Sexual education in the United States isn't exactly what it should be. Far too many high schools follow an abstinence only method, which is essentially a scare tactic. Other schools do teach students about how to have safe sex, but don't cover topics like consent or sexual orientation. If your sex ed class wasn't as informative as you would have liked, here are a few things you may have missed.
1. Sex is not evil.
Far too many people are taught that sex is evil and something to be feared, even going as far as to say that you will go to Hell if you have sex before marriage. This doesn't apply to everyone who has decided to remain abstinent until marriage, but some people are taught that sex before marriage is so evil that those people feel guilt for having sex even after they are married. While the choice to have sex isn't the right choice for everyone, no one should have to remain abstinent out of fear.
2. There are many different types of birth control.
Yes, the best form of birth control is abstinence, but that doesn't mean that it is the only option. Condoms are definitely the safest form of birth control because not only do they protect against pregnancy, they also protect against STIs and HIV. Other forms of birth control include the female condom, the IUD, the patch, and dozens of different types of birth control pills.
3. Penetrative sex is not the only kind of sex.
There are a lot of ways to be intimate with your partner or partners that are different than penetration. Sex means different things to different people, and it's important to be comfortable with the type of sex you're having.
4. Gender and sexual diversity needs to be respected.
It is important to understand the difference between gender identity, gender expression, sex, and sexual orientation. It's also important to understand that one of these things doesn't dictate the others.
5. Gender stereotypes are bullsh*t.
To generalize an entire gender is incredibly disrespectful. If a male isn't constantly thinking of sex, or if a female has a high sex drive, they may feel ashamed and confused due to being stigmatized. There is nothing wrong with not fitting into gender stereotypes, there is something wrong with how sex has always been talked about.
6. Consent and respect are a necessity.
When someone says no to sex, they mean no. When someone said yes to one aspect of sex and no to another, they mean no. Body language is also very telling when it comes to consent. When someone is pulling away from you, or no longer feels comfortable being near you, that means no. Respect boundaries. To put it simply, only enthusiasm and the word "yes," means yes.
7. Masturbation is normal.
If you feel the need to masturbate, don't be ashamed. If you never feel the need to masturbate, don't be ashamed. It's all normal. While we're on the subject of masturbation, it's normal to look at porn but it shouldn't be used as a realistic guide to sex.
8. Talk to your doctor about sex.
They won't be embarrassed and you shouldn't be either. It's important to understand how your body works, and if you're having a problem, or if you even just have a question, it's always better to talk about it.