Dr Patricia Weerakoon has been a sex educator, researcher and therapist in America, Sri Lanka and Australia for more than 25 years. As a director of a graduate sexual health program for the University of Sydney, Patricia worked closely with fellow sexologists in India, Europe, South Africa, America and the United Kingdom. Recently retired, Patricia now lives in Sydney, Australia where she spends her time speaking at conferences and in churches and high schools, and participating in media debates on controversial topics about sexuality and intimacy.
Patricia presented on God’s purpose for healthy romance and intimacy at GAFCON.
Read our Q&A with Patricia below and scroll down to watch a short video!
How did you come to know Christ?
My grandparents converted to Christianity from Hinduism. I grew up with Christian parents in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. They, at great personal sacrifice, sent me to a private Methodist girls’ boarding school in the capital city of Colombo. It was here, under the teaching of wonderful British missionaries, that I came to understand the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice for me—an incorrigible thirteen-year-old Sri Lankan native.
What is your background and how did you come to be a sexual health expert, writer and speaker?
I trained in medicine in Sri Lanka. My fascination with all things sexual dates back to my life as an academic, teaching reproductive physiology at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Sri Lanka. Doing my postgraduate study at the University of Hawaii, I had the privilege of working under a professor who was an expert on gender and sexuality, while attending an evangelical Baptist church. This is when I realised that God has a wonderful cosmic narrative for our lives, including our sex lives.
Migrating to Australia and working as the director of an international graduate sexual health program while worshipping in the Anglican church in Sydney set me up to use my expertise in this area to write and speak after retirement.
What led you into writing? How did that journey begin for you and what kinds of books have you written?
On retirement six years ago, I had the grand plan of writing the next bestseller novel. In preparation, I attended classes in creative writing.
However, God had a different path planned. Just prior to retirement, at the end of a training seminar for clergy on gender and sexuality, I was invited by Christian Education Publications to write on God’s plan for healthy sexuality from a life-cycle perspective. I now have four books that cover the age range of 6 years to 60 plus.
I did make time for my creative writing and have two novels that build on my experiences of growing up in Sri Lanka.
All my books are listed at: http://patriciaweerakoon.com/writing/
Learn more about my books by CEP here: https://cepstore.co/patricia
What are the most common concerns that people are speaking to you today about sexuality and intimacy?
One problem across all ages is the use of pornography among both males and females. In our highly sexualised culture where pornography is readily available on the internet, we are seeing kids as young as eight and adults at eighty become compulsive users.
A second area of concern is issues related to sex and gender. Society today validates and affirms same-sex behaviour and gender fluidity, and Christians are confused as to how they respond in love while holding to their Christian convictions.
What role do you feel church leaders have in encouraging congregations and individuals to understand and live out God’s intention for sexuality from the Bible?
The church needs to give Christians a biblical, Christ-focused narrative for gender and sex that is more splendid than the false narratives of an individualistic narcissistic culture, and empower them to examine and critique culture’s false narrative of sexuality as the source of identity and satisfaction.
We need a picture of God’s plan for healthy sexuality in the bond of one man and one woman in marriage as unitive, procreative, recreative and a model of Christ and the church; of singleness as a worthy choice in life, and gender as clearly binary in nature.
We need to empower our people to live with courage in an increasingly sexually confused world, with compassion and love grounded firmly in the conviction of the truth of the word of God.
What was your favourite part about GAFCON?
Worshipping with people from many countries, cultures and ethnicities was a taste of heaven.
What were you challenged or encouraged by?
The joy with which many of our Christian brothers and sisters from underprivileged and persecuted countries continue to witness to God’s goodness.
What’s next for you?
I am seventy-one years old. I will continue to write and speak on good healthy sexuality from a biblical Christ-focused perspective for as long as God enables me to do so.