In high school, I watched a demo of how to put a condom on a banana. We didn’t have a sex ed class. This was just something our biology teacher thought we should know. So he brought in someone from Planned Parenthood one day, and did an overview of STD’s the next day, and boom! We were educated and ready to DO IT!
This year in March I learned a similar skill from a sex worker in “Sex Ed 201.” Except instead of a banana, it was a partner with a strap-on dildo. And instead of her hands, she used her mouth. I went straight home and practiced until I couldn’t stand the taste of latex anymore. It’s … ah … harder than it looks.
The two hours of sex education I had in high school was more than most teens get today. According to this John Oliver segment on sex education, in 2015 only 22 states required sex education. Of those, only 15 required that it be medically accurate. The majority of sex education classes in high schools are “Abstinence Only” classes.
Clearly basic anatomy, disease prevention and contraception are a good place to start. Throw in consent, gender identity, how to maintain boundaries, an “all sexual identities and preferences are okay” message, and a chance for kids to ask the questions they have and get real-world based answers. Then you’ve got a solid starter curriculum.
But as we continue to grow beyond high school, we also continue to learn. In a sex positive world, sex education is fun and informative and goes waaaay beyond How to Not Get Syphilis or Pregnant.
If selected wisely, a partner can be a great source of knowledge. I learned basic oral sex technique from a co-counselor at a Y camp, and Kink 101 from my manager at Hot Dogs N’ More (he was the “more”). I learned healing erotic touch from a guy who lived in his van and looked like Jesus. A woman in Hays, Kansas taught me to seduce people by playing the opening riff to Suite Madame Blue. And I continue to explore new sexual horizons with my partner, who is sex-positive, open-minded, and very skilled. #LuckyMe!
The Foundation calendar for next month shows me I could learn about self-pleasuring, pick up some tips about ropes and whips, massage the finer points of consent, avoid some of the common poly pitfalls, or learn to suspend myself — and the workshops keep coming.
I recently took a workshop called Erotic Spanking. I thought I knew everything about erotic spanking. But I learned some things, not the least of which is that there are people much braver than I willing to bottom for a workshop on Erotic Spanking.
At the Center I’ve learned by watching, talking to people, and attending parties that have demos as part of the party. Just last week I learned how to be deeply hypnotized while watching a demo in hypnosis.
Beyond the Foundation and the Center, I’ve found lots of other tutors. There are sex positive groups in support of specific identities, kinks, lifestyles, and skills. I could ask someone at Babeland how to use that weird bendy looking thing. I could go to a munch or hey — I could attend the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this weekend and learn about body-painting, creating cartoon characters, or striptease.
The world we live in is becoming more sex positive all the time. Online, there are websites a-plenty, forums and discussion groups about every possible imaginable kink. There is a lot of bad information, but there is more good information. FetLife is a great place to start.
Googling your particular interest can also yield great results. “Asexual intimacy tips” yields 338,000 results “Advanced female masturbation tips,” 292,000. “D/s submission tips,” 1.5 million. Whatever your deal, there are websites, videos and how-to’s. This Google thing is a powerful force. Use it wisely.
In an increasingly sex positive world, the options beyond “How Not to Get a Disease,” flourish. So all thanks to today’s adult sex positive culture, which offers more possibilities than ever.
Now, how can we some of that basic information to teens?
–Virginia Lore is teaching a workshop this weekend at SEAF: “Love Letters from the Heart and Further South” at 3:00 on Saturday in the Literary Lounge. Her blog is Sex and Justice.
This is the 10th piece in the 12-part series. You can find an index to the rest of the series here.