What's the deal with sex ed anyway?
When we started flossy, we had just as many conversations about the current state of sex shops as we did about the education (or lack thereof) that we received about our bodies, sex... and the rarely used word – pleasure.
What started with a conversation about buying a vibrator soon became a conversation about our own experiences with shame and stigma around masturbation, with both of us feeling slighted that even in our late 20s, there were so many things we felt we never learnt about our own bodies. When we compared our cross-continental lists (Caroline in the States and Annie in Australia) of our own sex education, you would think surely one of us received a marginally better sex ed than the other. We're sorry to report that 11,849km (7,357 miles) did absolutely nothing in the way of improvements to our overall sexual and reproductive health, let alone our sexual self-confidence and knowledge about our bodies.
After we catapulted into the adult world with not much more than fear-mongering stats about STIs and how to avoid pregnancy, most of us – if we haven't already – discover porn. While it's typically not used as an intentional tool to learn about sex, it often ends up subconsciously shaping our view of it. Porn typically reinforces unrealistic, cis-male centric, hypersexualised ideals around sex and pleasure. Side note: If you're looking for porn that will leave you feeling good, look no further than this comprehensive list).
So on one side we have lacklustre, and often shame-inducing sex education, balanced with a heavy side of visual stimulation, that teaches us almost nothing about our bodies and what the experience of sex is actually like.
In a recent flossy survey, even something as common as vaginismus, was information one women reported not finding out about until her honeymoon when she had penetrative sex for the first time! Can someone please tell us how we are supposed to move towards empowerment and bodily autonomy if we aren't aware of certain incredibly common conditions until we turn 35?!
This week, we asked, you answered...
"What's something you wished you learned in sex ed..."
- What's normal and what's not - menstrual health edition — 100% agreed
- That sex is normal!! And enjoying it is nothing to be ashamed of — 100% agreed
- All the types of sexual abuse that exist. It's not just direct penetration — 100% agreed
- Masturbation is NORMAL & GOOD — 100 % agreed
- Penetrative sex doesn't work for everyone — 100% agreed
- How great pleasure can be (not purely focused on safe sex) and that masturbation is normal — 100% agreed
- Consent! — 100% agreed
- To not compare your life to the sex/relationships you see in media — 100% agreed
- That sex doesn't just equal penetration — 99% agreed
- The beautiful differences of vulvas — 98% agreed
- The pleasure aspect of sex - I was taught to be scared of sex but it's such a beautiful, pleasurable act — 98% agreed
- Different types of contraception... all I learned was using a condom and the pill — 98% agreed
- Vaginismus and other conditions and how to work with them! — 93% agreed
- The spectrum of genders, non-genders, sexuality and identity - sex ed for me was in 1996 — 87% agreed
- Queer sex — 85% agreed
- I wish my country taught sex ed — 68% agreed
Plus we couldn't forget to throw in a few we personally wish we learned in sex ed (in addition to every single 1-16 mentioned above!):
- Foreplay is important — Annie
- Your worth is not defined by your sex life, sexual drive or desires. — Caroline
Might I suggest taking printing this blog post out or copy+paste 1 through 18 into your phone notes to use as a sex ed affirmation list? It can be something to pull out whenever the thought crosses your mind... "is this normal because a, I never learnt about it in sex ed and b, I rarely see it depicted in any porn..."
Sex is always the most pleasurable when we feel most in tune and connected to our bodies and that starts with good, quality, comprehensive information about sex, pleasure and our bodies.