Real Sex Education

      I can remember  back in the day when we were supposed to be learning about sex education in school. It was probably one of the most stressful years of mine and my classmates’ lives. We didn’t want to see or hear about what our body parts were supposed to turn out like once we hit puberty, let alone what boys body parts looked like. I think the most horrific part of the class was when the instructor whipped out a banana and nonchalantly slid a condom on it. Back then, and just prior to reading Cara Kulwicki’s piece, I never actually considered sex education to have any concerns other than how traumatizing putting condoms on bananas at twelve years old was. However, after reading her chapter in Yes Means Yes, I’ve come to find that she points out some very troubling issues that sex education has.

     When it comes to looking at the girl’s side of sex, Cara points out that the information provided is pretty vague. It’s almost as if the course’s purpose is to make the students feel like sex should only be practiced when conception is the desired outcome. Not only that, but these courses only discuss what happens when two heterosexual people participate in vaginal intercourse. They give no description of anal or oral sex for the students in the class that may be homosexual or not interested in vaginal sex. This could have a sort of shaming effect on students because if you aren’t educated about it and your teacher doesn’t talk about it then it can imply that you shouldn’t be doing it. It also leaves girls unaware of their pleasure points. What is mainly talked about is penetration, and how a man orgasms (because that is how babies are born and that is the only reason why you should be having sex, right?). Students are so misguided by the briefness of these courses that girls don’t know that they can enjoy sex too and gays and lesbians can participate in sex just like heterosexuals can. To quote Cara on this point, she states that:

“For me, real sex education… requires actually teaching about sex. Real sex education requires, in addition to teaching about protection, teaching sex as a normal and healthy part of life that is varied in terms of both preferred partners and preferred acts. Real sex education teaches that sex is more than heterosexual intercourse and should be consensual and pleasurable for all participants.”

Image

 

     In addition to learning about all different types of sex, Cara Kulwicki brings up another good point that sex education disregards as a huge factor when it comes to sex — rape. When I think of rape, I think of violent, aggressive and forced sex. In this chapter though, it’s come to my attention that even not giving enthusiastic consent falls under the category of rape. The author points out that even when one partner does not fully want sex but after saying no several times and still being nagged to do it and they oblige, is still considered rape. I think that many people would be shocked to realize that they’ve either acted out the crime or been a victim of rape without even being aware of it. That’s another reason, as Cara points out in this chapter, that rape needs to be another key component in the curriculum of sex education. Students need to know that sex has to be wanted by both partners for it to be okay, otherwise it is wrong.

     Cara caps off this piece of writing by explaining that sex education should be about teaching young adults that pleasure and consent are important and necessary for any relationship and that nobody, whether, gay, lesbian, or straight, should feel ashamed about wanting to feel pleasure through sexual acts. It’s completely normal and healthy as long as it is acted out safely through protection. She also states that, “…there is more to sex than sticking penises inside of vaginas.” There are a variety of different ways in which partners or individuals can go about feeling sexual pleasure. Real sex education should teach these practices and stress the importance of enthusiastic consent, protection and smart choices to all the teens confused about where to stick what, what to stick where and how to touch that.

– Kelsey Gray

7 thoughts on “Real Sex Education

  1. Julia says:

    I also remember the mortifying nature of sex ed classes! That was one thing that stuck out to me when I was reflecting on the few times sex ed happened years ago. A lot of feelings of shame, embarrassment and general awkwardness came flooding back. I was surprised to feel those feelings again, but it definitely made me realize that there IS an issue with sex education in our society. There is a lot of stigma attached to “normal” sex, sexuality, etc. and I think a lot of that stigma results in self shaming and self esteem issues around the body, sexuality, performance, etc. The quote you inserted where Cara says real sex education is teaching ABOUT sex really made sense to me as well. If sex ed like this was possible, it would change a lot of things about sex and sexuality in our society.

    Julia H

  2. Kody McMullen says:

    When we were taught sex eduction in Grade 9 I feel that many of the boys as well as some girls did not take it seriously they saw it all as a joke for the simple fact that some of us were still afraid of the opposite sex at that age. I think that being taught sex ed needs to be the right age so teens know it is actually a serious topic to learn about as well become familiar with. The one thing we had in sex ed class that was great I thought was a question box which was 100% anonymous so anything that one of us heard and never knew if it was true or not we could ask and not be embarrassed about it. (Glad we did not have to do that banana thing!!)

  3. fembu14 says:

    I agree in Kody’s comment when she says that it was a joke and that we were still afraid of the opposite sex. I remember finding the class awkward and vague. I also remember sliding a condom onto a banana, seriously that’s the most awkward thing I could have done when I was in grade 7.

    I agree with Kelsey’s whole paragraph when she states:

    “When it comes to looking at the girl’s side of sex, Cara points out that the information provided is pretty vague. It’s almost as if the course’s purpose is to make the students feel like sex should only be practiced when conception is the desired outcome. Not only that, but these courses only discuss what happens when two heterosexual people participate in vaginal intercourse. They give no description of anal or oral sex for the students in the class that may be homosexual or not interested in vaginal sex. This could have a sort of shaming effect on students because if you aren’t educated about it and your teacher doesn’t talk about it then it can imply that you shouldn’t be doing it. It also leaves girls unaware of their pleasure points. What is mainly talked about is penetration, and how a man orgasms (because that is how babies are born and that is the only reason why you should be having sex, right?). Students are so misguided by the briefness of these courses that girls don’t know that they can enjoy sex too and gays and lesbians can participate in sex just like heterosexuals can.”

    This whole paragraph summarizes everything perfectly. I never considered what it might have been like for a homosexual in the class. Especially at the young age we were taught sex education. I never would have taken this into consideration in grade 7. This is a great blog Kelsey! It has amazing facts, close to the reading and very opinionated.

    Cortney

  4. fembu14 says:

    I totally agree with what Kody and Cortney said! Having a sexual education class at 12 years old is pretty much a huge joke! I know in my school we pretty much just had a puberty talke backed up by “if you have sex you’ll get STD’s and die”. I think it’s super important that sexual education talks carry on throughout high school years! The older we get the more experienced and curious we get and I feel like resources for this time aren’t available. These resources shouldn’t only be for information regarding STD’s and such but should include information on pleasure in many different forms. In order to meet everyone’s needs.

  5. fembu14 says:

    Great blog Kelsey! When I think back to my sex-education experience in junior high all I can remember was sitting at the back of the room laughing everytime I heard the word penis or vagina. I think that this symobolizes how sex education needs to be taught in different stages throughout highschool so students take it seriously. I agree with Kristie when she says that the resources were lacking at the time when teens were most interested in learning about sex. Teaching pbrty class and how to stay away from STD’s by basically saying “don’t have sex” put many limits on our exploration and made us seem like sex was a bad thing when we were young. Instead of having sex-ed talks in the young adult years, I think they should be held at all points in an adolescents development, and they should provide valuable, useful info such as pleasure seeking, contraception choices, protection to STI’s, and they most important thing- THAT IS IT OKAY TO DO.

    Michelle E.

  6. rwoohoo says:

    That was a great blog Kelsey! I loved the last line! I did my term paper on how sexual education is failing today’s youth and you brought up many points that I looked at as well. I never went through sexual education during my years in school, so I find it interesting to read about the teachings that others have received. I agree with you in the idea that concepts of enthusiastic consent and pleasure should be taught within sexual education programs. I also think your point about involving LGBT students more is correct, with that I believe that the same should be done for disabled teens. Because we must include as many students as possible before we can begin discussing the effectiveness of sexual education.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: