It seems, for most of us, that sex education in high school was either mediocre, or non-existent. For me, it was very mediocre. It consisted of an hour in a ‘Sex Education' van in the back of the school yard learning about how to put a condom on a banana.
These days, nothing much has changed; today’s youth are learning most of their sex education via friends, porn and online resources. As a result, many teens are moving into adulthood sexually misinformed, often experiencing less than satisfactory sex with themselves and others. I myself wish my sex education was more holistic; filled with the juicy fun stuff, with a bit of serious stuff thrown in for good measure.
Which brings me to the 5 Things I Wish I Was Taught in School:
1. Sex is Fun & Pleasurable
I wish someone had told me that sex can be an amazing experience. Spending less time on the STI and HIV scare tactics and focusing on the pleasurable and fun side of sex would have been far more interesting, enjoyable and inspiring! Throughout life I have learned that connecting sexually can be powerful, and intimacy with another human can be life-changing; why are these aspects ignored in main stream school-based sex education? Young people are going to have sex, not necessarily always penetrative sex, but some sort of sexual activity; it makes sense that schools teach them how to make it a fun, pleasurable and safe experience.
2. Masturbation is Okay
It should be taught that masturbation is a normal, natural and beautiful form of self-loving. This goes for both males and females. There seems to be a common misconception that it’s the men doing all the ‘wanking’; the truth is that women are doing it just as much. I believe parents and educators need to acknowledge that masturbation is happening, and that it’s normal, natural and pleasurable. Plus if young women can discover what feels good for them via masturbation, then they have all the more chance of enjoying sex with others when they are older.
3. It's Okay to Enjoy Sex and Want Lots Of it
I wish I was told that it’s okay to enjoy sex. I was never told it wasn't ok, but pleasure was never discussed openly. If something feels good, isn’t it natural to want to experience that feeling more frequently? Unfortunately, the concept still exists that if a woman enjoys sex and embraces her sexuality, she is labelled a ‘slut’. This concept is ludicrous! The fact is, our bodies are built for sexual enjoyment, and it’s important that young women feel empowered as sexual beings!
4. Sexuality is Fluid & Same-Sex Attraction is Normal
Sexuality can change and evolve throughout a lifetime. I believe It’s normal to feel attracted to the same sex one month, and the opposite sex the next month. It’s important that young people know that same-sex attraction is normal and natural and that if they want to explore that side of themselves then it's okay. It doesn't mean they are 'gay' or 'lesbian', it may simply mean they are exploring their sexuality and as long as it's done safely then there's nothing wrong with that!
5. Consent is Sexy
Education around consent, communication and sex as a healthy aspect of life should be essential in schools. Young women and men need to be equipped with the communication tools to say NO and YES when the time is right for them. If they are taught to communicate, to make choices that make them feel safe and they are respectful of themselves and others involved, then sex will be a more enjoyable experience. Much like my experience of sex ed, education often centers around the clinical aspects of sex, and not the topic of consent – possibly one of the most important lessons!
This article was published in Elephant Journal on April 10, 2014.
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