Last week I posted a link to a piece that I wrote for Everyday Feminism. The piece attempts to offer young men and boys some information and advice to make their first sexual experiences more healthy, fulfilling, and safe for them and their partner(s).
The next day, Melissa Fabello offered some fantastic information for girls and women! Check it out…
Most sexuality education is terrible.
Like, beyond terrible.
And if you’ve received a formal sex education at all, it likely went a little like this:
“Sex is defined as intercourse, which involves a penis going inside of a vagina. But you probably don’t want to do that because then you’ll get pregnant and ruin your entire life and – oh hey! – here are some terrifying pictures of STI’s.”
Uhh, and we think that it’s time we change that.
Sex ed has to change.
Because if we don’t do a better job of teaching healthy sexuality, we leave it up to pornography, television, music, and movies to do our job – and none of those areaccurate, comprehensive sources of sexuality education.
It’s time we teach about how to have amazing, fulfilling, consensual, and healthy sex.
It’s time to give them an accurate depiction of what sex should look and feel like.
And hell, if schools don’t want to do it, then fine. Everyday Feminism will. More specifically, the brilliant Jamie Utt and I will. Because it needs to get done.
And since I identify as a woman, I’ll finish what Jamie started yesterday by talking to the girls and women out there.
That said, let me be absolutely clear that I am a cisgender woman, and as such, many of these lessons come from a cisgender perspective and should be treated as limited in that way.
So what are some steps to take before diving into sex for the first time? What are some important facts to know? And why are they important?
Let’s take a look.
1. Get to Know Your Body
I know it sounds obvious, but hear me out.
The number of women who have approached me, as a sex educator, asking how to make sex more pleasurable without the slightest clue as to what their vulva lookslike – let alone feels like – is staggering.
Their explanation of this is usually along the lines of “it’s my partner’s job to take care of me sexually, not mine.”
My counter to that is: If I was leaving my pet cat in the hands of my partner, you’d better believe he would come with a to-do list, an explanation of his idiosyncrasies, and a score of emergency contact numbers.
Your body should be no different.
Unfortunately, we’re taught in our society that our vulvas and vaginas are gross, are dirty, are forbidden. We’re taught from birth not to touch, smell, or taste them. We’re discouraged from even looking at them.
So being told all of a sudden to masturbate can be kind of scary.
I get it.
But seriously. Masturbate.
And if you’re not sure where to start, try here.
And that’s not to say that all sexual pleasure is achieved through only your genitals.
Because despite what mainstream media would have you believe (more on that next!), that isn’t true.
Maybe a foot massage or having your back kissed will work better for you. And that’s perfectly okay!
The point is: You’ll never learn if you don’t allow yourself to explore your body and the sensations that make you go ahh.
But you need to learn what makes you tick before you ever step foot into a bedroom with a partner.
And I promise that you’ll be far better equipped to talk to your partner about sexual pleasure.
2. Question Your Media Consumption
Growing up, I had a really good understanding of my body. I started masturbating at an early age, and by the time I hit puberty, I knew that this totally-awesome-wowfeeling was associated with sex. I felt wise beyond my years. And excited for what was to come.