An online posts reveals what we really wished we learnt in sex-ed
If you cast your mind back to the most embarrassing subject completed at school, sex education for many people would come out on top. But a post on Reddit titled ‘What do you wish your sex ed classes had actually taught you?’ proves how essential school education is for providing proper information on sexuality and relationships.
From pleasure to STIs, the nearly 3000 responses showed just show schools have been lacking over the past few decades when it comes to the absolute basics of procreation.
And it’s crucial that schools get this right. Earlier this year a study by Deakin University and The University of South Australian found that secondary students rely on information from sexuality and school-based education programs over their parents and friends. Of the 2325 students between 13-16 years of age that were surveyed in Victoria and South Australia, 76 per cent of girls and 74 per cent of their male counterparts cited education programs as their number one source followed by their friends.
The survey also revealed that students wanted to learned more about gender diversity (52 per cent) and violence in relationships (54 per cent) as well as more about loving and starting a relationship, all of which is reflected within the Reddit comments on a global level.
But first: the basics. As user Honorary Cassowary pointed out, many young people were not taught about the broader elements of sexual health, including differences in genitalia function and appearance.
A number of posts placed emphasis on implications of religion and personal opinion in education, with one commenter candidly discussing the basic elements of human relationships and the diversity in sexuality when it comes to intercourse. Reddit user Rage-Rage-Rage in their post wrote: “That gay sex exists. That women can receive oral. That it is okay to say no at any point when anything you don’t like is happened. That it’s okay as a girl to want sex.”
After being told by their mother that intercourse could be for pleasure and only a small percentage was for procreation, one user revealed they held “a secret club meeting” where they explained orgasms and pleasure, with many of their friends questioning, “wouldn’t that be uncomfortable?” and “why would you ever have sex?”.
User Saru-Rosco pointed out the problem was not just a lack of information, but also the spreading of misinformation, recalling a teacher who said “it was possible to get pregnant by laying in bed with a guy.”
Sexual violence was another topic the Redditers deemed in need of attention, which is also backed up by an Australian study. Our Watch and Plan International Australia found that one in four women have experience physical or sexual violence, with 58 per cent of the girlsreporting they often receive uninvited or unwanted indecent or sexually explicit material such as texts, video clips, and pornography. More than one third of the 600 young girls between 15-19 responded that more comprehensive education of sexuality and respectful relationships would improve safety and intimate relationships.
The sentiments of one respondent, ‘Raechan2012’ were similar to many other comments found in the thread, saying rape and sexual violence education “was geared towards avoiding situations where it might occur,” and was aimed at the girls in the class, not the boys.
The most comment element of all the comments were people wishing they were given more information on the practical elements during sexual education including latex allergies, the issue of urinary tract infections and finally there was the inevitable posts on pleasure and getting to “that stage” in a relationship which user ‘Vallco’ stressed was the “most important and overlooked part.”
Here are some other comments from the Reddit thread: