This is a comment by Lara Sobel on the post “Is Holding Hands a Gateway Sexual Activity?“
“The more taboo something is, the more attractive it is to a young person when they are trying to separate from their parents and develop their own personalities.
“Besides the obvious problems of not having sex-ed in schools, I think separating girls from boys in sex ed does a disservice to everybody. Sex is a human issue. The best place we can start bringing the sexes together discussing sexual issues is in schools. If we model to emerging adults that discussion of sex is only safe between ‘same’ sexes, then we are immediately teaching a division of communication between the sexes. Having them all together eliminates the problems of exclusion of teens who are not sure or still evolving with their gender or sexual orientation identities. Besides the basic logistics of sex, no one is teaching young people how to talk to each other about it. Who is teaching them how to ask permission to touch, how to respond, how to say what you like, how to clearly communicate your boundaries, how to listen?
“If we can’t even talk about the basics of how to put a condom on, how are we going to teach, or provide a safe environment for young people to learn about themselves and practice the communication skills to say things like, ‘I like you. It’s okay to kiss me with your tongue, touch my breasts & nipples, you may touch my vulva and clitoris with your hands only, but I’m not ready for any part of you to go inside me …’ and have their partner listen? There are adults who can’t even do this because they are weighted down with so much guilt and shame, and the totally unrealistic fantasy that pleasure just happens naturally.
“Another thing missing from sex ed is education frank and honest education about masturbation. If I had a young boy, I’d be giving him handfuls of condoms & lubricant to start practicing masturbation with a condom on, so when the time finally comes for him to have intercourse, he and his nervous system are ready for a pleasurable experience. If a boy is masturbating all the time without a condom, when the time comes to finally have sex with a condom, it is awkward and may not feel as good. He will be less motivated to use a condom during actual intercourse. If I had a girl, I’d be encouraging her to fully explore and learn about her body & how to pleasure herself as well. Knowing how to pleasure yourself first, and how to communicate what feels good with non-intercourse types of sexual activity to your partner is so important. You can become very intimate and have wonderful sexual pleasure as a young person using just your hands on each other genitals. I know women who have been faking orgasm during vaginal sex with their partners and husbands their entire lives because they were not encouraged to find their own pleasure, & even feel shameful about trying to pleasure themselves. If you can’t even pleasure yourself without guilt or shame, how are you going to tell someone else what you need, what feels good, even when you’re finally in a ‘healthy,’ ‘sanctioned’ or socially approved relationship?”
Photo credit: Flickr / Will Hale