Sexual education classes in high school cover the bare minimum (no pun intended) these days, leaving students sometimes with more questions than answers and less schools are even making sex ed mandatory. Creating a safe place for questions of all kinds sets up students to feel comfortable talking about sex in the future instead of being too afraid too ask or too afraid to tell. Students should be allowed to learn about sex in an educational atmosphere and not fear the consequences.
Here are a few things they didn’t teach in the average sex ed class but definitely should have covered.
Learn Your Sexual Boundaries
Just because you say “yes” to sex, doesn’t mean you are saying yes to everything. Have open conversations with your partner and what works for you and what doesn’t. If you don’t feel comfortable partaking in certain sexual acts or positions, you can say no, in fact, you should say no.
Be honest with your partner and do not be afraid to speak up. Sex is meant for two so both parties should always consent to what works for them and what doesn’t.
Definition of “Consent”
This conversation is about 50 years too late and is now more important than ever. There seems to be confusion, on both ends unfortunately, as to what consent is and what it is not. People have tried to overcomplicate and dissect the language behind it, making it even more confusing. Body language and tone of voice can also be used as cheap ways to blame and confuse others if consent was ever really given or not given.
To put it very simply, no means no. Got it?
Ladies, Know Your Flow
Many women think that once you start menstruating, you automatically know everything there is to know about your period and you should not ask questions. It’s like you’re expected to be the expert on ovulating almost immediately. Our bodies are always changing and there are many factors that can affect a regular menstruating cycle like food, stress and exercise.
It is okay to keep talking about your period and take note of your body when it changes. A simple step is to simply track your cycles, which is something many women don’t do. If you are sexually active, this is a really important habit to have. There are some really awesome and free apps that can help you do this and make tracking your flow really easy.
Birth Control Is Not One Size Fits All
Every body is unique and will react differently to various birth controls. Be patient in your search for the right birth control for you; you won’t always get it right on the first try. This will be an open conversation between you and your doctor as you explore your options and try what works best for you.
Remember: the pill is not the only option. It can be quite confusing because there are so many choices so try not to get overwhelmed by them. Your doctor will be able to help and answer any questions you have about what works best for you.
Oh and birth control isn’t 100% preventative of pregnancy; it only works if you take it every day, and even then, it can’t guarantee that you won’t get pregnant.
Your Doctor is Your BFF
Seriously. Not Kidding. You do not have to hide from your doctor. Honestly, they’ll probably find out anyways; your body doesn’t lie. It’s much better to just be honest. They are not there to judge you, they are there to help you. They have already heard it all and seen it all so don’t think you’re going to scare them away.
Open communication with your doctor is extremely important in keeping your sex life and your body healthy. You never want to wait until it’s too late to check on something or ask questions.
STDs and STIs are often a taboo topic in sex ed; they are brought up as scary and shameful and not something to ever talk about in a conversation between you and your partner. This creates an unhealthy cycle that leads to individuals not getting tested and possibly contracting an STD or STI without even knowing it and then passing it on to their future partners.
Getting tested is smart and not weird; if your partner thinks differently, than they are not smart and very weird. Have the conversation, be honest and get tested.
Gender and Sexual Diversity
Most of my peers are genuinely confused by these terms simply because we were never taught them in school. Now people are afraid to ask questions or are embarrassed that they don’t know what they all mean. It’s okay to be confused; using proper sexual rhetoric can be intimidating but is a very important to know new words and be able to use them in conversation.
Even if you don’t understand the terms, respect them. It’s better to ask than assume and using inclusive language can really make a huge difference. Do some research, ask friends you are comfortable with. It might be a challenge at first but it is imperative that we create more open and diverse conversations surrounding gender and sexual norms.
It is very possible to be allergic to materials that may seem normal for others. Having a latex allergy may seem like an embarrassing and difficult obstacle to overcome, but it is actually quite managable. There are ways to recognize if you’re allergic and there are normal substitutes to use if that is the case.
It is important to keep your place of sexual activity, where ever that may be, as clean and sterile as possible to avoid any other possible allergic reactions or infections. A clean sex life is a happy sex life.
What the heck are they, where are they and what do they offer?
Depending on where you live and which clinic you go to, health clinics offer a wide range of services, some of them are even free. Some common services include free STD, HIV and STI testing, counseling services, vaccines and emergency contraceptives. Some even offer walk-in services. These are safe and resourceful places to ask questions about sex and get some helpful answers.
No Shame in Your Lack of Game
There is this myth that your first time is going to be magical and perfect and everything will go right. That usually is not the case for most people. Sex, just like anything else, takes practice in order to get better at it. No one just naturally knows everything about sex, nor is anyone an expert the first time.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of; learning new things about your body should be exciting and fun. Practicing vulnerability, not just physically, but emotionally can immensely improve your sex life. If something doesn’t work the first time, try, try again.
No BODY Is Perfect
Every vagina, every penis, every set of breasts…every body is unique! There is no such thing as a perfect penis and no two pairs of boobs look the same. The sketchy, anatomical drawings of the human body that teachers may or may not have showed you in class usually don’t look anything like the real thing. Usually everyone is surprised when they see a real naked, human body, beautiful imperfections and all.
When you learn to accept your body just as it is, you’ll learn to accept your partner’s body as well. The more comfortable you are, the more fun the sex will likely be.
It seems like we were taught that shame and sex go hand in hand. This feeds into the unhealthy cycle of harmful rhetoric and creates a tense atmosphere when it comes to talking about sex.
This is why people are afraid to talk to even their doctors about sex because they feel like they have to be ashamed. It’s a large problem for women, and men, who experience shame from the public because of their sex life. Slut shaming is never an appropriate response to anyone who is open about their sex lives.
There are ways to take care of your ever-precious genitals, and these ways should be used often and should be taken seriously.
For ladies, urinating after sex is extremely important in order to prevent UTIs. It helps rid your vagina of unwanted and potentially dangerious bacteria and prevents other infections.
Men, cleaning your genitals before and after sex also helps prevent infections. It’s simple, quick and will pay off in the long-run.
It seems like emotional health shouldn’t be taught in a sex ed class, but you’d be surprised at how much they can influence each other. Many people never feel the need to talk about how some sexual experiences can affect them mentally and emotionally.
Talking about the common or frequent emotional affects that can happen after sex are important to discuss. Mental health should never be overlooked; there is no normal way to respond after sex and everyone reacts differently. Sadness shouldn’t be expected, but if it does come, it’s okay to talk about it and discuss it in an open and safe environment.
Talk to your friends, talk to your family, make sure you are being heard when you want to talk about your sex life.
This is not something you want to go the cheap route with. For the most part, the more expensive the condom, the better the experience. Plus the cheaper ones are more likely to break quicker, and that just kind of defeats the purpose.
Men, know what size condom you are. There’s a good chance you could be using the wrong size which can really affect your sexual experience and pleasure for both you and your partner.
A lot of people are confused what is coming out of their body and if it’s healthy and safe. There are ways to determine your sexual health by just reading the signs your body is giving you.
Our bodies create natural lubrication, such as ejaculation and seminal fluid, but there is no shame in using lube to help get this processing going a little quicker and smoother. You should not be embarrassed to use lube with your partner. Plus there are all different kinds, and even flavors, of lube.
Arousal and Orgasms
Arousal and orgasms are not a black and white topic. Every person responds differently to arousal and orgasms sometimes are not easily achieved between partners.
Research shows that a lot can affect arousal and orgasms in a sexual relationship. Things like medication, stress and exhaustion can prevent arousal. There’s no need to be embarrassed, sometimes we cannot control how our body reacts or doesn’t react.
There’s just a lot of words to know, some are more helpful than others. Do your research, look up some new words. You’ll learn more about your body and your partner’s body, ultimately leading to a new level of comfortability. Knowledge is key, folks.
Safe Sex for Same Sex Partners
They definitely did not teach this one in school. Many same sex couples know very little about how to practice safe sex and there are very few places that teach these lessons without judgement.
Same sex couples are also at risk for STIs and STDs and there needs to be conversations about prevention and treatment for same sex couples.
No Sex Is Okay, Too
Just as much as we shouldn’t shame people who have frequent sex, we shouldn’t shame those who don’t. What people do or don’t do with their sex lives is honestly no one’s business.
The word virgin should not be used as an insult. If you don’t want to have sex, no one is making you. Don’t do it to impress others or brag to your friends about how much sex you’ve had.
Sex should be enjoyable for both partners, safe and always consensual.