a session with young people who insisted on sitting in a neighbouring graveyard, rather than their classroom.
All of this contributed to her unique perspective on the challenges of sexual health promotion, and in 1994, led her to become a finalist in the Nursing Times / 3M National Nursing Awards for Innovation in Nursing and Midwifery for her outreach work in South London.
In her own time, Helen became The Virgin Sexpert, running the first moderated chat room for Virgin Net. She then set up her own Sexplained Cyber Clinics and her very busy website, WillyWorries.com.
Unable to find accessible leaflets to answer questions she was being asked, Helen wrote a booklet to explain some topics, supported by the Special Trustees of St Thomas’ Hospital, London SE1. Then, in 1995, she published her highly acclaimed first book, Sexplained… The Uncensored Guide to Sexual Health, which changed her life, forever.
In 1999, she published its sequel, Sexplained 2… For Young People. In the same year, she formed Sexplained Ltd. and went on holiday to Barbados — a trip that took her life in a different direction.
Since 2001, Helen has written a monthly Sexplained Column for that country’s Better Health Magazine. Extracts of which are included in this book to bring the topic to life.
In 2004, Helen became an Assessor for the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) Sexual Health Skills Course. Since 2011, she has redesigned Sexplained Training to give people a comfortable way of learning about contraception and sexual health subjects in bite-sized portions, in an enjoyable way; and in 2013 she completed a PG Dip Social Innovation. She plans to offer this training, long-distance, using innovative techniques.
Also in 2013, she republished her first book, Sexplained… The Uncensored Guide to Sexual Health after updating and considerably extending it over a period of several years, as Sexplained One — Sex & Your Health. This book greatly updates and extends Helen’s first book, for a world in which sexual health is no longer such a taboo topic. As with her first book, Helen believes that it should not only be clinicians, who get to see the visual presentation of various sexually acquired conditions. Medical pictures are used throughout this book to show a range of sexual conditions, some obvious and some less so. It is hoped that the reader will appreciate how, quite commonly, it is impossible to tell by looking at someone if they have a transmittable condition, or not.
In 2014, Helen joined the UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) Passport to Export scheme for assistance taking Sexplained® to a global audience.
She has appeared over 200 times on TV and radio in the UK, and overseas, and been invited to speak at national conferences. She has also appeared on stage alongside actors/comedians Robbie Gee and Eddie Nestor, to drive home some health messages in a rather unusual way.
Sexplained Two — For Changing Times updates and extends Helen’s second book, Sexplained 2… For Young People, for a world in which sexual health is no longer such a taboo topic but for which a greater understanding about contraception and all the related sexual health topics is essential.
For more information about Helen, her books, Sexplained Training and to be kept up to date with developments, please visit www.sexplained.com