What we wish sex education actually taught us
Ahh, the sex talk – awkward parent chats and weird leaflets. But seriously, diagrams of vaginas and penises (yep, that was the entirety of my sex school education done and dusted) isn’t going to cut it anymore. And let’s face it, neither will putting a condom on a banana either.
With the rise of Snapchat and Instagram, sex education seems like something from the dinosaur era. And it probably is – sex ed guidelines haven’t been updated since 2000, making it a whole eighteen years old *gulp*.
Here are all the things we wish sex education actually taught us, y’know, in the era of the internet.
That periods are something to embrace
Periods rock. Sure, you can get a face full of spots but guilt-free snacking, taking a rest day and being a human hedgehog (yep, really)? We’re SO on board. There are SO many great things about our periods that we shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed by it.
LGBTQ+ acceptance education
Not *every* girl likes boys and vice versa – sometimes, people can be attracted to just one gender or both and that’s OK. Some people feel that they don’t identify with a specific gender either. So, it’s not enough to simply show male and female anatomy given that some people identify differently or may be confused. Teaching LGBTQ+-inclusive education isn’t going to magically turn people – instead, it’s going to teach respect and tolerance of other people’s choices and that’s no bad thing.
Sex isn’t a race
Just because your older sister is on the Pill, it doesn’t mean you have to even *think* about sex (she might be on it for totally different reasons anyways) – and you should never feel forced to by your boyfriend/girlfriend or your friends. Remember, the legal age is 16. Your mum’s right, slow and steady really does win the race.
Sex isn’t the most important thing in a relationship
Yep, really. Being in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean you need to have sex. Brook, a sexual health and wellbeing charity for people under 25, found that in a survey of 5,000 people asked what they liked best about being in their relationship, sex didn’t even make the top ten. Instead, laughing together, sharing interests, being best friends, feeling supported, safe and secure came out trumps. Laughs FTW? We’re on board.
That y’know, it can actually be FUN
Somewhere along the line (probs between the banana condom thing and the awks parent chat), the message seems to have got lost. We’re going to blame this on the gym teacher from Mean Girls: ‘Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, ok, promise?’ Sex education can be seen as something to ‘get over with’ but that’s not how it should be. Sure, you need to be of legal age, consenting and make sure you’re protected, but in the future it can actually be something that isn’t scary that both people can enjoy.
Abuse in relationships isn’t always physical
It’s easy to pass off abuse as something physical but just because someone doesn’t punch you, that’s not to say it’s not abuse. If your partner criticises the way you look or dress, stops you from talking to other people or forces you to go further sexually, that’s not OK. If you’re worried about where to go for help, check this out.
How to cope with online harassment
Getting a nasty message online about your new haircut can ruin your day, but what do you do when you get one? Statistics from Plan International UK found that 85% of girls aged 11-18 want their school to teach them how to cope with sexist, racist or discriminatory behaviour online. Whether you decide to tell an adult, report it or ignore it and go about your day – don’t feed the trolls as the saying goes.