Sex education, as it is traditionally known, is the awkward and uncomfortably funny experience of a teacher showing you diagrams of a flaccid penis and a vulva, and explaining how one enters the other thus leading to an assortment of hideous life changing, or life ending, illnesses. Oh… And babies.
The most detailed description, and accurate, I got was from my year six teacher who explained that sex isn’t like in the movies, it isn’t all heaving bed sheets and moans of ecstasy the moment he climbs aboard. The woman terrified me, but she spoke the truth.
The problem is sex isn’t humanised. We are taught how it happens, and the assorted negative repercussions when it does, but we are not taught what it’s like and how to do it well.
One day Miss Rose will enter into a sexual relationship, and for the sake of this I shall assume it is with a man but obviously I am aware this might not be the case. The man whom she has sex with may well have learned his sexual technique, his sexual expectations, and his sexual preferences, from porn. Porn humanises sex, makes it real. It shows you beyond biology and into the fun, and when your adolescent body is craving something it has no experience of as desperately as it craves sex, porn is the most accessible way of getting that experience.
The problem is when boys, and girls, learn the humanity of sex from porn they are not actually getting humanity. They are getting a performance, a mirage. They are taught that things are “normal” when, for a young woman first stepping into the scary world of sex, they ate actually extreme. They are terrifying, painful and hard to handle, and yet they try to handle it because that is what is expected of them.
I speak from experience. My young adulthood was spent having bad, confusing, emotionally damaging and physically painful sex far too often. Sex I thought was “correct” because it was what the boys I was doing it with seemed so sure of, and sex I really did not enjoy. I do not want that for Miss Rose. As much as the knowledge she will one day have sex freaks me out when I look at the perfect innocence of two year old Rose, I know one day the child will become a woman, and she will have relationships, and sex is an integral part of relationships.
So how do we fight it? We educate. We do not leave the humanity of sex, the fun of sex, to the porn actors. Porn actors who perform extreme, often degrading, acts as if they’re the most normal and to be expected things in the world. As if they’re enjoyable to all.
Teach our high school kids the reality of sex.
Teach them that banging a penis in and out of a woman’s vagina, effectively using a woman instead of a hand to masturbate, does not feel good for the woman. Teach men to value the experience of their partner enough to care about that, teach women that they don’t have to tolerate being treated as a human sex toy because their sexual experience is equally valid and important.
Teach them that the human body is covered in sexually stimulating parts. That going straight for the genitals misses out on a myriad of delights that can build to a more satisfying orgasm for the man, and a genuine orgasm for the woman. That a fake orgasm is NOT better than no orgasm at all.
Teach them to not expect their partner to do things they are not comfortable with just because they’ve seen it on their computer. That having sex is not making porn. Whilst porn might be a representation of sex, it is not reality and to expect it will leave both parties unsatisfied and emotionally damaged.
Sex is not just biology. Sex is a human experience that yes has negative consequences if not respected, but can provide an exciting, beautiful, satisfying and respectful activity when done well. Don’t leave that education to porn, because it is doing our youth a massive disservice.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!