Honestly, the topic of sex education courses — well, the lack of sex education courses — really gets me fired up. My feminist ways take over and I just want to shout from the rooftops how vaginas are normal and sex is OK!
My sex education classes were a joke growing up. What I learned about sex, I learned mainly from my parents (when I had questions as a little girl because my school wouldn't talk about it) and peers. We got taught two main things in sex ed.
One: Sex is bad, you will get pregnant, be a degenerate, and is not for pleasure. Abstinence is the only way.
Two: Women can have sex for one reason — to reproduce.
This is an asinine way of thinking. It is outdated, misogynistic, and disturbing. Women are allowed to have sex, to have good sex, and have it whenever they please. I'm not advocating for unsafe sex, etc., but I am advocating for safe, consensual sex. It is none of my business if the sex you elect to have is casual, anonymous, or with a committed partner, etc.
I only want one thing! For women to be educated properly and safely.
We should be teaching about abstinence, sure, but we should also be educating young women AND men about safe sex, condoms, menstruation, pap smears, circumcisions, and everything in between when it comes to sexual health.
This is important for everyone. How else will you recognize if something is wrong? If something hurts? If something wasn't consensual? For example, think about endometriosis. Understanding what female pleasure is and how the vagina works can help alert the woman when something isn't right or requires attention. If a woman has endometriosis but has no idea that the symptoms she is experiencing aren't normal, then how can she get help?
Sexual health needs to be talked about. I think that it is important to talk about reproductive health at home too. Parents should talk with their children, and no, not the sex talk exactly, but just how to take care of yourself — all parts of yourself. It doesn't matter how awkward it is...it is a part of life. It needs to be destigmatized, and, yes, that includes pleasure, for men and women, because it needs to be discussed often, publically, privately, and anything in between.
I think if we talked about sex, and what it all encompasses, there would be less of a stigma behind it. It is important to understand how and why body parts work. You should know as much about your vagina as you do your left arm. Just because it is a "private" doesn't mean it should be private to you, too!
Sex education IS general physical health education because vaginas are a general part of your body that needs the same kind of care and attention your arms, legs, and nose do!