Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Honest Sex Education for Girls: Part 1
Girls grow up with a weird love hate relationship with sex. We want to be sexy, but we also don’t want to be a slut. We want to be desired and be chosen as a wife, but we also can’t dare let someone touch us. It’s a confusing world for girls and even as we grow into women, that confusion stays with us.
We hear about sex from our friends, movies, that one time we watched porn, but we don’t have open, clear and unbiased information, other than DON’T DO IT!
Part of the problem is that we don’t/can’t talk about sex. We hear about sex from our friends, movies, that one time we watched porn, but we don’t have open, clear, and unbiased information, other than DON’T DO IT! I’m not sure how much that educational strategy worked at getting girls not to have sex, but in my opinion, it just creates more mystery, intrigue, and a desire to have sex even more. We end up with girls needing to ask google questions like; "Can I get pregnant from sex standing up?" or "Why did I bleed when I had sex for the first time?". It leads to a lot of unknowns and potential health issues.
As a 26-year-old woman, I've learnt a lot in the last 10 years of having sex, things I wish I'd known about consent, female orgasms and communication, but also some harmful ideas I wish I hadn't learned. So to help the next generation of girls have healthier and happier sex lives, here are 5 lies we tell girls about sex, and 5 truths we should tell instead.
Lie 1: You Have to be in Love to Have Sex
I grew up on rom coms, I lived for movies like the Princess Diaries, Love Actually…I must have watched 13 going on 30 at least 20 times (now I’m thinking about it, I really want to watch it now), but you get the picture, I loved romance! So, I also completely attached sex to love. I didn’t think girls could have sex outside of love, or if they did, they were sluts.
The reality is a little different. You might end up in love with someone and have sex with them, but, there are many more, valid and healthy ways to have sex. You can't plan the future perfectly. You might end up having sex with someone completely random, and that's okay! The problem with telling people they have to be in love, means anyone who does it differently, feels ashamed and guilty.
Truth 1: You Don’t Have to be in Love to Have Sex, but it’s okay if You Want to Wait till you Are.
Women can have sex without romantic attachment, but for some, they want to wait to be in love or at least in a romantic relationship with someone to have sex. Both are perfectly okay.
I’ve been in love, fallen in love after, and definitely not been in love with people I’ve had sex with. Sex is independent of love and can be enjoyable, healthy and respectful with and without love. It's more important to listen to what feels right for you and not what anyone else says.
Lie 2: It Will Hurt
It is normal for sex to hurt during your first time having sex, for some women, sex hurts the second, third and many times after their first. However, it does not need to hurt, (unless you suffer from a health issue), and there are many ways that it can be pain-free and enjoyable. The more we teach women (and men) that sex will hurt, we enable the pain during sex. Instead, we should teach people about techniques that will reduce the pain and increase pleasure for girls.
Truth 2: It Might Hurt, but There are Ways you Can Make it Better.
Teach both boys and girls that sex can be enjoyable for women, even the first time! Teach girls how to masturbate and teach girls about orgasms! I had an enjoyable first sexual experience with no pain because I had experience masturbating before having sex. This allowed me to understand how to relax my muscles and increase my sexual excitement, meaning I was more physically prepared to have sex. Girls are able to orgasm just as much as boys, but we need to teach it and normalise it so that girls and boys know how to do it and won't be ashamed of it!
Lie 3: Your Hymen Will Break and if it doesn’t, You weren’t a Virgin
The hymen is a completely misunderstood part of the body. The hymen is a piece of stretchy skin that moves and thins with age and movement. Some hymens will tear from activity like sports, some hymens won’t tear at all - even during sex, and some are born without a hymen at all. Your hymen does not need to break during sex. You do not need to bleed from sex. Not bleeding from sex does not mean you're not a virgin. These are simple but fundamental things that need to be retaught to everyone!
Truth 3: Your Virginity does not Rely on your Hymen
Although Virginity is a toxic idea in itself - if we must teach girls about it, at least teach them correctly! Your hymen is not an indicator of your sexual experience. Your hymen might break, it might not break, it might have already broken from many normal, healthy activities. Sports can break your hymen! We need to redefine and re-educate people on what virginity means.
Lie 4: Once You’ve Had Sex, You’ve Lost Your Worth
A girl’s worth had nothing to do with her sexual experience, especially not with her virginity. Anyone who teaches girls this is teaching girls that they are objects and they belong to the man who takes their virginity - which is not only creepy, sad and disgusting, it also ignores the many other values and worth a girl can bring to the world.
Teach Girls that no matter if they have sex with someone they regret, even if they have an unwanted pregnancy, even if they have an abortion, they don't lose their value as a human being, they have the right to be respected and they can still do wonderful things with their life.
Truth 4: Sex Does Not Affect Your Worth and Value
Girls are capable of doing anything, just as much as boys. Each girl has the chance and right to do what they want with their life, and sex and virginity do not affect that. Teach Girls that no matter if they have sex with someone they regret, even if they have an unwanted pregnancy, even if they have an abortion, they don't lose their value as a human being, they have the right to be respected and they can still do wonderful things with their life.
Lie 5: You Have to Save Yourself till Marriage
It’s important to teach girls to respect their bodies, but teaching them that sex is only valid within a marriage is outdated and limiting. In the worst cases, it forces girls into marriages with people they are not happy with and unsuited to be with, based solely on the fact that they had sex. It’s okay if girls want to wait till their married, but don’t force that on people, and don’t shame people if that’s not what happened to them.
Sex is a personal choice, it’s not something that needs to be decided by anyone else.
Truth 5: Respect Your Body and Only Have Sex When you’re Ready
A better way to teach girls to respect their body would be to make sure they know it’s their decision and their choice when to have sex - no one else’s. That means they won’t be pressured into having sex younger than they’re ready, but it also means that their parents, church or community cannot pressure them into having sex when they want her to. Sex is a personal choice, it’s not something that needs to be decided by anyone else.
Can we Teach Sex Better?
There’s a lot we can do better in our sex education. As we’ve seen from the rates of unwanted pregnancies, rapes and sexual transmitted diseases, the current education system is not working. When you add in the fact that such a high percentage of women are shamed and unhappy with their sex life, we must see that things HAVE to change. We can do better, we can teach better.
What do you think? If you agree, please share with people who might be interested!
I’d love to know what lies you heard growing up and what truths would you tell instead? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!