Sex education is severely lacking in this country. We know this. But it’s not just sexual knowledge that we miss out on when we have poor sex ed. We also miss out on knowledge about our bodies and how our sexual organs work and function. For men, most of their junk is right out there for them to see. They also often see their friends’ junk in the locker room, and so it’s easier for them to learn about what’s going on down there. Beyond that, men are supposed to be sexual, right? It’s just a natural and accepted thing that men are sexual, so they’re going to talk about sex and masturbation and dick size.
But what about women? Not only is our junk tucked up inside our bodies, but we’re supposed to be chaste and pure. We’re not supposed to talk about sex or masturbation or any of those things. And so, we don’t. It’s embarrassing and shameful. The result of this poor sex ed is not just that men don’t know how to please us because we don’t know how to please ourselves, but it’s also a severe lack of information about our own bodies. And when we don’t know what we’re supposed to look like, feel like, and how we’re supposed to function, we can never be sure if we’re normal. We can never be sure what is supposed to feel good. We can never be sure how anything is supposed to work. And so, we don’t ask and we don’t tell and we don’t know.
My grandmother told me about a safe sex/sexual pleasure workshop in her retirement community that she attended recently. Everyone there was 55+, and it was women only so that they would feel comfortable coming and asking questions. Well, they were fascinated by the lube (“Oh, *this* will be helpful!”) and the vibrators and the condoms, sure. But what really blew my mind, but not nearly as much as it blew theirs, was what she told me about when the presenter put up a diagram of the female genitals. And spoke about the clitoris. And the g-spot. Most women in that room a) had no idea that their genitalia looked like that (they’d never looked at it), b) had no idea those parts existed, and c) had no idea that they existed for pleasure! They all spoke about how sex felt good, but a good number of the had never reached orgasm. They just thought that sex was something you did for your husband, and to feel bonded with him. They’d never even considered that sex could be something that they did for themselves, too!
Recently, a study came out stating that the g-spot may not exist. However, the problem with the study was the way in which it was conducted. They handed out surveys that asked questions like “[Do you have a] so called g-spot, a small area the size of a 20p coin on the front wall of your vagina that is sensitive to deep pressure?” Now, I’m very much of the belief that every woman’s body is different. Some of us may have larger g-spots and some of us may have smaller ones. Some of us may have more sensitive ones, while others of us are less sensitive. However, if you were never taught about your anatomy, and never told that this spot exists, why would you think it was there? You probably would never have had it stimulated because you are unaware of it’s presence and it’s not in a location that is easily stimulated accidentally. So of course you’d answer that no, you do not believe that you have a g-spot! The study’s results seem to back that up, too: The 56% of the women that answered that they did have a g-spot tended to be both younger and more sexually active. Younger people have definitely received more education than previous generations, and more sexually active people, generally, have had more experience that allows them to learn their bodies.
And then there is the email I received from a reader, Jess, who was brave enough to let me post her name with her email. This broke my heart, and reinforced the need to teach us about our bodies. I’ll let her speak for herself:
One thing that I… have never mentioned to anyone in my entire life, is the reason for my self esteem problems: a septate hymen. At the time, I had no idea what was ‘wrong’ with me, but I knew that it was not normal. I thought I was some kind of freak, maybe even not totally female. I had no idea. I mentally gave up on the idea of ever having children someday because I thought ‘there has to be something totally wrong with my body’. And so, I didn’t care about who I shared myself with… because my body was not one worthy of protecting or loving. The fact that I was uneducated about orgasms and the female body didn’t help – when I never reached orgasm through intercourse, I again, thought something was wrong with me. So, I continued to take on more and more partners, thinking maybe this guy might be the one who proves I’m a normal girl… the guy who gets me off. But, it didn’t happen… and because it was a flexible septate hymen, it never broke.
One day, in desperation, I took out a pair of scissors and I cut it myself.
It wasn’t until I met my husband, then boyfriend, that I finally achieved an orgasm with another person. And it wasn’t until I got pregnant with my daughter 5 years ago, that I realized there is nothing wrong with my body and there never has been.
Basic education about her body, genitalia, and the ways in which orgasms work would have spared her years of self-loathing, shame, and fear that something was wrong with her. A simple surgery would have fixed her hymen. The majority of women can’t orgasm through intercourse. But she didn’t know these things, and so she felt like a freak, and she felt abnormal, when in reality, she was anything but. She’s obviously a strong, brave, awesome chick, who let me share her story here. So please, leave her some love.
Silence creates shame. Silence creates ignorance. Ignorance breeds more shame, and more silence. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that needs to be broken.
*A really great post on the sad state of sex education in this society was posted yesterday at Toy With Me. I highly encourage you to go read it.