We continue Adult Sex Ed Month on Fuck.com with resident writer Rebecca Dane sharing her experience of sex education. Discover how it failed to include all sexual orientations and gender identities, and how she turned to porn and TV-shows to understand her sexuality.

 

Straight or Straight

I didn’t know that bisexuality was a thing until I realised I was bisexual.  After some intense Internet searching, I realised that I had internalised bi-erasure for over 25 years. I discovered that the term ‘bisexual’ resonated with me as a description of my sexuality. 

Once I realised that it was okay to be attracted to both men and women, I realised I had no clue how to meet women… never mind sleep with one!

Despite having attended an all-girls school for my elementary and high school, I don’t recall ever learning about gay sex. I didn’t understand how two men or two women could have sex. 

Our school’s sex education was so focused on penis-in-vagina sex that I had to learn on my own what people did when there weren’t a set of penises and vaginas involved. Porn was the solution to figure out the anatomy stuff – but as you can imagine, the lesbianism and bisexuality shown in the porn I viewed were strictly from a male perspective. I learnt more about female sexuality from ‘The L Word’ television show than probably anywhere else – and that doesn’t say much.

We had about 60 people in our graduating class, so I have to admit that I didn’t attend the most diverse school. Not a single person came out as anything other than heterosexual until years after graduation. The lack of any sexuality education kept people in the closet, myself included. 

 

Cis or Cis

Unfortunately, this also includes a schoolmate who has since come out as being trans. If you think my sex education failed us by ignoring the spectrum of sexual identities, it failed even harder at educating us about gender identities. We learnt nothing about non-binary genders or transgender identities; the first time I heard about transgender identities was when Chaz Bono came out. We didn’t discuss pronouns, and we didn’t talk about spectrums or changing identities. 

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Not all terrible

My school’s sex education was not all terrible. It drove home the concept of safe sex with condoms and birth control pills. There was an emphasis on the science behind our menstrual cycles and how to deal with our periods. We watched a video of a woman giving birth (although I think that was intended to scare us more than inform us).

We learnt about different birth control methods - we only heard about the negative side effects and failure rates of birth control methods, but at least we were informed about them. Just by discussing safe sex, we beat out most sex education programs, which is just a depressing reality.  

 

What to change

Let’s talk about gay and lesbian sex! Schools don’t need to go into explicit details about sex, but we should be aware of the options for safe sex. We should also talk about how PIV isn’t the be-all-end-all of sex.  

Let’s explain the spectrum of sexual identities, and how they can change over time. Let’s talk about pronouns and respecting people’s pronouns. 

Let’s talk about transgender identities, and how that means different things to different people. Let’s talk about how you don’t need to have surgery to be transgender. 

 

In summary

If I had learned about bisexuality in high school, it is possible I would have realised my sexual identity earlier on. I would have been better prepared to be true to myself and to look for resources when I started questioning my sexual orientation.  

I know that sex education about PIV sex was essential for me to protect myself against STIs and pregnancy. I wish it had extended to include information about sexual orientation and gender identities. By making sex education more inclusive, we could help so many struggling teenagers. We can’t ask for help about something we don’t even know exists.  

Years later, and I am still learning about gender and sexuality. At least now I have a community of people and an incredible partner to guide me and support me. 

Our school system can do better, and it should do better!


Did your school teach you about gender and sexuality? What do you think they could have done better? 


Rebecca Dane is one half of A Couple of Kinks - a sex-positive, Canadian-based site that focuses on sex toy reviews, ‘how to’ guides and stories of their sexcapades. They are hoping to help impact the sex toy industry by focusing on safe, ethical and LGBT+ inclusive companies, while also providing sex education and stories to help normalize sex and kink. Find and follow her on Fuck.com.


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