By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Things that should be taught in sex-ed...

Reader, the other day, a friend and I were laughing over drinks about how naive we were about sex as teenagers, and exchanging some of the ridiculous things we thought back then and urban legends our 15 year old selves had been convinced were true. It made me think a bit about how actually, I learned very little from my sexual health classes that could be put to good use (not helped of course by the fact that when I was having those classes, your contraceptive choices were limited to the pill, condoms or a coil and we were taught by a very nice lady going through the menopause who for some reason decided a group of 15 year olds really needed to know all the details of childbirth rather than the realities of sex.) If I were to go and teach a sex ed class (thank god this will probably never have to happen) of young women, there are certain things I would definitely make sure they knew. And because I am not particularly likely to do that, and because as far as I can tell, everyone is still being shy about all this stuff, I am going to ignore the British voice in my head going 'DON'T TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF' and actually tell you some stuff! Which may be helpful if you're a 15 year old girl. Or a 20 year old girl. Or whatever.

 Things we didn't learn from sex-ed classes, that might have been useful

  • The majority of the time, the guy has no idea if he's got an STD, and you won't be able to tell either, so until you both get tested, keep it covered missy! 
  • The pill may have side effects. No, not in the same way paracetamol says 'may cause dizziness', more like 'may make you want to eat literally everything, may give you crippling migraines, may make you a crazy person who cries or yells all the time, makes you fall in love with people that you would never normally fancy because of weird hormonal effects, stop you wanting to have sex which, let's face it is the SOLE purpose you're on the damn thing anyway'. If they try and give you microgynon say hell no. It is dreadful. None of my friends have had good experiences on it.
  • No you can't get pregnant by giving a guy a hand job in a jacuzzi
  • No you can't get pregnant by both being naked in the bath
  • No you can't get pregnant by hugging each other for a long time
  • Yes you can get pregnant even if he doesn't finish inside you. Stuff gets released even before that.
  • Look, this is a picture of what a real penis looks like. And here's an erect one. In fact, here is lots of photos, just to show how different they all are. 
  • No, testicles don't have a hard skeletal casing.
  • No, penises don't have a bone, they get hard because they get a rush of lots of blood to them.
  • This also makes them change colour.
  • Yes they can break. Please be careful with them.
  • Here is a pamphlet about thrush and cystitis. If you are a woman who is having regular sex (or sometimes, because life is cruel, even if you're not and haven't got any in a long time) you will probably have both of these things. They are horrendous. 
  • Boobs are weird. Seriously, don't worry about them. Just wear good underwear. 
  • Periods are hell. Feminax is brilliant, hot water bottles are heaven, dark chocolate helps. 
  • Oh my god guys, sex is SO MESSY. Like, SO MESSY. 
  • There is no elegant way to deal with the mess.
  • Never feel ashamed for wanting to have sex. Wait till you are legal, and wait till you are emotionally ready and with someone who will treat you well, but never feel ashamed. It's a natural and wonderful thing. 
  • Go and read erotica. Work out what turns you on. Porn is made mostly for men, and to be honest, it's not sexy. You might find erotic fiction better. Or sex scenes from The Postman Always Rings Twice or Cruel Intentions. Go, discover. Don't wait for your partner to tell you what to feel.
  • The implant is like a gift from god. Rare periods, no pills, less side effects. Heaven. 
  • Sex is not just for pregnancy. Your teachers, nuns, parents, local priests etc may tell you otherwise. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM.
  • Ignore the awful 60's diagrams your science teacher will show you. Sex is not laying down, very very still. This is generally a much less fun way to do things.
  • You don't have to be in love with your sexual partner but it helps a LOT. Like, it's so much better it will BLOW YOUR MIND. However, you do have to definitely want to do it.
  • You can say no whenever you like, it is completely your right. Even if you are naked, even if you're already halfway through. The most important thing about sex is consent. 
I think I'd better repeat that last one, because it's SUPER important:


You are the boss of YOUR body. I have heard too many stories recently about people only having sex because 'they felt they should' and saying that they had sexual encounters that weren't rape because 'I didn't say no' but felt pretty close. Say no. It is your choice, and your right. It is also your choice to go and have sex. Do not let people shame you, or make you believe having sex is something to feel bad about. You feel exactly how you want to feel about it, whether you choose not to go through with it, or you take that step. And talk about it. Ask questions. We are a closed off society sometimes, and we shouldn't be, because it means teenagers are afraid to be curious. There is always someone who will be willing to be honest with you if you are brave enough to ask the scary questions.


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