Emerson pictured against a drawn purple background with a large teal and while wavy, stripe behind her

Introducing Team RW: Emerson Karsh-Lombardo

Emerson Karsh-Lombardo is a student at the University of Kansas, an Administrative Assistant through the Jewish Studies Department, and Rachel Wright’s new O.R.C.H.I.D. Intern. 

Emerson’s unique role with Rachel includes a diverse range of tasks: Organization, Research, Content Creation, Helping Hand, Innovation, and Development assistance. 

Growing up in a progressive household in Denver, Colorado, any aspect of sex education was welcomed and discussed. 

“That’s pretty much how my sex education came about is, she was pretty open about it,” says Emerson referencing her mother, “I grew up in reformed Judaism, which was also pretty sex-positive. My confirmation class when I was, like, 15, we had a whole class unit about sex in the Torah and sex in Judaism.” 

Emerson explains that through this education she was never told not to have sex but instead given the tools to have safe-sex and felt that through this format her environments and view of human sexuality were very positive.

Emerson Karsh-Lombardo in a pink winter jacket and black shirt smiling with arms wide in the snow on what appears to be a mountain-side.
Photo provided by Emerson Karsh-Lombardo

During her high-school education, Emerson initially dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. 

However, after struggling in her first biology course, she began to consider teaching and, at age 18 discovered an interest in sex education. 

“I started to realize that I really enjoyed talking about sex, like, probably more than the average person, and then I read the book The Vagina Monologues,” says Emerson.  

Entering college, Emerson started out majoring in psychology when she took a research lab that focused on sex and consent, prompting her to explore a human sexuality major. 

Emerson is now a double major, studying both psychology and human sexuality with a minor in Jewish studies in the last semester of her senior year.

As she has moved through her studies, Emerson has done extensive research on human sexuality, eventually exploring more research related to kink. 

“I was like ‘okay this is my passion’-sex, research, and kink, and I didn’t know what path I wanted to take with it,” tells Emerson, “I realized my sophomore year after I started researching kink and after I had a negative experience with kink that I was like ‘oh there’s not a ton of research out there.'” 

She explains that she couldn’t find a lot of accessible information and when she did find informative reading about kink, the language was geared towards those already a part of the community with vocabulary that may confuse a new-comer trying to discover kink. 

“At that time, I think, is really when Instagram started to grow with the infographic world,” says Emerson, “I started realizing that kink education was inaccessible and I was like, ‘okay I wanna create a kink education Instagram.’” 

Emerson’s account, @thekinkeducator, has since gained over 5k followers in the last year and a half, an exponential growth, and accentuates her kind and calming demeanor through approachable and educational kink posts. 

Emerson Karsh-Lombardo holding up a donut with chocolate and sprinkles to peer through the center
Photo provided by Emerson Karsh-Lombardo.

It was through the creation of this account that Emerson found Rachel Wright’s Instagram while following other sex education experts and influencers.

Emerson explains that she was immediately impressed with Wright’s work after seeing a sex-toy review of a glass dildo posted on Wright’s Instagram and website

“She reviewed it in such a way that was accessible and non-judgemental and, like, I was super engaged,” tells Emerson, “I had the information about that toy and then glass dildo’s in general to take that and, like, you know feel like I could purchase my own.”

Emerson tells that through Wright’s open, vulnerable, and welcoming approach she was inspired to bring the same perspective to her sex and kink education. 

She then enthusiastically jumped at the chance to apply for Wright’s open position when she saw her post on Instagram, noting that it was a dream position for her and opened up the opportunity, as she nears graduation from her undergraduate, to learn from someone who had forged a path in an industry that has no set trail.

“When you want to become a business person you, you know, take business classes and then get an MBA and then you’re like ‘okay I’m a business person’ but that’s not how it works in the sexuality world,” explains Emerson, “There’s no set path.”

Emerson tells, that because of this, she doesn’t particularly know how to reach her dream of becoming a kink-affirming sex therapist, a sex educator, and/or a sex shop owner that has an educational aspect built within it.

However, she explains, learning from Rachel’s experience can help give her the knowledge she needs to be able to find her way to achieving her goals; Something Emerson is certain to do because of her unfailing drive, work-ethic, and passion for helping others safely learn about sex and kink. 

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