What did the sex education curriculum consist of for you in school? If your sex ed classes were anything like ours, you might have had some of the following key takeaways:
“Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!”
“Wait until you’re married or God will be mad at you.”
“Condoms go on the banana, which is like a penis, and then you have sex and throw the condom away.”
If this is what you remember, you did not receive inclusive sex education, but you are not alone. The majority of people in this world have not received inclusive sex education (at home or in school). This lack of inclusive sex education has seeped into our adult lives and is impacting our sexual health and wellness.
Sexual health encompasses your mental, social, emotional, and physical health which are all crucial aspects of sex education. Though sex education and sexual health overlap in the topics, they don’t actually intersect in most of our education and schooling.
What Is Inclusive Sex Ed?
Inclusive sex education covers everything—not just penetrative sex and preventing pregnancy—but human anatomy, communication skills, relationship styles, understanding kink & bdsm, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), LGBTQIA+ identities, and so much more.
Inclusive sex education discusses sex education for everyone, and has the ability to empower everyone to live their best sexual life. That means every body type, every form of ability and disability, every sexual orientation, and everything in between. Historically, most sex education has been heteronormative and reproduction focused. This form of sex education actively excludes a large population of society, and also erases the idea of pleasure.
Inclusive sex education also covers more than just the physical act of sex. It teaches people about healthy communication, consent, boundaries, the emotional side of sexual relationships, and so much more. Inclusive sex education also emphasizes the importance of pleasure. If you are looking to expand your understanding of pleasure we recommend checking out our sexual health guide articles on self-pleasure and partner intimacy.
Inclusive Sex Ed & Sexual Health: The Intersections
Once you have a strong foundation of sex education you can apply that knowledge to every aspect of your sexual wellness. Nadine Thornhill, a sex educator, describes the intersection of sex education and sexual health, saying, “sex education gives people the tools and information to help them understand themselves, the people in their lives, and the world around them.” With the proper tools you can be the healthiest version of yourself in terms of sexual health, mental health, and social health.
Emotional intelligence is one of the greatest things that inclusive sex education can teach people. A proper understanding of one’s own emotions strengthens self confidence, helps you navigate relationships, and work through emotional turmoil. Emotional intelligence plays a part in sexual wellness, as understanding how emotions work can help us better move through them. Emotional intelligence also strengthens our interpersonal relationships. If you understand that people’s actions and feelings are a reflection of them and what they are working through, and not you, then you can better experience your relationships.
Understanding one’s body is the central intersection of inclusive sex education and sexual wellness. If you are knowledgeable about the different parts of your body—and all bodies—and how they all work together, you can better engage in physical activity with your partners and yourself! Learning about the human body allows you to understand what erogenous zones are, and how to have more fulfilling sexual encounters. Let’s be honest—outside of nipples, how many erogenous zones do you actually know? As you learn more about the body you can better express to partners what you actually enjoy when it comes to sexual stimulation.
The importance of pleasure is a big aspect of inclusive sex education. Understanding that sexual activities and relationships should be pleasurable, not something you do out of guilt or societal expectations, is extremely important.
Confidence In Your Knowledge
Learning about sex education and sexual wellness can be daunting, especially with the dichotomous messaging we receive from mass media. A great place to start and build confidence is your self pleasure practice. Adding a new toy to your experiences is one way to begin exploring and learning what you like best. Our newest products, Filare & Carezza, are great for beginners, and offer two different types of stimulation, so you can experiment. These two toys are for clitoral stimulation but work great for exploring the full gambit of erogenous zones.
Regardless of where you are in life, there is always more to be learned and that most definitely applies to sex education. There are a large variety of resources available, starting with our blog. Another great free resource is the variety of sex educators on social media, below are just a handful of our favorites:
When you choose to prioritize sexual wellness and explore your pleasure, you are creating a holistic approach to your overall well-being and that of your partners. As we like to say frequently and with vigor: sexual wellness IS wellness.