Generations of LGBTQ+ individuals have been let down by poor sex education lacking inclusivity. This has had a knock-on effect on people's sexual enjoyment and ability to have positive intimate relationships. Learning about sexual citizenship can help you learn some ways to re-educate sex education.
Re-education of sex education is something we all take part in, in some way throughout our lives as our sexual needs change. It’s not exclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, however, having an inclusive approach can help you learn more about yourself as it can allow you to explore both your mental values and physical needs fully. Here are some tips on re-educating yourself after experiencing poor sex education.
Advocate for yourself
Due to sex education not giving LGBTQ+ individuals a voice it can be hard to speak up about your sexual wants and needs. Learning to advocate for yourself can be helpful in communicating about the type of sex you enjoy. Understanding your needs is a basis of self-advocacy and some of the following sexual citizenship skills below can help you work out these needs. Resources can also help in self-advocacy and when you’ve only been informed how resources can help you in heteronormative relationships, it can be hard to see how they can help you too. That’s why we have put together an inclusive guide on how to explore sex toys, as sex toys are a resource that can expand how you explore and advocate for your pleasure needs.
Could link to previous article here regarding sex toys.
Learn about your body
When you’ve been taught biology and reproductive focused sex education only, it can leave you with gaps in knowledge around your bodies anatomy. Whilst learning about reproduction can be helpful it can be very heteronormative focus and make out that sex only feels good when it’s done for procreation. Taking time to learn about your anatomy in a way that doesn’t focus on reproduction can help you connect sex as pleasurable. Learning that genitals and other erogenous zones can feel good when stimulated in ways other than penile to vaginal sex can also help you connect intimately with your partner.
Studies show that when we’re only taught to engage in heterosexual sex such as penile to vaginal, it can make us feel that other forms of sex aren’t valid. This can also lead us to explore relationships without truly opening up about our sexuality, as we are led to believe that there is only one way to enjoy and express ourselves sexually.
Explore your sexual beliefs and values
Our sexual beliefs and values help us form our overall view of the world and when we have them silenced it can make navigating the world harder. During past sex education, sexual belief and values have been built on shame, stigma, abstinence, and heterosexuality. The reason for this was to reduce STI transmission and pregnancy, however, research now shows that these methods of sex education led to a rise in both as people were too anxious to communicate about sex and sexuality.
When looking into your sexual belief and values, asking yourself where they came from can help you distinguish if they are beliefs and values you yourself have formed or if they are ones you have been told to have. Working out that there is a difference between the belief and values we form ourselves over the ones we’ve been taught can have a great impact on our self-esteem, sexual confidence, and ability to communicate our needs intimately with another.
Focus fluidity of sexual enjoyment rather than liner
Our attitudes around sex can change and when we realise this it can help allow us to explore away from strict sex education that focuses on binaries and limitations such as reproduction and age. As we grow in ourselves mentally and our bodies change over time, we can find different things sexually pleasurable, including types of stimulation. We’re adaptive and fluid when it comes to finding new ways to enjoy intimacy and sex, and when we allow ourselves permission to go with the flow of these changes, it can help us be truer to ourselves sexually.
Reassess what is good sex
Orgasm or reproductive focused sex education can make our views on sexual pleasure and sexuality fixed on penile to vaginal stimulation. Learning that there are different ways to have sex and not all of these have to end with orgasms can help you learn to enjoy sex in the moment more.
Educate yourself around consent
Being taught about consent in sex education is still fairly new, however in the past when it has been taught it has focused largely on penile to vaginal sex and discounting other forms of sex. Learning that you can set your own boundaries around what type of sex or pleasure you want to experience can help you gain control of your sexual enjoyment. Understanding that you are also free to change these rules and boundaries around sex, pleasure and consent can also help you find the type of sex you enjoy rather than following a pleasure script you may have been taught in the past. Safe words and traffic light systems can both be good ways to explore boundaries, rules and consent if you’re stuck on where to start.
Consent isn’t just about saying no to types of sex you don’t want to engage in, but also is there for you to say yes to the types of sex you want, too.
Upstander not bystander
Communication in the past has been left out in a lot of sex education. Thankfully things are changing, but we still focus on communication about our individual needs more than others. Having the ability to not only speak up about our sexual needs can be important, but also having the ability to step up when you see someone’s sexual needs or sexuality being discounted by others can be supportive and help others find themselves sexually in a safe environment. It’s ok to speak up and support other LGBTQ+ individuals and it can help make it safer for everyone in the queer community to have intimate and pleasurable relationships.
Why do you want to have sex?
Asking yourself why you want to have sex can be a great way to explore all the different reasons and ways you may want to have sex. It may sound simple, but in a world where abstinence and reproductive sex education have been the focus for a long time, we can forget the reasons why we actually may want o have and enjoy sex. All reasons can be valid, from simply it feeling good, to how you want to explore a particular sex position or location to enjoy sex in.
Our understanding of sex and sexuality is an integrated part of our overall world view both internal and external. Becoming more educated about our needs and wants can help us explore our bodies and relationships safely and consensually. Sometimes we all need a little bit of re-education around sex education. The above can help you learn about your sexual citizenship and how your sexual needs and sexuality play an important role in navigating the world. Helping you become authentic with sex positivity that feels right for you.