Let’s Talk About Sex

Sex Ed is a Joke

It’s been a couple of decades since I was a teenager, but I remember watching the movie Mean Girls when I was on a date in my early 20s. It was the scene where the gym teacher told a group of students, “If you have the sex, you’ll get pregnant and die.” It was a funny but true line about the state of sex education in the United States. As an improviser, the first thing they tell you in improv class is there is “truth in comedy.”

In high school, my sex ed. course went along those same lines. They showed us worst-case scenario photos of people with untreated sexually transmitted infections. It was blatant scare tactics. They told us that abstinence-only was the best route to go. I wasn’t a popular kid in high school, but I surely lusted over the cute girls in class way more than when I was a third-grader. Many people start being sexually active in their teen years; I can attest that they are raging with hormones as a former teen myself. I’ve had to pull apart teens in the hallways who were basically trying to rip each other clothes off when I worked in high schools. 

Schools and parents definitely fail to educate young people about sex. Then they grow up as adults who know very little about sex. The cycle repeats itself over and over again. It’s strange because we all exist because our parents got their freak on to create every one of us. Sex is as natural to humans as drinking water. Although water is vital to an individual’s survival, sex is critical to the survival of humanity. 

In the United States, thanks to our political and social system being painfully wedding to the outdated Victorian-era ideology. A robust discussion about sex is never had in most classrooms or with many parents. Young people learn about sex from easy to access online porn, peers, and pop culture. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pop culture or adult films. But they fail epically in showing the full breadth of the human sexual experience. 

I’m a licensed social worker. I was a counselor for college-age young adults early in my professional career. Obviously, relationships, romance, and sex were hot topics with these students. I realized that many young people were like me and had to figure out this sex thing on their own. Sex education fails to acknowledge the spectrum of human sexuality and usually shames people for being sexual beings. So I hope this post can foster an honest discussion about sex education with the readers. At least from the perspective of a straight male, black dude social worker. So, let’s talk about sex! 

Real Sex Ed Part I

Consent

After the Me-Too era, I hope more people have conversations about consent regarding sex. Sexual assault, harassment, and rape are real problems in all societies. Unfortunately, I personally know far too many victims of rape and harassment. A vast majority are women, but men can be victims as well. In a post, Me-Too era doesn’t mean that men can’t pursue their romantic interests or that just saying hello to someone of the opposite sex at work means you’ll be reported to HR. No, it means whether it be casual flirting, a fling, one-night stand, long-term partner, or an orgy, all parties verbally and/or non-verbally consent to the sex and sexual advances that happen.

I was a single and ready to mingle guy back in the days. I’ve been hot and heavy with a lady. And in the middle of it, I’ve been told to stop, or they said this is as far they felt comfortable going. I respected their boundaries and didn’t push further. We’d often end up hooking up later, and sometimes nothing ever happened again. But I knew “no meant no,” even if at the moment I was ready to go. Fellas, consent is hot, and respecting the person allowing you to be intimate with them is not a stretch. It should be the norm. On a final note, if you’re getting your freak on, make sure you’re so fresh and so clean, gentlemen. 

The Body Count

This makes me feel old, but the number of sexual partners a person has had is considered a ‘body count‘ nowadays. As a military veteran, a body count was the number of confirmed kills a person had. In the U.S., sex and violence are strangely linked together. Now, I’m not kink-shaming; knock yourself out if you want some consensual violence in your sex life. 

But gentlemen in the dating or relationship game, never ask your lady, hook-up, or friend with benefits how many sexual partners they’ve had. Unless they tell you first, or it naturally comes up in conversation. They are 40-year-old virgins, and they’re people who’ve reached Wilt Chamberlin numbers when it comes to the number of sexual partners. 

It’s better to know or ask how many relationships they’ve been in and when was the last time they’ve been tested for STIs. I can tell you from personal experience either you will get an actual number or a lie. Either way, you won’t be happy about it. This also leads to slut-shaming, especially if a woman has X number of sexual partners. For some fellas, the thought of their boo having one other sexual partner besides them is still one too many. Let alone if it’s been, multiple people.

If a guy is dating a woman who has far more sexual experience than he does, if the guy is not secure in himself; he can eventually slut-shame his partner because of her sexual history. Our society has a colossal double-standard regarding how we view promiscuous men versus women. That dynamic perhaps plays out differently in LGBTQ partnerships and relationships. I say adults should be able to do whatever and whomever they see fit in the bedroom. As long as it’s consensual and folks are practicing safe sex. 

STI’s 

Speaking of safe sex, STIs have a lot of stigma surrounding them. In 2016, when R&B singer Usher was revealed to have herpes, the memes and jokes online were legion. Despite herpes being widespread and prevalent amongst the entire human population. If someone has an STI, it doesn’t mean they’re dirty, nasty, or unworthy. It means that nature happened. 

You have people who’ve had many sexual partners and never caught anything, and you have a person who had sex once and got an infection. STIs can happen to anyone. The best thing to do if you are sexually active is to use protection and be safe. These days thanks to many medical advancements, most STIs can be cured. Even those with no cure yet, like HIV and herpes, can be treated with medicine that allows people to have active sex lives with a very low risk of spreading it to their respective partners. I know the Supreme Court and many Republicans would like to ban contraceptives very soon since we live in the United States of nutcases. But for now, protection is as close as your nearest Wal-Greens or Adult Sex Store. 

When I was a single, sexually active young man, I got tested regularly. I wanted to be safe and ensure I didn’t pass anything to my partners. I used condoms and dental dams. I’m sorry to say this, fellas, but quite a few fathers out there thought their pull-out game was strong. It wasn’t! So wrap it up, B!

Sexuality is Fluid 

Human sexuality is a board and beautiful thing. In Sex Ed, you’re usually taught that everyone is straight, and sex leads to certain death. The reality is much messier and more complex. The LGBTQ community is vast and diverse. And it’s normal for some people to be attracted to the same sex or all gender expressions. And some people have no interest in sex whatsoever. I’m not talking about grown adults who prey on teens and children either. That’s wrong and often conflated with the queer community, thanks to the religious right’s homophobic rhetoric. 

Jeff Epstein and Bill Cosby were very straight-ass men who abused their power and were sexual predators. Thankfully, they don’t represent all men. But men can be gay, straight, bi, pan, or asexual. All those things are just fine. And thanks to the groundbreaking Kinsey Report and many imitations, we see from the research that sexuality truly is a spectrum. I lie on the straight side, but I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality to see why women go cray cray over Idris Elba. 

Real Sex Ed Part II

You should talk to your kids about sex if you’re a parent. Obviously, be age-appropriate. The sex talk with a five-year-old will be very different from a fifteen-year-old. You might think your kid isn’t having sex or feel uncomfortable talking to your kid about sex and sexuality. But these days, there are many resources available. Also, encourage your school board to move beyond the limited and conservative abstinence-only sex ed approach. 

I’m no expert in this field, but here are a few people who are. If you’re an adult who might be having sex, these are a few of the many great sex educators to look for. These individuals cover a wide range of topics regarding dating, relationships, and sex, from the most taboo of subjects to basic questions about sex.  

Shan Broodram 

Dan Savage 

Dr. Ruth 

Marjanilane

People have sex for many reasons; love, money, lust, boredom, fun, babymaking, etc. For those who do have sex, rather it is solo, with one other person, or with multiple people educating yourself on the subject is the best way to get better at something. Well, that and lots of practice. Sex shouldn’t be wrapped up in shame and embarrassment. It should be fun, it should be consensual, it should be a learning experience, and most of all, it should be natural.


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