Every now and then I’m reminded–usually in some disturbing way–by how little people actually know about sex. Whether or not to blame the porn industry or crappy sex education in schools, I don’t know. But y’all… I’m shook. Whether it’s people thinking that the glory of their penis eclipses the importance of clitoral stimulation or people panicked about whether or not oral sex can lead to pregnancy, it’s clear that there are some sexually ignorant people out there.
Hey, I’m guilty of ignorance myself, nobody is perfect. I once was paranoid that I was pregnant even though semen didn’t enter my vaginal canal. That irrational fear happens, especially if you’ve watched enough episodes of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. Sex is a weird, funny, sometimes Kafkaesque thing that we all learn more and more about the older we get. But there are some straight up facts that we need to know sooner rather than later. Check out these nine things that you should know about sex before you graduate high school.
Know What Consent IsHere's the quick and dirty: Are you two both in a sober state of mind in which you both agree to have sex? Cool, it's consensual. But if anyone says to stop at any point, and the sex keeps going, it's not. If one person is drunk or high AF, it's not consensual. If someone isn't giving any verbal or physical signs of wanting to have sex, and sex still proceeds, it's not consensual. Got it? Good. The To-Do List
You Can Only Become Pregnant If Semen Enters Your VaginaThis might seem obvious to you, but you'd be surprised by how many people write in to our site paranoid that they can get pregnant from oral sex, or that their boyfriend's semen landing on their leg will somehow enter the vaginal canal. It doesn't work that way.
Condoms Don't Always Prevent STDsSure, they prevent plenty! But frankly, if you're having sex with someone who has genital herpes, it's not like you won't be at risk for contracting genital herpes just because you're wearing a condom. Condoms are great, but they're not magical barriers.
Virginity Is BSIf virginity is simply defined by whether or not someone had penis in vagina sex, then it's BS. Why? Because not everyone's first sexual, genital to genital, experience is with someone of differing sex organs. Are two cis-gender lesbians virgins forever because there's no penis involved? Of course not. You're better off using your own definition of virginity to explain your sexual experiences than relying on society's.
Sex Feeling Good Is Never More Important Than Avoiding PregnancyIf your partner whines about using a condom, kick 'em to the curb until they have more respect for your lack of interest in an oops!pregnancy. It doesn't matter if your partner claims that their pull out game is top notch, it's not worth the risk.
Your Private Parts Are Sensitive HabitatsOkay, that sounds kind of funny, but it's true, and it's especially important to remember if you have a vagina. You need to make sure that your bacteria isn't all wonky down there. That means peeing after having sex, which will help prevent a UTI. This also means being careful when it comes to butt stuff. Yes, your boo might eat the booty like groceries, but they better not go from the booty to the vagina or else you're asking for an infection.
Pumping In And Out Of A Vagina Usually Doesn't Cut ItWhether it's from a penis or some other sort of phallic instrument, people with vaginas rarely orgasm from penetration alone. The clitoris is where most of the pleasure comes in. Please, make sure it is used and cared for.
Your Hymen Isn't As Big Of A Deal As You ThinkThe hymen is a stretchy membrane that might be stretched way before anyone ever has penetrative sex. If it isn't stretched prior to penetrative sex, that doesn't mean that there will be a lot of blood as a result or anything like that either. The hymen is, frankly, overrated when it comes to its significance in the sack.
Deception = RapeJust recently I suffered through a Twitter thread between people arguing whether or not "sheathing"--taking off a condom in the middle of sex, unbeknownst to your partner--should be classified as sexual assault. Fun fact: It's rape. Period. If you agree to have sex with a condom, and your partner decides to not wear a condom, then that's not sex that you consented to.
What other things should the average person know about sex before they graduate high school? Tell us in the comments!