It’s pretty safe to say that sex ed probably hasn’t changed since the ’90s. If your school isn’t a total joke, you’ll probably learn about how effective condoms and birth control are. You’ll also learn about every STD and STI from herpes to HIV/AIDs. Oh, and you’ll learn how a lucky sperm and an egg make a baby. Wow, how…limited. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to know about this stuff, especially about safe sex; some schools still insist on emphasizing the importance of abstinence, even though that doesn’t actually work. But there’s more to sex than how babies are made or what happens to a penis that’s infected with chlamydia.
Studies have shown that teenagers aren’t having as much sex as they used to. Whether that’s due to better sex ed or some other kind of cultural shift (let’s blame cell phones, for the fun of it), it’s unclear. But young people still have a lot of questions about sex whether they’re having it or not, and a lot of their queries deserve to be part of a sex ed curriculum, not just lost in Google searches with contradictory, dubious search results. Do you agree? Then you probably also agree with this list of eight things that should actually be taught in sex ed. It’s time for sex ed to join us in the 21st century.
The Ins And Outs Of Anal SexConservative folks aren't too happy about this, but facts are facts: Butt stuff is in, and it's about time that people actually knew how to approach anal sex in a healthy manner. That way, people aren't learning about anal sex from Pornhub or their clueless boyfriend...who also knows everything they know about anal sex from Pornhub. From emphasizing the importance of lubrication to prevent tearing to encouraging safe practices to avoid infection, young people deserve to know how to have anal sex as safely as possible. Beyonce/Vevo
How Abortion Actually WorksWhether you identify as pro-choice or pro-life doesn't matter: Abortion is a medical procedure that even many of its advocates don't really know much about. Whether you like it or not, abortion is a legal procedure in many countries and should be available as a safe, early method to terminate a pregnancy. Teenagers should know how it works, period. If people actually knew how abortions worked--as well as the different time lines and restrictions surrounding them--then maybe it would be seen as less mysterious and barbarous among its naysayers. My Mad Fat Diary
The Importance Of The ClitorisIDK about you guys, but in sex ed I literally only learned about the clitoris as another random part of the female reproductive system, a mere anatomical feature. I didn't know that it is the powerhouse of sexual pleasure for anyone with a vagina. I didn't learn that it was a major key to enjoyable sex or masturbation. I barely learned about it at all. You're probably in the same boat, and that's messed up. Pleasure is a part of sexual health and safety too, and people should learn about how the clit is an important factor in all of that. Instead, school just teaches sex from a dull p in v perspective and teaches absolutely nothing about how people actually enjoy sex. It's totally possible to discuss that without getting porny, so there's no excuse! When Harry Met Sally
A More LGBTQ Friendly Approach To Sex EdIt's difficult--as seen in this post--to find sex ed that isn't approached from a super cis-gender, heteronormative perspective. But the reality is that straight cis people aren't the only people having sex, exploring their sexuality, or getting STDs. Sex ed needs to enter the 21st century and acknowledge that people of different sexual preferences and gender identities may have questions about sex and sexuality that aren't generally touched on in a traditional sex ed class. Their queries deserve to be heard. Skins
ConsentThere's so much controversy about learning about consent in college, but if you ask me, the most controversial thing about college consent workshops is that they're happening for the first time in college in the first place. We need to start teaching people about consent at an earlier age, point blank. In fact, consent should be incorporated into high school sex ed courses. Consent is more than just saying "yes" or "no," and rape culture is more than just forceful non-consensual sex. Teenagers deserve to know about this as early as possible, not when its too late. Fresh Meat
How To Use Female CondomsI feel like female condoms--otherwise known as diaphragms--were always treated as a weird, random side note, which is unfair because female condoms are just as effective as their "male" counterpart. They're a bit more invasive, but people with vaginas should still be taught about them and how they work. Getty Images
That Masturbation--Especially Female Masturbation--Is Totally Normal And HealthyLook, I don't think anyone wants to hear their teacher drone on about the benefits of masturbation, but it wouldn't hurt to at least have normalization of masturbation integrated into a sex ed curriculum. This is especially important for girls who generally aren't thought to masturbate as much as men and are, therefor, seen as outliers when it comes to masturbation in general. Just about everyone--regardless of sex, gender identity, whatever--masturbates; it's appropriate to make sure that shame isn't associated with this harmless sex act. The To-Do List
HPVPeople only really started to talk about HPV when my high school years were ending, but now there is a lot more awareness of this cancer causing virus. But...I can't be the only one who has had HPV vaccines, has watched countless PSA commercials about it, and still doesn't really know exactly what it is. Schools should definitely incorporate information about HPV into their sex ed curriculum so that students actually know what the hell it is, instead of relying on 30 second commercials or confusing articles. Getty Images
What else would you want to learn about in sex ed? Tell us in the comments!