View From a Failed Sex Ed Class

Audrey Sebatindira 9 December 2015

Let’s talk about sex. Or rather, let’s talk about the things that people don’t talk about when it comes to sex. Recently, I found myself sat with an assortment of English students from my college, each an undergraduate from a different part of the UK (and each a little bit merry from the society-funded wine). We took turns disclosing the varying ways in which sexual education had been taught at our corresponding schools.

Each expressing a different way in which the teaching had failed us, scarred us, attempted to indoctrinate us, or made us never look at a banana the same way again, it was clear that an adequate education of sex and sexual health was something our teenage years had been severely lacking in.

It is a wonder how a society which created pornographic gifs of a blonde white woman being repeatedly and graphically penetrated over and over and over again, which can be found on every internet streaming site, is not also the same society to break the taboo of talking about contraception and sexual health with your friends and family, or even to provide a proficient education of the two in your adolescent years. The aforementioned gif coincidentally accompanied my Friday night watching of the incredibly excellent ‘Easy A’, a film in which Emma Stone’s sharp and smart Olive lies about losing her virginity and pretends to sleep with a gay classmate to stop him being bullied. The consequences address the double standards affixed to male and female sexuality, Olive acquiring the identifier of ‘skank’, to which she plays up to in behaviour and dress, only to become vilified by her peers even more.

While the film and the gif promoted very different ideas about sex itself, both presented a highly sexualised (and utterly fictional) version of the female body to be interacted with visually and through the medium of a screen. With twenty four hour access to a wealth of multimedia directly related to the ins and outs of fucking, the dos and the don'ts, the availability of awful cosmopolitan articles explaining where you should be shoving an ice cube, pornography to suit every preference, and an NHS directory of sexually transmitted diseases, have we become over-exposed and perhaps even numb to the act of sex itself?

I'm not saying that everything on the internet should provide a quick introductory guide to intercourse, an outline of the the importance of consent, and offer information of how to obtain the morning-after pill or a free chlamidya test (both of which can be acquired by a quick trip to your friendly GP), but that perhaps we could do with some education that what we see on our screens is not always true to real life. Furthermore, it would be great if I my dad didn't feel he had to awkwardly ask me if I was "using protection" over dinner. And if the conversation about 'who you went home with last night' was less interested in scandal than it was with consent. And at the end of the day, what is the harm in being clued up for when you hook up?

(At this point I will advise you check out Laci Green's youtube channel which kind of covers all the things your sex ed class didn't quite get round to).