Sex Education Never Stops
Sex education looks very different around the world. One universal factor however appears to be adults getting nervous when talking about sex to children and teenagers. Religion and patriarchy also use their power to stifle the positive transmission of sex and relationship education, resulting in a narrow-minded, heteronormative vision that is often steeped in shame.
The popular Netflix show Sex Education has done great work at breaking down sexual taboos amongst young people and intergenerationally, too. It openly celebrates diversity within relationships and brings lesser known sex stuff to the fore, such as vaginismus, asexuality and douching anxiety. In the second season, one of the character’s parents, a registered sex therapist, creates a drop-in space where students can ask her all their sex and sexuality questions. There’s a comedy element but also a serious subtext: young people need a safe space in which they can learn all about sex.
Part of why sex education remains a lifelong lesson is because many of us were badly prepared at school. Being spoon-fed biological information is all very well in theory but putting it into practice is a whole other kettle of fish. Sex can and should be fun but often times it can be confusing, emotional and stressful to navigate – even as fully-fledged adults. Let’s run through some stuff that we should know but may not know (or have only recently learned):
1. Consent is everything
All genders need to be taught that they have the option to say “yes” or “no” when it comes to having sex and being in a relationship. It is equally important to accept hearing “yes” or “no”. Acceptance and rejection of individual personal desires must be heard and respected.
2. Sex transcends biology
We’re not all having sex to make babies. Sex can be motivated by pleasure, by revenge, by loneliness, by love, and a whole host of other reasons. Sex education really needs to go beyond the biological aspect.
3. Sex doesn’t make you a better or worse person
In Western culture, men and boys are celebrated for being sexually active while women and girls are slut-shamed for the very same thing. This only leads to a culture of sexual shame and violence, and no-one is a winner in this situation.
4. So many sexualities
Sexuality is a spectrum that can change throughout one’s lifetime. Asexual, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, trans, pansexual: there is nothing immoral about sexuality and yet discrimination is alive and kicking. Sex education does a good job however of suppressing exploration of this wide-ranging spectrum, preferring to see things through a purely straight lens.
5. The female orgasm isn’t a myth
Wouldn’t it be great if those biology moments in sex ed actually focused on the clitoris and all the ways in which it can be stimulated to achieve orgasm?