So, I was inspired to write this due to a post that Suze had made. It began with a lighthearted non-sequitur involving sex education before she adjusted her glasses and noticed that the word was “ovation” not “ovulation”. But it serves as an excellent springboard because she asks the question:
ovulation: Well honestly, I don’t know why the daily prompter would come up with this particular word…I mean, don’t they teach sex education in schools anymore? We have to blog about it now?
Unfortunately for her, the answer is “no”. Perhaps a more accurate answer is, “Well, kind of but we do a piss-poor job at it.” Just a note before I go on, I’m trying to keep this in the bounds of good taste, but it will get a little personal. Onward!
There is a point of frustration I have with the way that sex education is taught, or rather not taught in the United States. In my experience, teaching sex education is a big game of hot potato between parents and school.
Part of this frustration is uniquely linked to my status on the spectrum. Most literature is focused on children on the spectrum, and very little is written for adults. I read the book “Solutions for Adults with Asperger’s” but I lent it to my ex-girlfriend and then the breakup happened, so that was lost for good.
If sex education is poorly explained for the neurotypical population, it is virtually nonexistent for the neurodiverse. I think it’s assumed that neurodiverse people are uninterested in sex, if not completely asexual by nature.
This ATM Card Has Been Declined
I have some bad news for anyone who holds that assumption. There’s a saying in the community, “If you’ve met one person with Asperger’s, you’ve met one person with Asperger’s” so making blanket generalizations is a bad move. But I have seen plenty of neurodiverse people with interest in sex.
If you talk to my friends and ask them if I am asexual or sex-repulsed, they’re going to laugh in your face. As my father pointed out, I definitely have a wild side. It is because of this that I am especially frustrated at the complete failure to properly educate about sex.
What I remember from high school health class was that there was an emphasis on abstinence. I went to a Catholic high school for the first two years, so this should surprise no one. We had people come in to dissuade us from sex, usually framing it as guys being tempted by evil girls. We even got the “ATM” (abstinent until marriage) cards, which I’m sure fulfilled their function by magically leaping from their wallets and physically halting a sexual encounter. In cruder terms, it would serve as a divine cockblocking. Unfortunately, I had no opportunity to test this thesis because my card either got lost or thrown away. Double the irony if it was to make room for condoms.
All joking aside, I sincerely doubt the effectiveness of such an approach. Indeed, I question who exactly such an approach benefits. I speculate that it’s mainly for parents who are uncomfortable with the prospect that their adolescent children are expressing sexual desires coupled with a certain outmoded viewpoint on the subject stemming from our Puritanical past.
Most importantly, sex was treated as some sort of forbidden ritual, something bad that you had to avoid. An alternative model, which I had to form on my own, is that sex can be a healthy aspect of human behavior.
Still Haven’t Gotten It Right
College classes were equally inadequate. I did take a health class, but sex got squeezed into the last week. We were given the run of genitalia diagrams, taught about STDs with graphic pictures and learned a bit about contraceptives. That was it. We did not learn about how to assume sexual positions, the usage of foreplay to facilitate enjoyable sexual activity, usage of lubricants, and basically every real question that needs to be properly addressed in order to have healthy sexual activity.
More alarmingly, we did not learn about consent. Keep in mind, this was last semester, so it was a matter of a month ago. We knew what was going on in the media, we were keenly aware of both the cases of Brock Turner and Donald Trump. It may seem like common sense to us, but I don’t bank on common sense because what you and I may know someone else may not.
To me, it is no wonder that we have a significant portion of people who are absolutely uninformed in terms of sex. I am not surprised that there are so many myths, misconceptions, and falsehoods perpetuated in the cultural ether.
Someone’s Gotta Do It
So where did I learn what I learned? Well, a lot of scouring the internet for reputable sources. I also had fairly liberal parents who were very open about discussing the topic.
I must confess I have a lot of loyalty for the “Dummies” brand of reference books. “Sex for Dummies” in particular is quite good. It discusses pretty much everything that you need to know. It contains everything from a successful first time to spicing up your sex life, and keeping yourself safe and protected from disease.
If you’re into YouTube, there’s Laci Green. Just don’t read the comments. Laci is a feminist and YouTube is very hostile towards feminists. But she generally gives good advice, even though her presentation style isn’t my favorite.
Hopefully, someday we can have comprehensive, non-judgmental sex education that encourages healthy sexuality.