Bodies

Sex Ed Is The Best Ed

Sometimes I think about what this blog means to me. I call this ‘my sex and feminism blog’ when I talk about it with my friends. That sort of sums up what ends up on the blog but it isn’t why I started writing it.

Secretly this blog is all the things that I wish we discussed in a thorough sex education. Think of it as continuing education of a woefully lackluster high school Sex Ed.

And even more secret than that is my secret desire to be a Sex Ed teacher. Some amazing super hero sex ed teacher with a spandex suit under my teaching garb with a big S on the chest (for sex, duh).

One of my favorite things in this clip is that while John Oliver is putting on a show for his normal viewers, he’s actually giving a more comprehensive class than some of the teachers he spotlights, and he only uses 20 minutes.

Sexuality

Sex Positivity and Parenting

Last week I wrote about a friend who had an upsetting (to me at least) lack of sexual education as a kid and it got me thinking about what sex-positive parenting really looks like.

And then, like a prayer, in came Lea Grover, to address that exact question.

“Sweetie, we don’t play with our vulvas in the living room,” I said. Which sounded ridiculous and strange, but nonetheless true. Why is everything with little kids “we” statements? “It’s OK to touch your vulva, but people are private, and it’s a private thing. The only places where you should touch your vulva are in the bathroom or in your bedroom. If you want to play with your vulva, please go to the bedroom.”

And she smiled and did, without question, because compartmentalizing where you do certain activities makes sense to little kids.

In a way thinking about sex positivity as it regards to children defines what sex positivity is at it’s core. Normalizing your body, how it works and what it does. No shaming, no yucking someone’s yum, no telling someone the right way to feel about or touch their body.

And, equally importantly, making clear that it belongs to one person and one person only.

Telling children the truth about sex isn’t giving permission for them to have it — and this is the most important part — because when the right time comes, nobody has the right to deny them permission for sex but themselves.

And that’s the thing I try to keep in mind when I say things like, “We don’t touch our vulvas at the table.” Sex is something that ONLY happens when both people WANT it to happen. And that means that the only people in the entire world with any kind of say over whether or not my daughters have sex is them.

I don’t get to tell my daughters they have to have sex, but I also don’t get to tell them they can’t. They’re in charge. Your body, your decision.

I never want to be responsible for setting the precedent that another person gets to tell them what to do with their bodies, and especially with their sexuality. I don’t want to be the gateway for a manipulative, potentially abusive boyfriend.

So I teach boundaries. Appropriate places. Hygiene. I teach my children that nobody is allowed to touch their bodies without permission. When we get in tickle fights and they say, “Stop!” I stop.

And when we talk about pregnant friends, we talk about uteruses and sperm and eggs.

And most of the time, it’s not uncomfortable. Most of the time, I’m verifying information and the conversation lasts 15 seconds.

And that’s the thing about discussing sexuality with kids. They’re kids, so they only care as much as a kid would care about anything else. They’re as amazed that their vulva feels good as they are that they can create poop, or that you can jump higher than they can.

So it isn’t complicated and it isn’t scary. What makes The Talk scary is that it’s something you’ve been avoiding and creating discomfort around all these years and suddenly you’re going to pull the switch after all that bait.

I’ve had talks with lots of other moms about having “the talk.” I don’t think my kids and I will ever have that particular talk, because they already know. And we talk about it often — kids are obsessive creatures. We read Where Did I Come From? and What Makes A Baby, which together cover every aspect of the subject. We can talk about IVF and C-sections, because both of those are part of the story of their births, and we can talk about the fact that yes, mommy and daddy still have sex regardless. And when they’re older, we’ll start talking about contraception.

Plus, making it something that you talk about together early and often, makes it something you can talk about together forever and always.

…I like that when that time comes, I’m part of the “we.” Because if I can tell my girls, “we” have to be careful, they’ll know that no matter what happens, I’m still in their corner. I’ve still got their backs. Even if “we” make bad choices, I’ll still be there to help make things right again.

Bodies, Menstruation, Self-Care

Just ASK

One of my closest friends keeps saying things about her reproductive system that aren’t true. The other day we were complaining about periods and she said “It’s a dead egg.”

Nope.

While she tossed and turned like a 7-year-old refusing to listen to her mom I continued to explain to her that the fallopian tube which the egg travels down is only the size of three hairs, so the egg is tiny. And that it passes out of your body about 10 days before your period with your regular discharge and you don’t even notice it. Your period is the shedding of the uterine lining which the egg (if fertilized) could have implanted itself into and then became a zygote.

She pretended not to listen because it’s gross, but I know she did because it’s freaking interesting.

She thinks it’s not important to understand how her body works.

I suppose she thinks it’s embarrassing to have these conversations.

I think nothing could be more embarrassing than not knowing though.

“I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment, she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter ‘because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use’.”

“I had a couple who had been trying to conceive for over two years. I asked all the usual questions, how often do you have sex, any previous pregnancy, etc etc. Something seemed off to me during the consult, so I continued to ask questions. Finally I asked if he ejaculated while inserted into the vagina. Both parties looked confused. Turns out the couple was not having insertional sex at all. I had to awkwardly explain to them how insertional sex works. Diagrams were required.”

“Patient comes in, she’s upset. She’s pregnant, and she doesn’t understand why. She’s on the pill. Upon talking to her at great length, I find out that she only takes the pills on the days that she is sexually active – no other time.”

“Patient comes in with her bf. They are indignant, as if somehow I could’ve prevented [the pregnancy]. The problem? Well, the pills were bothering the girl’s stomach, so, being a gallant bf, he decided to start taking them instead.”

If any of these stories don’t make you chuckle then get thee to a sex ed professional now. And then go chastise your parents for voting for someone who supported abstinence only education in the district where you grew up.

Media

Sexplanations

This guy (he’s also this guy sometimes, and also the brother of the man who writes these amazing things) just started producing yet another educational youtube series for me to geek over. And this one is about my favorite topic!

Introducing Sexplanations.

Hosted by the delightful Dr. Doe

And edited as hilariously as all the other Green projects.

At the time I’m writing this she only has 14 episodes and she’s already covered Intersexuality, Protection, UTI’s and how to have the sex you want to be having.

Go hit subscribe.