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. No one is confident of what to tell children about sex because of the contradictions, the harassment, the manipulation, the deceit and the exploitation. There are many sources promoting fantasies but few providing factual information. Misleading information and exploitative images are everywhere. Schools have very few resources to draw on. Given the rejection of the research findings, all we have are personal opinions. It is difficult to find two people who agree. The facts and logic are typically in direct conflict with the emotional and political beliefs many adults have.
Anyone who tries to talk about sex in public, quickly picks up on the negativity that surrounds 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 these disadvantages, we are not presenting an honest view of sex. Sex is not always loving or erotic.
We can demonstrate an unbiased view by presenting:
- The biological and evolutionary precedents for sexual function;
- How and why men and women’s sexual behaviours differ; and
- How orgasm is achieved regardless of sex and orientation.
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. 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.
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.
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 to 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, when it comes to sex, we suggest no one ever embellishes, exaggerates or fabricates stories. Most men think the joys of sexual pleasure should be promoted. While most women want to inform youngsters of the dangers associated with sex.
Promiscuity, when carried to extremes, often does not provide emotional happiness. Most parents instinctively shelter their children (even boys) from sex. They hope a son will overcome the temptations of eroticism and settle down with a nice girl to raise a family. Men are motivated by the erotic turn-ons needed for arousal and by the orgasm that arises from stimulating consistent anatomy. Women lack similar explanations for their sexual motivation and yet it is implied that women enjoy the same pleasure as men. Sexual pleasure is often associated with extra-marital activities. Most people are confused if carnal lust is mentioned in the context of marital sex.
Men are always hassling women for sex. So men know that women are less enthusiastic about sex. But any realistic information is suppressed for fear of putting women off sex. Instead, women are told that they should enjoy sex. When women don’t respond as men think they should, women accept men’s conclusion that they are dysfunctional due to a lack of confidence.
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. Movies for general release (mostly produced by men) portray women’s sexuality as men think it should be. Some women accept unrealistic portrayals of female orgasm (through nipple stimulation, vaginal stimulation and cunnilingus) because they increase women’s attractiveness.
There is no research or any evidence from society to support the idea that women enjoy the same physical gratification from sex that men do. Prostitution has always involved men paying for the pleasure they enjoy from women’s bodies. Likewise lap-dancing bars, strip-tease shows, pole-dancing bars and pornography are all aimed at a male audience. Few women will participate unless they are paid to do so. The pleasure men enjoy from sex is much more than orgasm. Nevertheless, as soon as society learned of the possibility of female orgasm, this fact was used as a sole justification for heterosexual activity within relationships and casual sex.
… 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)