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Post Info TOPIC: Hetero-normative Sex Education


High Mookish Shaman

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Hetero-normative Sex Education


Okay mooks, lets see what we've got on this one.

Hetero-normative sex ed is all I was taught at school, and only now am I starting to realise just how damaging it can be. Queer women aren't taught about the different ways to have sex with one another (it's not all about penis-orientated penetration) or about ways to protect themselves during same sex liaisons. It was only through TV shows and the steamy novels that I learnt these things. Dental dams, cleaning sex toys etc was never even mentioned in sex ed class. 

Gay male relationships were barely touched upon. It was stated that guys sometimes liked other guys and had sex with one another (very helpful and informative), but again any suggestion of the 'how to' side of sex was purely focused on penetrative sex. 

You can see why young people turn to pr0n of all things to learn about how to do things. I'd be interested to know what your experiences of sex ed was, and whether you learnt more than just man-woman penis-vagina sex. Also, whether you feel that a purely hetero sex ed is in anyway damaging to young people.



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High Mookish Shaman

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i was thinking about this just the other day!

when i was at school (15 years ago) we were informed about hetero sex in both a scientific way (what bits go were) and a religious/emotional way (about the differences you might feel etc) and a little about male/male sex (mostly because there were a few 'out' male students) but never anything about female/female relationships/sex; i remember being confused about how 'lesbians' interacted and felt too shy to ask

i was actually very interested in how my body responded to different things and wouldve liked more insight into this but the focus was always made on how to make babies and not catch diseases etc

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Mookish Deity Most High

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All I was ever taught was that men and women had sex by a man putting his penis in the woman's vagina. They briefly touched on STDs and condoms in year 10 or 11 when we had someone come in to talk about sex ed, but they were only there for one session and that was in a less formal school/environment. In mainstream school it was always PIV sex, mostly also framed as a "when a mommy and daddy love each other very much..." thing. There was never any mention of non-hetero sex or orgasms. Everything I learned beyond that was from my peers, the internet and accompanying some friends to the women's centre for condoms (before it closed down). Mostly the internet. I'm still learning. I wish that there was more focus on queer sex, consent (we never ever touched on consent), sex for pleasure... I guess they always made it seem like sex wasn't okay for anything but making babies, only done by middle aged married straight couples. I remember them mentioning that women's sex drives were much lower than men's and they kind of made that seem like fact, like something that annoyed men. That annoyed me.
Sex education is so shitty.

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High Mookish Shaman

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I think people's sex drives vary wildly from day to day, if not hour to hour. Your sex drive has nothing to do with gender, it's just that women are taught that wanting sex is wrong some how.

Consent and communication is something that is also never touched upon. It is such a fundamentally important part of all sexual relationships!

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Mookish Deity Most High

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If nothing else, my sex drive is MUCH higher than Tudor's, and always has been (with the exception of the weeks immediately after Squidge was born, when I don't think any woman would really consider much).

Our sex ed was... well, there was a lot of it. But it was a lot of the same thing. Like, the same three hours over and over again. The only bits that stick in my mind are:

1) The textbooks stated that age of consent for male-female sex was eighteen and male-male sex was twenty-one. That was not the legal definition of either at the time, and I'm not sure if they were just old textbooks someone forgot to replace or if they decided we didn't need the actual ages.

2) An RE teacher (atheist of Jewish descent) showed us various contraceptives and didn't explain them very well. I mean, she held up a coil stuck to a piece of cardboard and gave a vague description, but I only got a proper insight into all the different kinds of contraceptive other than condoms and the pill after Squidge was born at the age of twenty-one.

3) Said RE teacher was quoted as saying that she knew of people who had used the morning after pill as contraceptives, and abortion as contraceptives, and that both were 'wrong' but no explanation as to the health reasons these might not be ideal. Just the moral line of 'you're killing a child'. The head-teacher was outraged that she'd said that... because abortion and morning after pill weren't in the curriculum and so she thought we didn't need to know they existed.

4) When asked about male-male sex, the same teacher said the memorable line 'that area is made for soft poo, not a hard... well, not that'. I'd reckon half the class didn't actually know what 'that' was.

All this is in the last of our sex ed classes, in year eleven, when most (or all) of the class was above the age of consent.

I'm actually thinking that perhaps it isn't something we should learn in school. Not because I don't think kids need it, but because I don't think schools can handle it. Lots of schools box-tick to get you through exams, and there are few exams on sex ed (just the biology parts, in science I think) so it doesn't matter to them. We were taught what the government stated we needed to know, no more. The problem is, schools are the easiest places to get information to all children of a set age group, as you can't guarantee they'd all go to a GUM clinic if they offered classes, or a club that covered it. And it seems easy to get RE and Science teachers to cover it for a couple of hours a year because you're already paying them for the time anyway and non-teachers would require additional funding.

Children need to be taught, from as early an age as possible, that gender is about what a person feels like and that loving anyone is possible. Girls need to be taught as soon as they learn about sex all about consent, and real proper advice about contraception (not the usual mythbuster of 'crisp packets don't work', real information on all the types available so they can learn what works best for them). Boys need to learn that their partners have to consent, and nothing but saying yes counts (instead of being allowed to assume that a girl who arrives on a date in a skirt wants it). Everyone needs to be taught to respect themselves, their sexual partners and other people.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I missed the first year of secondary school so I'm pretty sure I missed something, but in my last year of primary school they showed us an animated video of how to make a baby (man on top, woman on bottom, missionary style AND NOTHING ELSE). I can't remember much else though, except my teacher taking all the girls and teaching us about periods - we passed around a (unused...) tampon and a sanitary towel and were told we'd bleed for a few days every month, it might hurt and we'd get angry, and that's that. Then my teacher took all the guys and told them about condoms. It was all ridiculous and lazy and stupid.

Then in year 8 we were shown pictures of what STDs look like and told that if we ever have sex with anyone we'll all get STDs, and that was the last of my sex education.

Absolutely nothing about anything other than how to have hetero sex for the sole purpose of baby-making. It didn't help that I went to a Catholic school and their attitude was 'you're allowed to be gay but you'll go to hell if you actually engage in homosexual activity' as well as 'contraception is a sin'. Probably why they warned us we'll all get STDs if we have sex, of course we will if we're banned from using contraception. Anyway I went to a school that seemed to be full of horrible homophobic teachers, so there was absolutely no chance of them telling us about non-hetero sex.

My sex education was ridiculous. Thank god for the internet.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I'm not sure I ever got more that one lesson of biology in year 7, explaining the basics of heterosexual PIV sex and puberty (excluding lessons for GCSE's/A-levels explaining fertilisation etc.). We were meant to have an RE lesson on it, including the whole put a condom on a banana thing, but my RE teacher decided she felt uncomfortable with it, and opted just to skip it.

I hadn't really realised how inadequate our education had been until I had a conversation in year 13 (with sexually active 18 years olds) where I learnt that people though that your insides were basically one big cavity and that you could therefore get pregnant from anal or oral sex, amongst several other misconceptions and strange ideas.

So yeah at my school, the mechanics of hetero-normative sex were never properly covered, never mind anything more.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I learnt the basics of STDs, Contraception and PIV sex also a little bit about healthy relationships which was shrouded in weird metaphors about rocks. I remember having conversations with my friend wondering how lesbians had sex. I've learnt pretty much everything I know from the internet and actually a lot from here!

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I've slept with more women than my boyfriend has, but he knows more about lesbian sex. Porn for you.

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High Mookish Shaman

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^ I used to think that women had sex by taking a running leap and colliding their vulvas together. Apparently though this isn't normal practice.

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Booky Mooky (mod)

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In primary school PSHE, year 6 we learned about periods, puberty, and slang names for genitalia. That was about it. My secular secondary school we learned very little about same-sex sexytime, I don't think they deemed it necessary (why the fuck not?).

They were very comprehensive in our year 10 sex ed classes on contraceptives, the morning after pill, and STIs/STI prevention, but I think that's just because Milton Keynes had a very high rate of teenage pregnancy and Chlamydia in under 25s at the time. Those lessons were delivered by nurses from the Brook clinic, and as such they were pretty relaxed and nice about everything and anyone's questions.

I do remember one point she explained to us that anal sex is done by same and mixed gender couples, and that penetration doesn't just mean penises, and also explained why someone saying you have a 'loose' vagina doesn't work at all as an insult. There was nothing to do with gender though, which I think I would have been beneficial. I think the main points they wanted us to take from the classes were the age of consent, how pregnancy occurs and is prevented, and how to put on a condom properly. Abortion was only touched upon in RE lessons when we debated various moral standpoints in Christian and Hindu teachings. That was my school, the town catholic school didn't have sex ed lessons. Unsurprisingly had the highest rate of teenage pregnancy.

Everything else I learned from the internet, talking to friends, having sex with people, and volunteering with Brook. My parents taught my sister and I about consent throughout our lives so they had that base covered. Interestingly, my sister went to the same school as I did, though she was three years my junior, and learned even less than I did! I had to make a powerpoint presentation for her friends to cover everything except how to put on a condom.

Reading how inadequate everyone's sex ed has been is actually really upsetting. Emmi made a good point though - is it best to be done in a school setting? Logistics wise it is definitely the easiest way to educated all the youths in the country, but you obviously will always have kids who dismiss everything in the class for the simple reason that it is in a school. At present in the UK there are only guidelines for how to do sex ed, so it depends on the individual school to mould those guidelines how they see fit, and these guidelines haven't been updated since 2003.


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Mookish Deity Most High

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As an elementary teacher I can tell you that sex education in schools is a delicate subject. I teach 5th and 6th grades. Some of my students have older boyfriends and are sexually active and others don't even know what periods are. In 6th grade, they spend one hour with a nurse who talks about the basics and that's about it. I had a chat with some students about protection, consent and respect and I gave them numbers they can call if they have questions. We also had a couple of discussions in class about same sex relationships during the Sochi games but most of them don't really understand the concepts of love, relationships and sex yet so it's difficult to really reach them. When I was in high school, we used to have sex ed classes (twice a month) but the government removed it from the program a while ago. I think it was a really big mistake.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^ British person not getting what grades actually mean, could you tell us the age groups you teach?

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^My students are 11 to 13 years old.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I remember the Primary 7 (Scotland, 10-11 years old) periods and puberty talk. High school PSE classes covered peer pressure (so sex and abstinence was lumped in with drugs and alcohol), STDs (though I think the only one I remembered from that was HIV/Aids, penis goes in vagina biology, something about emotions (you will have feelings, we won't really explain what those feelings are but you will know when you are ready to have sex...just don't do it til you are over 16 and in a stable relationship) and a bit about protection but I think it basically covered condoms/femidoms (who actually uses them) and the pill though it probably included others. We were never shown a condom or how to put it on. RE covered abortion from the morality aspects along with euthanasia (we watched the euthanasia video, don't think we saw anything on abortion).

Everything else I learned about from friends, boyfriends and the interwebz.

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High Mookish Shaman

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The only sex education I had was in biology at around the age of 14, we were told about how to procreate basically.
Nothing was ever mentioned about consent or homosexual sex.
I remember watching a video when I was about 11 in school about puberty but it was very hushed over, we also had the period talk when we were about 13, even though most of my friends were already menstruating by then.
Sex education in Catholic schools is awful, we were never shown how to use condoms, we were never taught about STIs, literally everything I learnt about sex was from the internet and the older I get the more it infuriates me.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I learned about putting condoms on by trial and error. I thought it was because I was a girl, but at least three of my boyfriends had to be shown how to do it. The first of which was also my first sexual partner, so I'd had no actual experience putting slimy rubbery things on penises. Reading in magazines and the leaflet in condom boxes does virtually nothing to prepare you.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that what we were taught was useless. Much like high school drugs talks, our sex ed mostly covered rumours we hadn't even heard. Stuff like you can get pregnant fucking upright and sniffing glue sticks is stupid. Well, there's two things we didn't think of at all, never mind considered would be true/a good idea.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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My sex education seems pretty good compared to a lot of people's. Period talks at ten and eleven, at twelve we had "this is how you have sex", at thirteen it was "here are all of the different contraceptives and their pros and cons, condoms come in a million varieties, here's how to put a condom on a wooden penis (I don't know how they obtained a giant wooden dick, but they managed it) and NO YOU CAN'T GET PREGNANT FROM ORAL SEX and YES YOU CAN GET STIS FROM ORAL SEX), and from fifteen it's just been GENITAL WARTS HERPES HIV CHLAMYDIA.

The downsides were we never heard anything about anything other than PIV sex and we were warned that "girls have to be careful because if you get drunk you might have unprotected sex" (...and guys?). And I remember last year I had to explain to a girl what it was to be wet, and I'm fairly certain that there are a fair few people who still don't know the meaning of the word clitoris. They did tell us of the existence of masturbation, however. Although "stimulation of the genitalia with the hands" doesn't really explain all that much to be fair.



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