Are Scaremongering and Prudishness causing misinformation?
Are we doing it right? We live in a world where technology is advancing at break-neck speeds and we strive to better the world and ourselves at every turn. So why, in many parts of the globe, are the methods employed to educate our young on sex so outdated? And why do we have to question if fear plays a role in how they’re taught?
There are several types of sex education methods used around the world today, with the two main programs being abstinence-only and comprehensive. The latter is a little misleading, because it may be comprehensive in name, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s comprehensive by nature.
Sadly, in many countries, the level of knowledge imparted in comprehensive sex education classes is severely lacking, with only the bare minimum of facts being given.
Although this practice may be better than adopting an abstinence-only approach, where literally all you’re taught is to abstain, it still has the potential to be very damaging.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my own sex education in British schools was largely focused on instilling fear. Basic personal biology was all that was offered in junior school.
So as a female I understood that my body was capable of growing and delivering young, but I had no real grasp of the process involved to get it there. That didn’t come until later when I was in high school.
Looking back, the complete lack of education was awful. I’m lucky, my family had ensured I was well informed, and it really is a good job. You see at the age of ten, whilst still in primary school, I began to bleed.
Imagine starting to get your periods when you have zero understanding of what this means for your body. Sure, I knew about reproducing, but our classes had been so vague and we’d never really looked into the changes females face before their bodies become able to carry children.
So by 1993, I was in a comprehensive secondary school. The jump from barely any sex education to having a regular lesson on all things life was quite extreme. They called it ‘Design for Living’, because they were probably too prudish to call a spade a spade.
Why is that? The human form and what it’s capable of is nothing to be ashamed of, and yet we didn’t really use the word sex. Not unless it was unavoidable.
We learned how to put condoms on bananas (useful, no?), about femidoms, diaphragms, and caps. We never really touched on the contraceptive pill, which confused me because my doctor had already put me on the pill at this point, for medical reasons.
We spent time learning about how ineffective these types of contraception could be, having percentages drummed into us … abstinence is the only way to not fall pregnant.
STD’s were next at the scare-fest. Today, most would opt for using the term STI, but that wasn’t ever used when I was young. Disease sounds so much more frightening than infection, don’t you think? We focused more heavily on this than pregnancy and the actual act of sex – and largely on the consequences suffered by contracting STD’s in the first place.
From the more obvious pain, discharge, bumps, and swellings, through to infertility, cancer and heart disease. Whoa, easy there, I’ve not even had sex yet, and you’re putting me off! That’s the point though, isn’t it?
Of course, the facts are undeniable. But when you’re young and impressionable, instilling fear is counterproductive. Was I ready for my first sexual experience? Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, I suspect there would always have been a feeling of being unprepared surrounding the event, but I was totally petrified.
I didn’t feel like I had grasped the basics well enough to know if I had been safe enough. I was surprised to not find myself pushing a pram, and hugely relieved when my legs didn’t fall off.
Failing Sex Education
The education system in Britain failed me. The Internet was still in its infancy, so I had no other outlets, besides asking my family, to research and learn about all things sex. And there was no way I was going to get library books on the subject – the embarrassment would’ve killed me. Stupid I know, but I was a hormonal teenager.
In America, a worrying amount of states adopt the abstinence-only teaching method. This scares me beyond belief. There are kids wandering around out there with literally no clue what would happen if they went against the lessons they’d been taught. No clue about sex, contraception, consent, or sexual health. Never mind the emotional side of things. It’s just not right.
Was my own education any better though? I may have known the nuts and bolts of it, but sex was shrouded heavily in fear. I wasn’t taught how to emotionally prepare, or how to deal with my feelings afterward. I was taught, inadvertently, that it was something to fear. Pleasure never came into it. Ever.
I understand the theory behind that; we don’t want our hormonal teenagers jumping into bed at the earliest opportunity because they heard it could feel awesome.
But research has been done, in countries where pleasure is part of the syllabus, which suggests that really isn’t the case. Children are not more likely to begin sexual relationships earlier. In fact, some research has shown they’re more likely to wait. They value its magnitude and meaning far more.
We should take a leaf out of the Netherlands’ book. Comprehensive sex education starts at the age of four. Obviously nothing explicit, but by the time they’re eleven, self-image, gender stereotypes, love and relationships, sexual diversity and consent issues have all been covered.
They’re prepared for what comes next, and they’re taught that it’s ok to just be you, without fear. Imagine that? A gradual learning process that leads to a well-rounded understanding, and children who don’t feel ashamed of their own feelings. They call it sexuality education.
Fear has no place in education of any kind, but especially not in sex education. We need our young to be able to move forward and grow, and we need to arm them with the right tools and knowledge so that they feel confident in making the right decisions.
It doesn’t have to just be down to the education system though. Learning like this can, and absolutely should, begin at home. We may not be able to change the attitudes of schools or governments quickly, but we do have a choice. Show them the right way, and give them what you probably didn’t have yourself.
THEY DIDN'T TELL YOU THIS
Don’t worry – this should be a lot more fun than your high school health class.
- ALL CONDOMS ARE BASICALLY THE SAME.
Besides material differences, condoms actually come in a wide variety of sizes. Not all condoms are created equal. Mainly, you have latex, polyisoprene, polyurethane, and to a lesser extent, lambskin.
Most companies make a “snug” condom, for penises that are smaller than average, and a “large” condom or “XL” for penises that are larger than average. Beyond this, there are actually differences among brands.
There’s also a new version of the female condom available now, called FC2. If you’re convinced that condoms just don’t work for you, you probably need to experiment with more brands and more styles.
- IT’S NOT NORMAL TO NEED LUBE.
Nothing could be further from the truth! First of all, there are many reasons to need lubricant. If you’ve noticed that you haven’t been producing as much vaginal moisture as you used to, it could be from taking birth control pills or antihistamines (many allergy pills), both of which are extremely common medications.
Even if you just require some lube to get things started, that’s perfectly normal and totally okay. Many people opt for water-based lube; try to choose one that’s formulated without glycerin. For a longer-lasting slickness, look for a silicone-based lube (just don’t use it with silicone toys). For anal play, always use a lubricant.
- ANAL SEX ISN’T PLEASURABLE FOR WOMEN.
Some people don’t enjoy anal sex, it’s true, but it definitely can be pleasurable regardless of your gender or genital anatomy! To ensure that you have a good anal experience, it’s best to keep a few things on hand and remember to go very slowly.
Start with a finger or a small butt plug made for beginners (silicone, glass, and metal are the best materials for bum toys). Use plenty of lubricants, and stop if you feel any pain. Never use a numbing cream, gel, lubricant, or spray – pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop.
- THE CLITORIS IS THE ONLY SENSITIVE PART OF THE VAGINA.
Well, first of all, the clitoris is a separate organ from the vagina (which is technically the muscular tube-like canal). The clitoris is actually shaped like a wishbone, and while the part that is visible – known as the glans – is indeed the most sensitive, the internal “arms” are also pleasure centers.
Additionally, labia can be very sensitive, and the G-spot is no myth. Experiment with different kinds of touch and see what works best for you.
- BIGGER IS ALWAYS BETTER.
I’m not here to knock bigger or smaller penises. In fact, I think you can be a phenomenal lover regardless of your penis size. What you really need to know is what position will maximize what you’re working with. Is your penis curved upwards?
You are going to be her G-spot’s best friend! Short, but thick? Try positions that allow maximum depth, like girl-on-top. Long and slender? You’re perfect for spooning because the added length makes it easier to maneuver. No matter your penis type, I guarantee you’re the best at something.
Your first time is never going to be the best time. There’s no such thing as losing your virginity and having the best time. Sex is messy, awkward at times and definitely laughable. Just as long as you and your partner(s) are having fun, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.
Never hold back on telling your partner(s) what feels good and what doesn’t. If you can’t talk about sex with the people you’re having it with then you probably shouldn’t be having it.
The person you lose your virginity to does not own you, they do not have control over you and you don’t have to thank them for “helping” you.
If he tells you it’s “too small” proceed to unwrap the condom onto his foot to prove that he’s a lying sack of garbage.
When you put on a condom, there’s a chance you’ll lose your erection. The more you focus on it the faster your penis will shrink. It’s best to have your partner stimulate another area of your body while applying the condom to keep you aroused.
Condoms suck. Almost no one likes them but they save lives and prevent disease. Wrap. It. Up.
Look out for the wet patch once the party has ended and pray you don’t end up sleeping in it.
There will be smells and noises you never thought could be a thing, but they exist and they will change you.
If your guy doesn’t smell his freshest downstairs, say something! If you plan on spending a decent amount of time down there, you’re going to want it smelling like heaven, not a wet dog.
- BUTT STUFF
When you “douche” you will immediately feel like you’re going to lose control of your body. Given that you’ve just sprayed water into your butt, you’ll definitely want to make it to the toilet as fast as possible.
If you don’t warm up your butthole before being penetrated, you’ll be in for a world of hurt. Try a finger or a small toy and plenty of lube.
Shit happens. It’s a butt and we all know what their primary use is. Just be prepared.
- THE MORE YOU KNOW
There can never be too much lube. Lube is a godsend when it comes to butt stuff, never forget it.
Just because you like butt stuff doesn’t mean you have to always be the bottom and to all those “strict” tops out there, taking it up the butt just once won’t change the fact that you’ve got “masc 4 masc” on your Grindr profile.
Sex on a full stomach does not make a good time. If you plan on bottoming, be cautious of what you eat, it’s always best to plan ahead.
When it comes to sex, if you’re comfortable, happy and feeling safe; everything will work out and be okay.
If you go into sex expecting perfection though, you will be sadly mistaken.
Sex isn’t supposed to be perfect. There will be times when you want to laugh; your partner(s) will say things that will make you giggle. Embarrassing things can happen and you will want to bury your head in the sheets and that’s completely normal.
The most important thing to know about sex though is that every experience will be different and exciting. Each time you have sex, you will learn something new about yourself and your partner(s), you’ll figure out what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, what gets you excited and what gets you off.
Here at KIIROO, we’re always focused on smart, quality adult sex education. If you’re interested in learning more about the future of sex toys, check out our article on Teledildonics! We’ve also covered some awesome information on sex toys for men, and why masturbation is part of a healthy sex life.