When it comes down to it, I think that sex education is directly tied to being comfortable with your body. I don’t mean necessarily that you feel comfortable to put it up on display or even to expose yourself. At its core, knowing how your body works is an incredible sense of empowerment.
You know the phrase, “Knowledge is power?”
Basically that’s it.
The knowledge that you know your body, that you know how it will react, what pushes it to its most efficient, how it helps you get the job done… All this is empowering when you realise just how much information you have.
So what does knowing your body have to do with sex education?
Well, it comes down to basic protection. The thing about sex education is that it is supposed to demystify the process of having sex and/or everything related to reproductive health. And reproductive health is more than simply sex.
What is sex education anyway?
In most definitions, sex education is more than sex. What is sex? It’s a mating activity that two (hopefully) adults partake it. Sometimes there may be more adults. Sometimes there may be only one. Sexual activity varies, but involves one human being (or more) touching themselves to achieve orgasm.
Where do they touch?
Usually the genitals, but there are other parts of the body, called the erogenous zones, which also serve to stimulate sexual desire. In females, such stimulation will lead to the lubrication of the vagina. In males, it will lead usually to the stiffening of the male penis. The desire, when accompanied by physical stimulation, is supposed to peak to the point it culminates in what is called an orgasm.
And now, here we get into a somewhat murky part of the syllabus.
Traditionally, it has been taught that orgasm is the ultimate aim of sex. What makes it murky is that a female’s orgasm is not as obvious as a male’s, and is often thought to be harder to achieve. For males, it is taught that ejaculation is proof of orgasm. Another word for this process is “climax.”
However, while it is true in many cases that orgasm accompanies the male ejaculation, it is not true in all cases. Google says that orgasm is characterised as a feeling of pleasure at sexual climax. In males, it is considered to be an accompaniment to ejaculation. However, in cases of rape and non-consent, it is possible for the body to be sexually stimulated and achieve climax without actually achieving orgasm.
Hands up if you followed me through all that. Good. You know now a little bit more about mechanics of sex than you did before. Would you be surprised to learn that the Malaysian education syllabus doesn’t include that bit of information?
And we haven’t even gotten into the topic of how sex can be pleasurable, how to protect yourself, and taking good care of your reproductive health. We teach our kids about how eating fibrous food is good for their digestion. We teach them that exercise is good for their health. We teach them the importance of keeping clean.
Yet when it comes to their genitals, we are strangely silent. The genitals is another part of the human body. It is used every day, as part of our natural bodily processes. It is as part of us as our arms are. Where is the shame in that? In learning how it works to keep our kids safe?
We tell our kids not to play with knives because they can cut themselves. We teach our kids how to play sports in accordance with the rules so they will keep their limbs intact. Yet we will not arm them with the information they need to make safe reproductive health choices. Are we not failing them as parents? As adults?