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Sex Ed As It Should Be

(Or Things I Wish I'd Learned in School)

by Kiley Oram

As a sex educator at one of Babeland's NYC stores, I've been fortunateenough to get to learn about so many aspects of sexuality, from sexualhealth to pleasure and everything in between. I've definitely learned alot more from my experience here than anything I was ever taught aboutsex in school. The topics we at Babeland share with customers on thesales floor and in our workshops, like anatomy, communication skillsand personal confidence, are essential to a healthy sexual life.

Yet sex education in schools is still whack! It remains poor tononexistent. Abstinence lessons are the equivalent of letting kids?learn it on the street??being in denial about young peoples' sexualitycanencourage misinformation, poor choices and, well, bad sex lives asadults. I desperately want to help bring better sex ed to confused andhorny teenagers. If I could teach sex ed in schools, this wouldbe my lesson plan:

Sex Toys 101
  1. Your body is yours, and your body is meant to be good to you. Get toknow it. (Pass around hand mirrors and speculums for at-home exploration).
  2. Masturbation is not a crime. In fact, not masturbating should be acrime. (Say this especially loudly in the Catholic schools, whilehanding out vibrators, Little Flirt Plugs and Fleshlights, with plenty of copies of Sex Toys 101)
  3. Repeat after me: NO CONDOM (glove, dental dam), NO SEX. (Insertintense safer-sex discussion here. Escort students to lab for STDtesting. Hand out yummy Kiss O' Mint condoms for safer fellatio,demonstrate putting one on by mouth for fun.)
  4. Now that you know what you like, don't be embarrassed to say it.Homework: practice saying out loud important statements such as "rub myclit this way," "slow down," "go faster," "don't stop licking me untilI tell you to stop," "please use three fingers," "I need more lube,"and "I don't want to do this right now." Now practicechecking in with your partner, in case he or she was absent from class:"How does this feel?" "Do you like when I touch you here?" and don'tforget? "You are SO hot!" or  "You feel/taste/smell SO great."
  5. LUBE: don't fuck without it. It will be the difference betweenawesome mind-blowing sex and uncomfortable, unsatisfying sex that canleave you sore and dehydrated (from all that spit. Spitting can be funbut saliva is not the best lubricant).
  6. Babeland Lube
  7. Don't do anything you don't want to do. Just because we're talkingabout sex doesn't mean you have to be doing it yet. It's like algebra:your teacher says you'll need math in the "real world", but you haven'tconfronted Pythagorean theorem at the mall. Learn this stuff and hangonto it for when you're ready to use it. Don't have sex with someone ifyou aren't into it, just to make them like you. The sex may be what theylike about you?itwon't magically make someone care about you. Don'tcompromise yourself! And...if someone says no, respect that. Don'tguilt trip or pressure someone to something they're not ready for.
  8. Define sex for yourself. Is sex cunnilingus, dry humping,masturbating together? It definitely can be. Sex is a lot more thanpenetration, and doesn't have to end with or be centered around it(required reading: the Guide to Getting it On).
  9. Guide to Getting it On!
  10. You are sexy. Movie stars and models spend all of their time andmillions of dollars to look like glossy coat hangers. We have way moreimportant things to do with our days and dollars. Figure out whatmakes YOU sexy (voluptuous curves? Super-sculpted calves from years ofsoccer? Your sense of humor? Your glasses?) and own the hell out of it.Just remember that your sexuality is damn powerful, and use it forgood, not evil. I haven't heard of orgasms curing any diseases orfixing the budget deficit yet, but we'll keep trying.
  11. Be true to yourself. You might be finding out more about your own personalidentity, regarding gender and, well, who you like to have sex with, oryou may have had it figured out for a long time. Sexual and genderidentity are fluid?nothing is cut and dried. The fact that thereare as many ways to be sexual as there are people on the planet can beoverwhelming, confusing and downright scary, especially if you don'thave a supportive community of friends or family, or many or any folksin the public realm to relate to, or an environment where you feel safebeing yourself and expressing yourself. Know that while your sexualityis as individual as your fingerprint, you aren't alone?there are otherpeople out there who share your experience, and there are ways toconnect with them.
  12. Don't expect your first sex experiences to be totally awesome. It'sok to admit you're new to this?you'll learn a lot as you go, I assureyou! Chances are you're both inexperienced, and if not, your partnercan teach you stuff. With good body knowledge, being comfortable withcommunicating what you need, safer sex supplies and lube, things will bemuch better than fumbling dry silent encounters in the backseat whereit doesn't feel that great and you're just doing it to get it overwith.
I just wish somebody had told me all of this ten years ago! Fortunately today's teens have some excellent resources, includinginternet sites like the Coalition for Positive Sexuality. And there's nothing like a good book to answer questions accurately and without judgement.