Following on from my recent post about beauty in our society I want to write something about sex education. It’s a topic that I have cared about since my ok, but rudimentary sex education in high school. I was prompted today by this article in the local paper. From the article:
So it is not uncommon then for a female student to graduate high school having never received any formal education on topics such as natural lubrication, the clitoris, female masturbation or the female orgasm, even though the male equivalent of these topics were first broached way back in primary school.
The inherent asymmetry this creates then stigmatises female pleasure, while reinforcing a phallocentric model of sex. Thus male pleasure is centrally coded into the experience and attributed hyper significance, while the female orgasm is treated as taboo, embarrassing, irrelevant or even non-existent.
Worse still, by erasing female needs and prioritising male needs as paramount, the current model of sex education normalises male entitlement and perpetuates female voicelessness. At a fundamental level, this reinforces the same gender stereotypes and patterns which give rise to sexual violence and intimate partner violence.
For Manon and Lyndsay, this all points to a need for urgent reform, starting with more consultation with young women.
I couldn’t agree more about the need for reform. Also for the participation of young people (girls and boys). And that when we neglect to make sex education broad and inclusive of both genders (and a range of ages!), we help to entrench stereotypes that marginalise women and their right to self knowledge and sexual pleasure.
It is a regular occurrence for me that I meet women who have little connection with their bodies and their sexuality, who have difficulty achieving orgasm, and generally have a hard time enjoying sex. It happens so often that I specifically offer “therapeutic” services to try to assist women and give them a better sex life. It is enjoyable and rewarding work for me, but in an ideal world it would not be necessary.
To this end I have often thought about (collaboratively) writing a set of ebooks for young (and not so young) people about all aspects of sexuality. Not just the biology of reproduction like I was taught at school, but about relationships (straight, gay, bi, open, closed, and poly), kissing, masturbation, oral sex, contraception, consent, peer pressure, penetrative sex, breaking up, emotions, porn, and anything else that people wanted to hear about.
Importantly I think that this sort of material shouldn’t be “one size fits all”, but revised or expanded for gender, orientation, and age. Young people need access to this information, but even us adults need it too some times.
And we now live in an age where (thanks to the magic of computers, smartphones, tablets, and the Internet) we have the ideal means of distribution and totally private viewing for this sort of material. In short the time has never been better to solve this problem.
Having said that, I guess it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and write something. So, a question for my readers: as a young person (or as an adult), what aspect of sexuality would you have liked most to be able to pick up a short e-book and read about?
In hindsight, as a teenage male, I would have benefited most from a book about masturbation for boys/men. I suffered for many, many years with premature ejaculation (ironic I know, given what I do now!) and I can absolutely attribute that to having no idea about how I should have been learning to masturbate – with a view to having a healthy sex life once I had a partner to share sex with. Just a few basic tips would have made my sex life (and that of my first three partners) much more enjoyable.
So, please let me know what you think. I am very interested to hear your thoughts.