Most adults would probably agree on the need to educate children about sex. But it is much more difficult to obtain consensus on what children should be told. Given the rejection of the research findings, all we have are personal opinions. It is difficult to find two people who agree. And, of course, there’s no money in it one way or the other. The fact that sex information is so wrong today reflects the fear that dominates the topic: fear of ridicule, fear of failure, fear of knowledge and fear of the truth.
We tell children they should be honest. Yet in the adult world men and women lie, swindle and cheat. Men kill, rob and rape. Women are less openly aggressive but they’re hardly saints. Nevertheless we suggest when it comes to sex, no one ever embellishes, exaggerates or fabricates stories. No one discusses sex or knows what to tell children about sex because of the emotions, the deceit, the contradictions and the exploitation.
Anyone who talks about sex, quickly becomes aware of the negativity of the topic. The fact that there is a sex positive movement implies there are negative aspects to sex. What are these? Why do they arise? And what can be done to address rather than ignore them? Our sexual experiences cover a broad spectrum of situations that cannot possibly be 100% positive for everyone all the time. Inevitably there are disappointments and regrets. If we never discuss the negative aspects then we are not presenting an honest picture of sex. Sex is not always loving or erotic.
Most men think the joys of sexual pleasure should be promoted. While most women prefer to advise young people of the disadvantages of sex. Promiscuity, when carried to extremes, tends to work against our physical well-being and emotional happiness. Even for sons, mothers shelter children from the idea of sexual pleasure. They hope a son will overcome the temptations of sexual pleasure and settle down with a nice girl to raise a family. Sexual pleasure is associated with activities outside marriage. Most people are confused if lust is mentioned in the context of marital sex.
Men have sexual confidence because they are easily aroused. They orgasm easily through sexual activities with a lover. Men know that women are less enthusiastic about sex because they are always hassling women for sex. Men cannot acknowledge that women experience sex differently in case they lose out on sexual opportunities. Any realistic facts or logic are suppressed for fear of putting women off sex. Instead, male propaganda tells women that they should enjoy sex. When women don’t respond as men think they should, women’s much lower sexual confidence means they accept the male view that they must be dysfunctional. This is a natural consequence of heterosexual society where men’s views dominate.
Movies for general release (directed by men) portray women as men want them to be. These unrealistic portrayals of female orgasm (through nipple stimulation, vaginal stimulation and cunnilingus) are persuasive because they make women appear more attractive to men. There are massive holes in the logic surrounding our beliefs about women’s sexuality. We are so accustomed to fiction being promoted as fact that we simply accept it.
Girls deserve a rational account of men’s emotional needs including an understanding of men’s sex drive to ejaculate through intercourse. Men’s behaviours cannot be explained in terms of the romance that women enjoy. It’s equally impossible to explain the concept of consent without being honest about the very different rewards men and women obtain from sex.
Boys deserve a rational account of women’s emotional needs including an understanding of why most girls hope for an emotional connection before they are willing to have sex. Women’s behaviours cannot be explained in terms of the eroticism that men enjoy. Teenage boys need to understand that penetrative sex involves responsibilities and a need to respect a lover.
Pornography provides boys with completely unrealistic images of women’s sexuality. This issue needs to be addressed by sex educators if boys are to have healthy relationships and find emotional happiness. Sex education needs to differentiate between fantasy and fact so that women have an account of female sexuality that doesn’t make them feel exploited. A woman feels almost nothing from intercourse. Even cunnilingus provides little pleasure because women are not aroused with a lover. Nevertheless, of course, women can enjoy sex. Women can enjoy sensual and emotional pleasures with a loving partner. This needs to be made clear.
We cannot legislate education in the sense of insisting that everyone agrees on facts and logic. Education depends on the individual’s ability to accept the conclusions of others. Regardless of our own personal experiences, it is useful for anyone to be educated in sexual matters. It helps protect us from being intimidated or confidence-tricked by others in sexual scenarios.
… the pre-adolescent boy’s capacities for specifically sexual responses develop rapidly as he nears adolescence. This is not matched by any similar rise in the sexual capacities of the female at the time of adolescence. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)