From Periods to Penises: What Sex Ed Didn’t Teach You 1 636

sex education

The school system has long been a pain point for parents everywhere. From underfunded student programs to underpaid teachers to school lunches that are all but nutritious, the list of concerns is not a quick read. 

And pinned right at the very top of this complaint sheet is the lack of comprehensive sex education for students. 

Unlike archaic textbooks and penniless sports teams, sex education is a topic of concern for public and private schools alike. 

So chances are, regardless of the school you attended kindergarten through high school, your sex education curriculum likely skipped over a few key points. 

Here are 10 things your sex ed class probably did not cover: 

1. Birth control comes in many forms.

Depending on the state you grew up in and the schools you attended, birth control may or may not have been brought to your attention. 

Today, 37 states have laws that require the inclusion of abstinence in sex education and only 18 states require sex educators to provide information on birth control.

If you were lucky enough to even hear the word birth control in school, odds are the conversation started and finished with the condom

A truly comprehensive sex ed curriculum will dedicate ample time to introduce all birth control options, their benefits, limitations and how to access them. 

2. Sex is bigger than penetration.

For far too many younglings, sex is first introduced as a baby-producing activity that involves a man inserting his Johnson into the vagina of a woman. 

Yeah… seriously, that’s it. 

More often than not, this is the narrative shared with students. This not only reduces sex to a procreative process, but leads children to make the assumption that sex can only happen between a penis and a vagina. 

It’s time for sex ed to kickstart the talk off right, and it should go something like this: 

Sex is fun, and it also can make babies. It can be between a penis and a vagina. Or between people with the same genitals. It can be a 2 person event. Or a solo session. Even a party of sorts. It can be penetrative; penises and dildos work the same. Or it can be oral. And don’t forget about the back door. 

3. Penetration often isn’t enough. 

Sex ed also loves to leave pleasure out of the conversation. 

Many times, people don’t discover until later in life that most women cannot climax from penetration alone. External stimulation is an orgasm prerequisite for vulvas everywhere, and yet it will take a person countless visits to a mainstream porn site and a handful of underwhelming sexual experiences to learn this. 

4. Lube deserves a spot in the bedroom.

Lube rarely gets a mention in the sex ed classroom. So let it be known that lubricant is your friend and a totally normal bedroom addition. 

Due to sex ed not covering the topic of lubrication, kids are left to form their own ideas around lube as they mature. Unfortunately, the most common narrative is not lube-positive. 

People frequently look at lube as a source of embarrassment or as an assistant in the case of sexual malfunction. This is false. A dry entryway is as common as mud… and lube is a sensational solution. 

5. Porn is performance.

Porn’s bad reputation is the best explanation for why it is seldom mentioned in sex ed. But given its accessibility and widespread viewing from people of all ages, it is important to emphasize a couple of critical points. 

First and foremost, porn is performance. What you see on the internet is not the universal expectation of sex. Nor is what you find online an adequate representation of the many ways people have sex. 

A scroll through a popular porn site may lead one to believe that sex is overwhelmingly heterosexual, that women are supposed to be submissive and that the sole objective is for men to come. 

But let’s be real. Sex is so much more than a straight, hypersexualized, male-guided affair. 

All of this is not to say porn should be avoided. Watch away. Rather, it is important to understand that what you see on screen is not a blueprint for sex. Do what feels right for you and your sexual partners, porn aside. 

6. A stretched list of sexual partners does not indicate a stretched vagina.

The idea that the more sex you have, the “looser” the vagina gets is a myth that has gained far too much air time. 

The vagina is a muscle. It relaxes and contracts just as every muscle does. 

So until a child makes its way out of your gates, you don’t have to worry about the size or shape of your vagina making any rearrangements. 

7. Peeing after sex can help prevent UTIs.

UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are clinical bacterial infections that occur in women. They are incredibly common, with 50% to 60% of women experiencing them in their lifetime. 

These infections cause discomfort and sometimes pain. If a UTI is brought to the attention of a doctor, they will often prescribe antibiotics as treatment. 

But who wants to deal with treatment when there are preventative steps you can take? 

The solution is simple: pee after sex. 

Urinating after sex prevents bacteria from making its way to your urinary tract and causing an infection. 

8. STI testing is necessary. No shame. 

The most ironic thing about sex ed may very well be its depiction of STIs. 

When sexually transmitted infections and diseases are covered in the classroom, the lesson is usually accompanied by grotesque images of infected and diseased genitals. 

Which is why it is so ironic that sex ed doesn’t simultaneously teach children the importance of routine STI testing. 

This is especially true for LGBTQ+ youth. According to the CDC, teenagers who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risk of contracting STDs.

Not sure where to get free and discreet STD testing? Put in your zip code here to find testing centers near you.

9. Masturbation is normal.

Pleasure is as human as walking, breathing and eating. And if it hasn’t been said before, masturbation isn’t just for those with penises. 

Sex ed curriculums, at large, neglect to address this topic in the classroom. But why? 

Masturbation is far frequently viewed as something that shouldn’t be discussed in public. It is also perceived as an act that is exclusive to self-pleasure. But let’s be real, masturbation is so much more

10. All things LGBTQ+.

There is no blog long enough to discuss all that sex ed fails to cover regarding LGBTQ+ sex and relationships. 

Here is a glimpse of what is going on in the classroom: 

  • Only 9 states require educators to include the discussion of LGBTQ+ identities and relationships in their sex education curriculums. 
  • 7 states, of which all are in the South, prohibit educators from discussing LGBTQ+ identities and relationships with students. These states not only forbid these types of inclusive and affirming conversations, but do not allow educators to even answer questions on the topic. Additionally, many of these laws require educators to teach LGBTQ+ identities and relationships in a negative light. 

In short, how can teachers be expected to incorporate LGBTQ+ identities into sex ed when their school, district or state prohibit them to do so?

Simply put, it’s impossible. Which is why progressive change to sex ed standards starts at the top of the food chain. School leaders, district administrators and even state legislators are the loudest voices in the room. 

So, if you are nothing more than a blog reader and sex ed advocate, it may be best for you to turn your eye here. Sex education reform petitions are begging for your autograph. Don’t leave them waiting.

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