OMG DID SARAH JUST SAY THE S-WORD??!?!?!!
Yeah, actually I did. And yes, I’m going to talk about sex.
Now let’s be honest, talking about sex can be really, really uncomfortable, especially for a teenager like myself. I’ve always heard awkward stories about kids my age getting “the talk” and there’s this whole culture that’s been created where sex is an uncomfortable subject. This culture is what’s made me afraid of the s-word for practically my whole life.
I don’t know about you, but the sexual education I received in elementary school wasn’t the greatest. I didn’t get any actual sex ed classes until I was in grade six. A nurse didn’t teach them, they were taught by my teacher. The boys and the girls were split up. The things I remember learning about were the anatomy of the male and female reproductive system, menstruation, sexually transmitted infections, and methods of contraception. The material was taught fairly well and thoroughly, however there’s a problem: there are some super important things that were never mentioned in those classes. This includes learning about consent, healthy relationships, and myths about sex.
Another problem with sex ed classes at school is that the majority of the kids don’t take it seriously. Most kids just laugh at it because they feel so uncomfortable and don’t know what else to do. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that sexual education is extremely valuable and it’s something that everyone should be informed about. So here I am, a 16-year-old girl who’s had to learn all these things that were missed in those classes from the Internet. So without further ado, welcome to #sexedwithsarah!
LESSON ONE: CONSENT IS KINDA SUPER IMPORTANT
I didn’t learn about consent until I was in grade ten when I watched a skit that was presented by Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW). I really hope you know about consent, but I will make it clear since a lot of people that think they know about consent don’t actually know all the details. Consensual sex is when both partners voluntarily agree to engage in sexual behavior at that particular time. Every sexual encounter requires consent, meaning that even if a person gave consent to someone one week it does NOT mean that they still give consent to that person a week later. Consent cannot be given if either partner is physically or mentally incapable of doing it. This becomes a huge issue in a lot of sexual assault cases because unfortunately a lot of people don’t understand that just because that girl at the party said yes, it means nothing if she’s drunk. Either partner can also take consent away at any time during their encounter. The most important thing to know is only yes means yes.
LESSON TWO: VIRGINITY???
Even though I’m not religious, for some reason I always considered sex “sinful”. This is partly because of the whole idea of being a “virgin”. A virgin is defined as someone who’s never had sexual intercourse and it’s often associated with the idea of “purity”. In my early teens, I made a big deal out of making sure that I adopted this role of a pure and innocent young girl. I thought that doing anything sexual would somehow make me a terrible person because society says that if I have sex, I’m a “slut”. I became really self-conscious, as well as afraid and anxious about sex. And all of this was for no good reason! What I failed to realize is that it is completely natural to have sexual feelings and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having sex as long as it’s safe, legal and consensual. I understand now that the word “virgin” is meaningless and it’s something that I prefer not to define myself as.
LESSON THREE: WHAT THE HECK DOES A HYMEN DO
Another reason why I’ve always been afraid of sex is because everyone says that the first time is going to hurt. I mean holy shit, if someone tells me that there’s going to be blood and that I’ll be in total pain, how could I not be scared out of my freaking mind? Later I saw some articles like this one that popped up on my newsfeed that discussed myths about sex and I learned the truth. In sex ed classes I learned where the hymen is located, but it was never explained to me how it actually works during intercourse. And guess what: the “pop your cherry” thing is well… not a thing.
There is so much misinformation that’s spread about sex and it makes sex into something that it’s really not. Knowing the truth about sex and understanding how it actually works has made me so much less stressed and anxious about it.
LESSON FOUR: YAY FOR SEX
This brings me to the next topic of SEX POSITIVITY! (Yes, that required being in all caps.) I recently became an avid Youtube video watcher and discovered Laci Green, a Youtuber with over 1 million subscribers, a sex ed activist who runs an amazing show on her channel called Sex+ and the babe that made that cherry popping video that I hope you took the time to watch. I recently got to meet her at an event that was part of UBC’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month and omg I am so in love.
But back to the subject, watching her Youtube videos made me realize how sexual education isn’t only important, but it can actually be really fascinating and cool. And it turns out, there’s a lot of other Youtubers like her too! Actually, there’s a whole sex positive movement happening out there.
These Youtubers challenge the norm of sex being taboo. They show how sex doesn’t need to be an uncomfortable and scary subject. The current culture that makes sex an awkward topic needs to change into a culture where sex is something that can be openly discussed so that people can have a better understanding of it. Sexual education needs to consist of honest conversations, not teaching myths and lessons that lack useful information. Receiving a quality sexual education is beneficial to everyone, especially for confused and misguided teenagers like myself. So let’s stop making the s-word a bad word!