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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Things you wish you'd learned in sex ed

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Author Topic: Things you wish you'd learned in sex ed
Niki
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Assuming you've been through some form of sex ed, what do you think was important that you weren't taught?

Well, for me:
-Everyones body is different.
-There aren't many nerves in the vagina, and vaginal sex might not be as pleasurable for a female.
-You can get pregnant on your period, even if it doesn't happen very often.
And, We were taught how not to become pregnant, but not what to do if we did become pregnant.

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orca
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I really wish they'd taught us how to say no to a partner that isn't willing to use a condom/how to get a partner to use a condom. I think that's one of the most important things for people to learn how to do (outside of knowing that you should use a condom in the first place and how to put on a condom).

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Stephanie_1
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All due respect to all the right places, and a cheer for my health teachers for trying ... but I honestly feel that this question for my response would be better worded the other way. The important things that I was taught correctly would be a much shorter list ( [Smile] ) .

My health teachers actually told us that:
~Using two condoms is safer than using one (What?!?)
~Pulling out is a very safe method to use (Who says?)
~You can't get pregnant if the guy doesn't ejaculate (Really now?)
~A girl can't get pregnant having sex during her period (Since when?)

Though these aren't all of them ... most of our education centered around abstenance and misinformation (Which is why I started looking for the right answers). I wish we would have been taught the right information ... though from what I hear it's gotten better since we left.

[ 03-16-2008, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: Stephanie_1 ]

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eryn_smiles
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I wish they'd mentioned that GLBT people EXIST and that there are other types of sex than intercourse. I wish they'd told us that its ok to question your sexuality and to be unsure.

I mean, for pitys sake, our health teacher was a lesbian herself!

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PenguinBoy
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I really wish they'd given a bit more guidance about communication in relationships in general. Rather than a clinical scientific heterosexual hypothetical look at sex.

I'm glad there was no assumption that anyone was or wasn't having sex, that condoms were extremely important. But a little less scare mongering would have been needed to do that...

A little more info on the treatment of STIs rather than how bad it can get if you don't protect.

I wish there was a lot more info on enjoyable sex... they never mentioned lube or anything like that... speaking of which a lot of general mythbusting would have been brilliant as a large percentage of the people i know still think the vagina requires stretching before intercourse can be enjoyable.

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Frogmite
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Orca--it's funny you should mention that, because the only part of middle school sex ed that I remember vividly was being given a handout listing excuses that partners might give if they didn't want to use a condom.

I wish they'd told us exactly how a condom worked. I spent the longest time thinking that they were purely for STI protection and there were tiny holes in the tip to let sperm through.

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oOo Lea oOo
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I agree, Jacob. I really don't know how many times I hear my young male relative and his friends (who are just entering the age where they are experimenting in sex) refer to their partner as having a "tight" vagina, and talking it up as if it were such a good thing.

Every single time I just stop them in the middle of boasting and say, "Hey, if it is as "tight" as you say it is, that may feel good for you, but it probably, and most likely, does not for her. It is more likely to be painfully uncomfortable." And I explain that they need to make sure their partners are ready to be intimate in that way and that if they are, they need to take the time and give her the chance to be fully relaxed and fully aroused so that she may find it pleasureable as well..

I really wish Sexual Health instructors would take the time to teach that little piece of information as well, since it is very important . .

[ 03-20-2008, 08:10 PM: Message edited by: oOo Lea oOo ]

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And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
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Alice
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I went to a private Christian middle school - the "sex ed" was something like in Mean Girls "If you have sex you will get pregnant and die." Plus some stuff about tape, gum... Ugh.

Luckily, I went to a public alternative arts high school and took health independent study, so I did my own research for health topics and stuck to Scarleteen for sex ed. [Smile]

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splishysplash
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We didn't really have sex-ed, but I will say I wish I'd learned that every body is different, and it's the idea of comfort and self respect that allows you to be healthy regarding relationships.

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it's better to have something to remember, than nothing to forget - frank zappa

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Jill2000Plus
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That masturbation is pleasurable and safe and there's no reason why I shouldn't do it.
What the clitoris is and that it is the source of my orgasms, with 8000 nerve endings, that vaginal intercourse might not be that pleasurable for me and is unlikely to lead to orgasm without additional clitoral stimulation.
That orgasms can really help with period cramps, and also with insomnia in some.
What lube is and about being sure to be plenty lubricated, as otherwise penetrative and other sexual activity whether by oneself or with others will be much less pleasurable and most likely quite painful.
Why anal stimulation feels so good for a lot of men (about the prostate) and that it's fine to like it regardless of your genital configuration.
A bit more about various sexual practices other than intercourse, emphasising that lesbians can and do have sex without a penis, about anal sex, etc.
What an abortion is and how to get one, and how to get support with continuing a pregnancy (where to get resources, finding a good doctor, information about what to expect during pregnancy, which should of course be available to women considering an abortion so they know what they might go through if they choose to continue the pregnancy).
That some individuals are intersexed and that that isn't bad.
That bodies come in all shapes and sizes, with some discussion about how beauty standards affect women a lot and men somewhat and the way that a lot of beauty standards are biased towards having white looking features and lighter skin.

My sex ed did say that there was nothing bad about homosexuality, and did that whole "everyone write all the sex-related words you can think of on a board and ask questions" thing, we were taught how to put a condom on a model penis (not particularly realistic, some of them were just a cylinder attached to a base with a semispherical end at the top), we talked about birth control, there was emphasis on not pressuring or forcing anyone to do sexual stuff with you or anyone else, and there was one kind of great moment when I asked one of the teachers a question about spermicidally lubricated condoms and they said they don't taste so great (nice when you get that kind of open response from someone). We were also taught about penises and vaginas, though I can't remember whether the diagrams were circumcised or not, and most of that information was given in biology class, as well as the information about intercourse. I think we got the "periods are nothing to be ashamed of and here's how to deal with them" talk. There was never really any discussion of gender roles and stereotypes, though the teachers weren't generally blatantly sexist. They also did tell us that using two condoms is unsafe as they can split when they rub against each other, and did what I seem to remember was accurate pregnancy myth busting. We discussed STIs and how to prevent them.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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NeoWings
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ok, honestly i think i had the lamest sex ed ever-it was only a small part of a life management course that only went on for two nine weeks, and all we did was cover the male and female parts-that's it! Maybe a bit on STD's, but other than that nothing else, and very base mechanics of sex (this goes in there.oh, and use a condom). Just that wen men are aroused, it stiffens and rises, and women soften up and become wet, but other then that nothing else. Although it incited many giggles when my teacher discussed it seeing i wasn't really even all that interested in sex when I was 15 as I was more scared of it than anything.

Now I'm 19, and I really wish they had discussed a lot more like more mechanics to sex, discussing it with partners, and other alternatives to sex. It's now for me more frustrating than ever that such topics are in general too taboo for normal conversation, because I have so many questions about the way sex works and how it can feel better or worse that I really want answered, and it's still a little weird to talk about it with my mom or my boyfriend.
Hence why I love this forum [Smile]

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pcwhite
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I don't think I have particularly original complaints, but I really wish our sex ed wasn't so hetero-phallocentric. And that our teachers taught us anything whatsoever about LGBT issues other than the cursory defensive "oh, and gay people have sex too!" crap. We're always an afterthought, if we're even mentioned at all.

(I'm lucky, though, that I live in Canada and we didn't get the abstinence-only crap in high school. I remember reading about ab-only for the first time on Facebook and I thought the writer was exaggerating, it looked so ridiculous.)

I want to fair, though, and not rag on my teacher herself. She was a nurse from public health and she only had a narrow window of days with which to teach us; given her restrictions I think she did a good job. She was candid with us and made sure we knew we could stop by the nurse's office any day she was there for free condoms (and I think a few tests, too?).

Out of curiosity, has anyone had any school-mandated sex ed that did delve into LGBT issues? Scarleteen is the only place I've seen that actually includes us in every discussion about sex, rather than relegating us to a small and separate section of the main text. (e.g. the "dealing with homosexual feelings that you might not even have to worry about because you'll probably grow out of it anyway!" chapter.)

---

by the way, I think now is as good a time as any to thank everyone here at Scarleteen for all the awesome work you do. It sounds sort of corny, but...you all really helped me build up the courage to be true to myself, even months before I ever thought to join the message boards. [Smile] If it wasn't for this place I would probably still be hiding from my family and friends.

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CJT
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One sex ed curriculum that's pretty advanced and awesome about LGBT stuff is the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum, which is, interestingly, put out by the Unitarian Universalist Church.

So while the sex ed I had in school was pretty bad in that regard, I know others who went through the OWL program through their church and got a pretty solid education from that.

The curriculum starts in kindergarten and runs through to adulthood, and focuses on what is developmentally-appropriate for people to know at different ages and developmental levels. It's fabulous!

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orca
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At my public high school, the sex ed did go a little into LGBT issues, but it was only saying that if a guy has intercourse with another guy, they should use a condom. There was no mention of dental dams for lesbian women (though they did tell the guys to use dental dams when performing oral sex on a woman).

I met a woman recently who works at the health department here and goes out into the community teaching sex ed. She actually told me that she refuses to teach safer sex practices to "the homosexuals," as she put it, because she finds it to be "immoral, unnatural, and against God." We spoke for a while and she talked about the different jobs she's had and how sex ed was something new for her and she didn't really like it, it was just a paycheck. I really had to wonder, though, if someone has such a huge issue with sex (and she also said she has a hard time informing teenagers of safer sex practices because that's also against her beliefs) and different sexual orientations, then why the hell would you go into that field? I wanted to yell at her to get another job and stop being so bigoted, but ya know, cordiality is what's expected around here. I'm scared to know how many other people at the health department think the same way.

[ 01-17-2009, 09:15 PM: Message edited by: orca ]

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Project Sex Ed
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IF YOU HAVE A STORY ABOUT YOUR SEX EDUCATION THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE VISIT...

WWW.PROJECTSEXED.COM

Help be a part of the story!

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fairy_archer
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We never really had sex ed at my school. It's a Catholic school, and we were supposed to have it senior year, but it didn't cover anything at all. We went over the menstral cycle and what FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) was.

She said that she wouldn't tell us how exactly FAM worked so that we wouldn't try to use it...

Most of the stuff that we learned was very innacurate.

We couldn't learn about contraception, because it is against the Catholic faith.

Nothing about homosexuality.

We learned that Condoms don't work. (not true)

We learned that masturbation is a "Grave and disordered action" (also not true)

Half of my class still doesn't know what a clitoris is.

We really didn't learn anything.

Somehow though, the last day of class, my teacher made us watch videos of women giving birth.

It was weird. I'm so happy that I have a mother who discussed everything with me. She is really open and cool about that stuff.

I just feel bad for the girls in my class who are misinformed. It was such a bad class.

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Adreanna
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I went to two different high schools and got to take sex ed twice. (yay lol)

First I went to a Catholic school, and the sex ed there was downright terrible. I'm not sure how they could actually call it sex ed, as we didn't really talk about sex much. The class was girls only, and we mostly talked about female parts and the menstrual cycle. Come to think of it the teacher never really talked about male parts other than to tell us that there was a diagram in the textbook if we wanted to look. Pretty much all I got out of it was if you have sex you'll get pregnant and/or an STD and you'll die and go to hell.

Then I transferred to a public school that actually had a pretty decent sex ed. Like a lot of other people mentioned I wish they would have talked more about female orgasms, the fact that women can get pregnant during their periods and LGBT issues. However they were pretty comprehensive when discussing types of contraceptives, pretty much told us we should use a condom every time, no matter what else we're using (good advice for high schoolers at least.) They talked about how to use a condom properly and where to get them free. Another topic that they talked about was date rape drugs and precautions that women should take in social situations like getting your own drink, not setting down your drink, ect. I remember when I got to college I was telling my roommate about this after going to a frat party and feeling really uncomfortable about how the drinks were being handled and she said she didn't even know what date rape drugs were. In my opinion that is a major disservice not to inform women of things that can protect them.

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Mortality
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I went to two different schools and more or less missed out on sex ed.. One of the first classes I went to in my new school was when they got their tests handed back [Razz]

I've researched a lot on my own though.. So I don't feel like I'm misinformed or uneducated ^^

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goodmagpie
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Firstly, this has been really useful for me - I'm helping run a centre at a camp for young people that does sex ed. in a few weeks and it's great to know the kinda stuff people missed out on learning - hopefully I can help fill in the gaps for some others.

I wish: we'd talked about LGBT people, relationships and sex; we'd talked about sex in a way that included all sexual activity and not just made it sound like penis in vagina sex was the end goal, and that it was the most pleasurable, emotionally meaningful and valid type of sex; we'd discussed it in a way that acknowledged teenagers fall in love, and that love can be the real deal; we'd been treated intelligently; we'd had a nurse that was confident enough to talk to us without blushing; we'd had it bilingually, so I could have actually understood it (for the basic 'insert point A into slot B' type stuff, we had an 80s video in Welsh which featured a woman in a yellow jumpsuit who wandered around a flourescent model uterus that looked like it had been made using materials from a pound shop); that woman had been mentioned in a way that empowered them, rather than being portrayed as somewhat submissive; that kink was mentioned in an unbiased way (I had a nurse who said if you wanted to perform analingus on someone, there was something wrong with you; that masterbation was mentioned; that there was a space and an opportunity for questioning and discussion...

My list goes on and on and on and on.

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Heather
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quote:
(for the basic 'insert point A into slot B' type stuff, we had an 80s video in Welsh which featured a woman in a yellow jumpsuit who wandered around a flourescent model uterus that looked like it had been made using materials from a pound shop)
I cannot begin to tell you how desperate I am to find and see this now. Not in a good-sex-ed-to-see way, more like wanting to watch a train wreck, but all the same, it sounds all kinds of B-movie awesome. [Razz]

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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
quote:
(for the basic 'insert point A into slot B' type stuff, we had an 80s video in Welsh which featured a woman in a yellow jumpsuit who wandered around a flourescent model uterus that looked like it had been made using materials from a pound shop)
I cannot begin to tell you how desperate I am to find and see this now. Not in a good-sex-ed-to-see way, more like wanting to watch a train wreck, but all the same, it sounds all kinds of B-movie awesome. [Razz]
I too would like to see this video. If you're into that kind of silly educational video stuff, I highly recommend the spoof series "Look Around You".

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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BlackCat
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I used to think my sex ed was pretty good, especially considering what a conservative town I live in.

Though after reading through some of this, mine wasn't nearly as good as most of yours.

The upsides included (and was pretty much limited to) the fact that we had a woman come in from the county's rape crisis clinic. I don't know if they did anything beyond that, actually, but it was a few years ago. She talked about how important it was to use a condom (and while she forgot it on the day she was giving us the lecture, everyone knew that she usually brought one in and put it over her arm to demonstrate it wasn't too small). And how condoms protected from STDs and such. And that most birth control was pretty darn effective if used correctly so even if someone tells you there's a 10% chance of something failing, that's mostly human error and not an excuse not to use it.

However, we were never really taught anything about condoms besides them being important and not too small.

While we were taught abortion was an option and there's more of an option out there besides abstinence it was more LOOK HOW SCARY THESE STDS ARE!

I guess the really sad part is it was better than what a lot of people get and still far from being "good".

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mottobedis
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I think my sexual education lasted one day--excluding anatomy, though, we weren't told how anything worked, just the names. Walked into the health room to find "SEX IS BEAUTIFUL" written in nine inch letters on the blackboard. What ensued was a forty minute lecture about how we shouldn't have something so wonderful until we were married in good Christian unions.

The Health teacher held a Bible study group on Tuesday afternoons. I went to a public school.

Last five minutes of class he took questions. I asked about gay sex. He said it was irrelevant. I said "Oh, really?" He kept me after class to tell me I wasn't funny. We were nearing the end of the end of semester, and he had enough of my radical notions. Boys have poor body image? Absurd! There should be mention of sexual abuse in the chapter of domestic violence? Ridiculous! I know now that I picked the wrong side to argue for in that 'Should marijuana be legal?' essay. However, I 100% stand by my declaration that smoking made everyone look really cool.

I didn't learn anything useful in high school, except to distrust authority figures. Fortunately, I come from a shameless family, who discusses sex at the diner table.

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Shea
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I think I can honestly say I had an AMAZING sex ed class. Our teacher taught us EVERYTHING, from female condoms, to how you can get pregnant at any time, to how bleeding is a total myth, to how to put a condom on correctly. She of course had to say "abstinence is the only fool proof plan" but she also told us she knew we were human and that, as long as we were safe, there was NOTHING wrong with sex.

I think the only thing we didn't learn was about extra strength hymens. But that was hardly the worst thing a person could miss out on.

[ 07-20-2009, 06:32 AM: Message edited by: Shea ]

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Eevie
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quote:
Originally posted by Niki:
And, We were taught how not to become pregnant, but not what to do if we did become pregnant.

Amen! I recently found out that I'm pregnant (I'm 17 andI was kicked out of home. The father ran away to a city about twelve hours away by car) and I really resent that I wasn't taught what to do. I had little idea of what I was gonna do but luckily I found Scarleteen and I think I'm all sorted [Smile]

I was also taught that homosexuality was the worst thing ever and basically you're gonna go to hell if you're a lesbian. Plus the usual you-can't-get-pregnant-when-on-your-period (I found that it wasn't true the hard way) plus a lot of other incorrect information. Which is what makes Scarleteen so awesome [Big Grin]

I'm rambling now, but I think the Sex Ed progamme here really needs to improve, or at least recommend this site to get correct information!

Evs

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initium
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We were never taught about sex proper. The physical side of sexuality was limited to heterosexual intercourse, and taught in biology classes, but mentioning sexual acts is, afair, disallowed in this country and could get the facilitators into trouble. I don't know how many of my peers are sexually active, but I'm sure that most of us just fumbled our way into doing things without being taught.

Sex ed classes were mostly about the emotional aspect, how to deal with relationships etc. Again, as per my home country's values, there was a strong emphasis on dissuading teenagers from entering into relationships, but I never felt very marginalised or offended because the teachers were basically people who'd been through life and had some unpleasant experiences in their growing-up days and they wanted to protect us from being emotionally hurt. (Getting hurt that way is very easy when you're fourteen to sixteen in an extremely academics-oriented environment that doesn't promote people skills.)

First few years of high school, for some reason, the local chapter of Focus on the Family did our sex ed - they're not recognised as a religious organisation here, which means they can - but thank God most people realised their "condoms will fail, abortion is murder" bullshit was bullshit - thanks to the biology classes mandated in the national curriculum. For that I'm grateful.

Homosexuality is a touchy topic in Singapore, and it can't be brought up. While I'm comfortable with who I am, and most queer people I know are too, I wish we'd been taught about it in sex ed, because there's a lot of internalised and shallow homophobia in an adolescent milieu, and sometimes it would have helped for everyone to know that it's okay and natural.

I also wish we'd learnt a bit more about non-procreative sex (which for obvious reasons was not included in the biology module on reproduction). For example, even now (most people my year are age-of-consent) I've got female peers who haven't a clue about the clitoris and the vulva. And my boyfriend was asking me about pregnancy and sex-on-period. So obviously there was a huge gap in our education when it came to sexuality proper, and while I understand that the facilitators really faced intense legal, political and social constraints talking about such things, I wish I'd learned about them in a professional setting rather than through my own research and experimentation.

I came across a blog by a local teacher, recently, asking for links to sex ed resources. She seemed a fairly liberal person, the kind who would do all that was possible to circumvent the restrictions on sharing information with students, so I gave the Scarleteen site address; hopefully some other class out there somewhere will be getting a bit more knowledge than mine.

Beyond that, just female sexuality should have been discussed more. The whole deal about procreative sex, when everything else is excluded, is powerfully patriarchal, and the ignorance about female desire and response is terrifying, so I wish that sex ed had not been so focused on the male perspective. Even to us girls (it's taught in sex-segregated classes) it was all about how to react to guys. Yeah, that ticked me off >.<

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