BLEACHY KEEN

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I've had it with hetero-normative sex education x

Evenin'- After a brief hiatus filled with a lot of crying {thank you, hormones (more on this another time)}; too much wine {if there is such a thing}; and very stubborn writer's block, I'm back.

Welcome to a series I think I'm going to dub "Important things I wish I'd been taught/had the guts to ask about when I was younger, but never did and so turned 18 and realised I still had so many questions and naturally turned to the internet to fill the gaps (sex ed edition)"{catchy, I know x}.

SIDENOTE:

I'm determined to make the gaps between each of these posts shorter, but have spent a lot of time thinking about what exactly it is I want to write about here. The fact that I'm back suggests that I've worked this out, but it's still very much a work in progress. For now, I've told myself that I'm going to write about whatever I think is both interesting and useful to me and all three and a half of you that read this stuff. I want to write on more than just trivial, funny things - If I've got a platform {and a handful of people willing to listen} then I want to make sure I'm putting it to the best use possible.


BACKSTORY {that you never asked for and will undoubtedly take up most of the post}:


Like most people, I've done an awful lot of 'questioning' throughout my life so far {a lot of which has been related to my sexuality and how I choose to embrace and define it}. However, since I took it upon myself to learn more about my sexuality and concepts of sex and sexuality in general, it's become abundantly clear that sex education is still very much a taboo subject for a lot people. Whether it be periods {every period having person has been given the pointless "tampon in a glass of water" demonstration}, how to practice safe sex, or conversations about sexual experiences, an awful lot of people turn up their noses at the idea of having a respectful, safe, mature conversation about these topics and so much more.


If you're one of those people, or you're not comfortable talking about this stuff just yet, then by all means turn back - information will be here for you when you're ready and there's no shame in taking your time!


ANYWAY...

When I say, "sex education", I definitely don't just mean what we're taught in schools (although that has a huge part to play in the lack of safe information available to young people on subjects like this). I mean everything from the conversations we have with our family, the information found in the media we consume, to the general 'stuff' that's fed to us throughout our childhoods and puberty. Overall, the vast majority of the sex education I was given as a child and well into my teens was entirely hetero-normative. On top of this, the sex education lessons given to me in primary school were secretive and contained the basic:

  • "when a man and a lady love each other very much....this bit goes here...this bit goes here. Then it's done!"

  • "when you're married and want to have a baby..."

  • *throw in a couple of anatomically incorrect drawings and phrases here*

During secondary school, a completely different (but equally questionable) technique was used. The brief sex education lessons in my third year laid their foundations in nothing but scaremongering. An impressively extensive list of all the terrifying dangers of sex {be it pregnancy or infection}; an even more extensive list of birth control methods {some of which are terrifyingly outdated and all of which have the potential to cause horrid side affects for the womb owner and the womb owner only}; and a few graphic photographic additions later and boom - that covered all I needed to know {apparently}.


Now, while all of this needed a massive rethink {and one day I'll write a post on the benefits of accurate sex education that doesn't just cover the basics, but goes into the social constructs surrounding sex and sexuality}, one of the biggest issues for me as a young person was that I was taught absolutely nothing about the LBGTQ+ community. So, not only did I have to reeducate myself on bizarre concepts such as 'losing your virginity' {more on why I hate this term another time} etc, but when I realised that I wasn't straight, to say I was confused about the logistics of things would be an understatement.


Anyway, like I've said, I will eventually {hopefully very soon if I can maintain any kind of schedule in this muddled time} write a post on what I think is important to include in young people's sex education in schools. However, before I do that, I want to read up on current issues surrounding sex ed in schools and also the information now available for young people to safely consume {that most definitely was not there when I was going through puberty}.

For now, however, I want to focus on things I wish I knew as an LGBTQ+ teenager in the hopes that this information can help you too. This may not be exclusive to LGBTQ+ people, of course! So, whether you're looking to better understand sex/sex education outside of the usual hetero-normative boundaries; you're looking to fill gaps in your understanding and don't know where to look; or you're just curious, buckle up:


*DISCLAIMER- I'm definitely not an expert in this (although, I will link you to some people who are!) and I'm aware that sex education for young people is improving/has improved tenfold since I was at school {I feel ancient, trust me x}, but I'm writing this in case there is anyone out there who doesn't know who to ask or where to look. Also, some of these "things I wish I was taught" extend well beyond what I would expect to be taught in schools. So, before you get angry at the section about using condoms with sex toys if you're sharing them, remember that I'm referring to sex education as something that goes beyond our years at school as we continuously develop and change. P.s Some of this may be NSFW*


So, first things first {and this is something that would've saved me a good few years of confusion}:

  • There's more to the spectrum of sexuality than gay/lesbian and straight. We've got the Bisexuals, the Pansexuals, the Asexuals, the Queers - the list goes on and EVERY single one of these labels/identities is valid.

  • There's subgroups nestled throughout these umbrella terms also - we've got gray-asexuals, demisexuals, people who identify as hetereoflexible or bicurious. Like I've said, the list goes on! Hell, sometimes labels aren't your thing and that's okay too - you don't have to use a label if you don't want to. They can be helpful in making people feel more secure in their sexual identity, but some people find them restricting. This is all fine and I wish someone had told me that {it would've made my teenage life so much easier and would've been far less confusing}

  • Furthermore, your sexuality is fluid! So the labels you choose can be also! I spent the majority of my secondary school years silently questioning whether I was gay every time I had a crush on a girl, then convincing myself I was straight every time I had a thing for a boy, then hit my 20s and realised that someone's gender identity plays no part in my attraction to them. As a result, my chosen labels have changed A LOT. This is perfectly okay!

Secondly *nsfw*:

  • There are countless ways to practice safe sex, but the only things highlighted during my secondary school sex education and a lot of the media I consumed as a teen (and also as a young adult) stayed deep inside the regions of hetero-normativity. So, I'm here to shed a light on other aspects of safe sex that are rarely touched on and I wish I'd known as a young Queer woman {feel free to skip this section if you're faint of heart}:

  1. Dental Dams - this link tells you all you need to know about these lil pieces of latex. Now, they're not glamorous, but if you're having sex with someone and you don't know their status then they're mighty useful. Studies show that very few people even know what a dental dam is, let alone when to use one. However, if you had to choose between this little piece of latex {or polyurethane} and contracting an STI, I'd be damned {sorry} to hear of any of you willing to risk your health.

  2. Alternatively, talk to your partner about their status and provide each other with proof that you have had a clean test and then you're good to go. Communication and consent are key! {not to mention unbelievably sexy}.

  3. Now, I mentioned this above so I'll keep it short, but safe sex extends to sex toys too! So, if you and your partner are sharing toys, make sure to use a condom either on the toy or on yourself (whichever applies, of course). Sex toys and the use of toys isn't exclusive to LGBTQ+ couples of course. However, Psychology Today and a few other sources state that women in same sex relationships are statistically more likely to use sex toys with their partner. So, for the sake of safety and inclusivity, I'm adding it in because I don't hear it talked about enough and the stigma around sex toy use during sexual intercourse needs to be recognised {and it's my blog so there x}.

Finally: *also NSFW? maybe? I've lost touch of what is and what isn't now*

I really wish that, as a young woman beginning to explore my sexuality, someone had made it clear to me that sex can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn't have to be penetrative, it doesn't have to be between a man and a woman, it doesn't even have to be between only two people. As long as the adults involved are consenting at all times and they have communicated their needs and wants, there's literally not a single issue. This is obviously useful information for anyone who is sexually active to remember, but I know I would have benefited so much more from all forms of sex education I received if they had only been more accommodating of LGBTQ+ needs and issues. Whether it's age appropriate LGBTQ+ education in schools; more LGBTQ+ representation in the media; or more information readily available on respected websites {which there most definitely is more of now} rather than seedy tumblr accounts {if you know, you know}. There is so much more out there beyond the realms of hetero-normative sex education that needs to be addressed if we want to give our LGBTQ+ youths equal support to their peers.


This post only scratches the surface of that.


Overall, while I may have made a muddle of this post, I know there are far better pages and more educated people out there that can guide you through every aspect of queer sex education. So, I'll link a few of my favourites below in the hopes that you can learn more in a safe environment if you feel the need to: *potentially NSFW*


Okay, I'll go now. Missing you already x





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