The sexual education in England is a LOT more informative than the sex-ed in America, but it still pretty much sucks. There are way too many guys who ‘don’t really get’ what a period is, and way too many girls who clearly have no idea how to protect themselves from STDs or accidental pregnancy. An old friend of mine had no idea what masturbation was at age 15, while another friend had lost their virginity at age 12. Clearly there’s a problem here. Sexual education is something I’m passionate about, so I firmly believe that the whole system needs a huge overhaul. But at the most basic level, sex-ed should have taught us a few things…
1. They should have taught us everything about penises, and told boys everything about vaginas. So many guys don’t have any ideas how the female reproductive system works. The majority have no idea what you mean when you say ‘vulva’. Is it any surprise they get grossed out by periods when they know nothing about them? We all need to be taught about the other gender. Seriously, it will only lead to positive things, like guys understanding why we need a tub of ice cream for one week per month.
2. They should have been honest about the risk of pregnancy. Sex-ed programs have a tendency to be alarmist when it comes to getting pregnant. Obviously, there’s a risk, and we’re all trying to prevent accidental pregnancies in women who just aren’t ready. But by telling people that whatever contraception they use, they’ll probably get pregnant, sex-ed has created women who have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to protecting themselves, and are just huge balls of anxiety who are petrified that every sexual encounter will lead to a positive pregnancy test.
3. On a related note, they should have been more honest about different types of contraception. For a start, American sex-ed needs to actually educate students on contraception. I won’t even get into how ridiculous abstinence only sex-ed is, but let’s just all agree that it doesn’t work and it needs to change. Okay? Okay.
4. They should have taught us about all the gross/embarrassing/weird parts of sex. You know what you never see in movies? The part after sex where they throw away the condom, or grab tissues for a post coital clean up. I had no idea what happened to cum after sex before I actually started doing it. I thought it just got absorbed or something. Sex-ed needs to teach us about queefs, not getting wet enough, erectile dysfunction, you know, all that awkward stuff – so that we don’t freak out when it comes up.
5. They should have taught us about the emotional side of sex. In England we learned the names of every sexually transmitted disease, but no-one ever spoke to us about relationships. We need to be taught about the physical aspects of sex, sure, but why not encourage open discussion about questions like: when should I have sex? What if I like girls? What if I’m scared? Teach us that sex is more than just a reproductive act, it will make us understand and respect it a whole lot more.
6. They should have taught us about homosexual relationships. I don’t remember homosexuality coming up once in any of my sex-ed classes. This sucks because people start to see gay and lesbian sex as this weird, scary thing that they know nothing about. It’s also horrible for any gay students who have to sit through feeling isolated and uninformed.
7. They should have taught us about rape. They should have taught us that it’s okay to say no, and what consent really is, and that what to do if rape happens. They should have taught us about sexual harassment, and daily sexism. They should have told male students all about this too. They should have taught male students not to rape, not to believe that they’re entitled to sex.
I could write about this forever, detailing everything that I wish I had been taught about sex, and that I truly hope students will be taught in the future. But this is already a long post, so let’s move it to the comments section. What do you wish they had taught us in sex-ed?