Apr 14 2019
It is arguably well-known that Sex Education in schools is, overall, inadequate.
Part of that is the absence of pleasure.
Both despite this and because of it, there is an enormous amount of shame, stigma, fear and judgment for most people around the subject of sex and pleasure.
When I think back to my childhood, I cannot recall any sex education in primary school. The sex education in schools back then was strictly for secondary school and was exclusively focused on reproduction.
I never heard the word pleasure uttered once.
Many people agree that our desire to connect is what makes us thrive. It is what makes us happy.
In contrast, pleasure-based sex education seems less worthy, less important than sex education around making babies.
In my sex education classes, I recall nothing being said about gender identity or status, sexuality, attraction or the different relationship styles.
LGBT was not an acronym I even knew back then, let alone GSRD (Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity).
As for masturbation, it was certainly discouraged and usually one for the boys. The pleasure aspect was implied and gendered.
The unspoken message I received and continue to receive to this day is that the things I think about, and the things I want to know more about and do are wrong. My pleasure was undervalued and secondary at best.
For many, the sex education they receive is via conversations and experiences with others and watching porn.
It seems very much like the uninformed informing the uninformed, or maybe it is the unempowered passing on what they knew. As for porn, it is often lacking real-life information, intimacy, verbal consent, boundaries or healthy role models.
Generations of stigma and loneliness
This lack of sex education in schools means we have generation upon generation who are learning the hard way if at all. Many of my clients are adults in their forties, fifties and beyond, who are wanting to discover their sexual selves before it is too late.
The majority of adults do not, or cannot, talk to their friends, families or partners about sex. It certainly isn’t talked about healthily in any religious capacity I have seen and I am yet to see any work lunch and learns relating to sex. Have you?
I know that we must talk about this more openly and engage each other in conversation. By doing this we can counteract the loneliness and the lack of intimacy and connection prevailing in our society.
Sex Education Role Models
As adults, those of us who want to work in this area are often targeting for gossip. We are deemed as living ‘alternative lifestyles’. We are shamed for wanting to talk openly about the secret stuff and regarded as less than. It goes with the territory.
I struggle to think of any mainstream role model who is openly talking about sex and is celebrated and championed for it.
Do you remember how in the 80s or 90s of tales of Sting, the lead singer of The Police was known for his tantric sex moves? The tirade of jokes and newspaper stories that followed that reveal was mocking, shaming and made the common man look like a joke too.
Part of my work as a sex educator is to unpick the stories and experiences from school and beyond. To nurture the parts that have been hidden due to shame, stigma, judgement, bullying and abuse.
Empowerment comes from understanding our bodies and allowing our sexuality to be seen and expressed in a consensual way.
Sex Education Resources
For adults who want to learn about their bodies, there is a fear of having to get naked. As far as I am concerned, you do not have to get naked anywhere other than the comfort of your own home.
Can we learn about our bodies without the need to be touched by anyone?
Similarly, we can be naked and if there is a desire for touch we can ask for it. It can be done consensual, ethical and honouring.
I use anatomically correct vulva cushions and soft cocks to encourage engagement. Can we explore these parts of our bodies in a fun and interactive way?
I can show images of bodies, including genitals, to re-frame the images we have about what is acceptable.
Through embodied coaching, I encourage movement, breath and self-touch to soothe, stimulate, nourish and excite.
Sometimes I wish I could take a photo of the people I work with before a session and after a session. The relief is palpable, and their bodies and faces are visibly different. More open, more relaxed, more seen.
Sex Education in Schools
Progress is being made in schools. On 5th April 2019, the government published a news article introducing compulsory Relationships Education for primary pupils and Relationship and Sex Education for secondary pupils. You can read more about it here.
The target dates to start this new approach are September 2019 for early adopters and September 2020 for the remaining schools.
I wonder who will be training the teachers. Will they be bringing their legacy of misinformation and their lack of sex education with them to the classrooms?
How can I help you?
Do you, your partner, your friends, your work colleagues, your community, dare I say it, your family, want to know more about real sex education?
I am based in Central London and offering in-person and video conference sessions and programmes for individuals, partnerships and groups. You can find out more about these sessions here.
Programmes include Sex Ed on Tour, which is a clothes-on experience, open to all genders, all sexualities and all identities. I can come to your location whether it be an office, public venue or home, suitcase in hand, packed full of materials to give a playful, information and personalised experience.
Finally, My question to Corporate colleagues:
Will you be the first to bring Lunch & Learn Sex Education sessions to your business?
What would it be like to know you have made a difference to the people you work with? Could you empower the people who work for you in a way that helps them be happier in themselves and their personal lives?
Something to ponder…