Why We Need Better Sex ED
I don’t know how I can be someone who is comfortable talking about sex and also be someone who gets flustered when it comes to the science of it all. I suspect it’s because there was a lot of anxiety surrounding it in my lifetime. My sister wasn’t allowed to attend Sex ED, and by the time I was of age, it wasn’t optional. But fear not, stigma was still instilled (heavy sarcasm). I grew up being taught (by parents and schools alike) things like first-time penetration will be painful, privates are shameful and much more. Now, with that kinda perspective, you can understand how a growing mind can become anxious about the very thing that is attached to them.
To me, all of this shielding/hiding kids from sex is absurd because it seems that society still expects them to be sexually intelligent by the time they hit 18, despite the poor/no teaching. This leads to many people going through life having mindless sex and knowing nothing about their bodies, myself included! I recently discovered while reading Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski that I had a wall up when it came to looking at my Vulva. The idea of staring at it directly made me squeamish. I thought to myself, I shouldn’t be this uncomfortable with my body but completely fine having kinky sex. As I pondered deeper, I realized most of my anxious thoughts around sex/sexuality were linked to the way I was taught Sex ED.
One thought led to another, and I ended up will a small rant on how Sex ED could be better. I can’t speak for everyone (my Sex ED Classes were split by sex); however, I believe vulva havers* are taught two things:
1. Their bodies will cause them pain
2. To fear that pain (it’s “punishment)
For example, in my Sex ED class, I remember most of the classes being about how painful periods, kids, and the first time would be; then I went to religious school and was told women bleed as a sign of punishment. All of this made me feel discomfort regarding my body, and I felt not-worthy because of my vulva. Is this what we want people to grow up feeling? Do we want people to be confused and uncomfortable with their sex because we teach it with seemingly ulterior motives? I don’t know about you, but I don’t.
Sex ED taught me fear, pain, and nothing nice.
Looking back on it, I can’t help but wonder if it was on purpose. You know the whole mindset of if they fear it, they won’t do it when in reality, instilling the fear of sex only causes an unhealthy/dangerous relationship with sex.
If that wasn’t enough, it also taught me shame. When I was taught about sex, LGBT+ sexualities weren’t even mentioned (2006). As an unknowing bisexual, I was confused at the thought of only guys and girls being sexually compatible; could it not be different? This caused a lot of unneeded turmoil that could have easily been avoided.
Lastly, I would say we need to stop teaching Sex Ed through the straight man’s eyes.
This type of teaching is the breeding ground for bigoted views. I strongly believe that most bigoted behavior stems from ignorance, and there’s no better way to be ignorant than to not know
This habit we have of splitting the classes up by sex and teaching sexes differently so they can be “comfortable” only furthers the notion we are different; while also unconsciously telling us we shouldn’t be comfortable talking sex with the opposite sex.
In my not so humble opinion, Sex ED needs a revamp! We need to stop teaching the neanderthal way and start teaching sex the way we have it. Let’s learn more about our LGBT+ friends and our opposite sex having partners. I said it once, and I’ll say it again, stigma is allowed to grow inside us as long as we remain uninformed.
Interested in another rant about Sex? Try Sex & Sexuality Why I think It’s Important to Read About.
*I use Vulva haver because Sex ED should be inclusive and comfortable for all. If you don’t identify with a Female/girl and have a Vulva, you can still have these issues.