For day twenty five of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read “Real Sex Education” by Cara Kulwicki. Cara is one of my favorite bloggers because she keeps everyone updated on all the crappy victim-blaming stuff that goes on, but sex education is also one of her big topics. I remember reading this essay for the first time and being really intrigued because I knew I was for comprehensive sex education, but I had no way of picturing what that would look like. If you think about what Cara’s proposing, it really could be revolutionary.
Real sex education is not just the basics of what most people think of when they think “comprehensive sex ed,” aka thorough discussion of STD and rape prevention. Cara’s concept gets away from the simple STDs + rape focus and focuses on sexual pleasure. It’s not a “how to have sex course,” she makes clear. The idea isn’t to demonstrate how to have sex or give explicit advice, but to give young people the tools they need to understand their sexual choices.
It’s radical in a few ways. It gets away from heteronormativity and focus on male pleasure alone, for one. Cara points out that procreative sex necessarily involves a male orgasm, and so sex ed that focuses on pregnancy prevention is necessarily going to at least give a man a basic idea of how to have an orgasm. On the other hand, this doesn’t give queer people any idea about how to have sex, nor does it give women any baseline for how to be orgasmic. The clitoris usually avoids mention. If sex education at least highlighted different sexual options–oral, anal, masturbation, etc.–we’d start to take the focus away from successful penis-in-vagina ejaculation and move it towards both partners’ pleasure, regardless of gender or sexuality. This type of education also sends the message that not everyone orgasms during penetrative sex, that other options are equally valid, and that pregnancy and some STDs can be avoided in ways other than abstinence. Finally, tying back to rape prevention, it’s a more comprehensive form of rape prevention in that it teaches enthusiastic consent. It’s not just about how to say and respect “no,” but a curriculum that teaches pleasure as a norm, and sex without pleasure as problematic. Cara doesn’t claim that this type of education will end all rape, but it is an important element in the struggle to reduce rape and sexual violence.