Liekens in October 2011
|Born||21 January 1963|
|Alma mater||Free University of Brussels|
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
(m. 1996; div. 2006)
Goedele Maria Gertrude Liekens (born 21 January 1963), is a Belgian psychologist and sexologist. She is a former Miss Belgium (1986) and currently also works as a television presenter, in the Netherlands as well as her native Belgium. Outside the Low Countries, she may be best known for presenting Sex in Class on Channel 4 in the UK, early August 2015. She and Steve Jones present the second series of Sex Box.
Liekens became famous by winning the Miss Belgium contest in May 1986. During the following Miss Universe contest in Panama Liekens refused to attend extracurricular events for guests that paid extra for those. She also refused to shake hands with then head of state Manuel Noriega for his "leading a wrong regime".
Liekens studied psychology and sexology, receiving a degree from the Free University of Brussels in 1987. She re-attended university in 1991, studying Family and Sexual Studies at the KU in Leuven, earning her degree in 2003. She worked for the sexuality and planned parenthood organisation Rutgers Nisso Group from 1992 to 1996.
Liekens appeared as a sexology expert in several programs of Flemish and Dutch television and did a radio show for a while. She got her first show to present in the late 1980s and has done about a dozen since. At first her programmes centred on sex and sex education, but from the mid 1990s onwards Liekens hosted other shows as well, like the Flemish version of Weakest Link. Liekens worked for a variety of stations in Belgium and the Netherlands, most notably the Vtm and RTL 4.
She has published several books on sex-related matters, wrote columns for magazines including Playboy and has had two magazines of her own. Liekens co-founded the now defunct production company Jok Foe in 2001, which produced various programs, such as The Planckaerts, a reality soap starring former road racing cyclist Eddy Planckaert.
Since 1999 Liekens is a United Nations Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador in the area of reproductive health. In this work she has advocated women's rights, helped to fight obstetric fistula in developing countries and generally argued for a broader sexual education that must include the pleasures of it.
Sex in Class
In August 2015, Channel 4 aired a show in which Liekens talked to thirteen British teenagers about sex and pornography. The one-off programme made headlines across the UK, mainly for her open attitude towards sensitive subjects. According to some the show pointed out that British teenagers suffer a serious deficiency in their sex education, a gap they fill by watching pornography, with a horde of misconceptions as a result. Liekens has argued that the General Certificate of Secondary Education must include a much broader and mandatory sexual education than at present.
Publications and videos (English)
- Rossella E. Nappi, Goedele Liekens & Ulrike Brandenburg: 'Attitudes, perceptions and knowledge about the vagina. The International Vagina Dialogue Survey'. In: Contraception, vol. 73 (2006), no. 5, pag. 493-500 (ISSN 0010-7824)
- (video) Loving for a lifetime. Presentation Goedele Liekens & Jelto Drenth ; prod. Chris Brouwer, Haig Balian & Erik Spin ; dir. Gil Hensen & Bob de Graaf. Hilversum, Polygram Video, 1994
Liekens married in 1996 and divorced in 2006. She has two daughters.
- (in Dutch) Profile, vub.ac.be, retrieved 9 March 2016.
- (in Dutch) Leven na Leuven: seksuologe en presentatrice Goedele Liekens, kuleuven.be, 19 November 2014.
- (in Dutch) Goedele Liekens Beeld en Geluid wiki, retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Goedele Liekens Archived 26 November 2015 at Archive.today, UNFPA.org, retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Girls’ rights: Goedele Liekens looks back on 15 years of progress, UNFPA.org, retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Brunskell-Evans, H. (2015); "Sex in Class: Liekens is right to teach teenagers about sexual pleasure"; website Leicester University, retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Channel 4 sex education documentary brings pornography into the classroom, The Telegraph, 3 August 2015.
- Personal website (in Dutch)