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(sex)uality : how much do you really know about sex?

Have you ever felt like there are some serious gaps in your sexual education? Like maybe you don’t know as much as you should? Do you find yourself sometimes nodding along during a bawdy conversation with friends while actually secretly panicking about what they mean when they say ‘tea-bagging’?

I’m going to put this out there – barely any of us know as much about sex as we like to claim we do. Here’s why : there is no final word on sex. No one really knows what’s going on there, beyond the basic physical facts of genitals being in close proximity.

We all just get naked and get on with it, and hope to god we’re ‘normal’ most of the time. I know that I often wonder if my sex life is like that of my friends’ – you can never really know what goes on between other people’s sheets, and it’s easy to start feeling a bit like you might be doing it wrong.

In my opinion, you can’t possibly be doing it ‘wrong’ (assuming it’s all consensual), so long as it feels good. If there’s pain involved, probably stop, but other than that, go forth and be yourself.

I started thinking about sex education a few weeks ago, while having dinner with two good friends. Sex came up, and both me and my friend admitted to not having realised that there was any ‘pumping’ action involved in heterosexual sex based on our school sex ed classes until we were into our teens. I mean, the textbook said ‘insert penis into vagina’. It didn’t really go on, I thought that was it.

Of course, by the time I had sex I had figured the details out, but only thanks to various crude jokes, stupid scenes in movies and offhand remarks from other people. It would have been good if a teacher could have filled in the gaps or something.

Our third friend, who is homosexual, mentioned that it was even worse for him – there was nowhere to go for sex ed of the gay variety other than the internet and more experienced friends. And having attended an all-boys school, his knowledge of women in sex was not particularly nuanced.

In fact, I would argue that in public education, at least, we don’t get a very clear idea of what goes on with the opposite sex. I mean, I only just found out recently that not that many guys had ‘wet dreams’ when they were adolescents, and that if they did it was usually a rare occurrence. The way we were taught sex ed in my school had most of us girls thinking that every night was a sticky nightmare for our male peers. Not so, it would seem.

And I can think of several guys I know who wouldn’t be able to explain menstruation beyond it having something to do with blood and a vagina.

I find this lack of biological, sexual knowledge quite troubling. I can only imagine that schools feel squeamish about disclosing all the information to a classroom of 30 students at a time, but that in itself is fairly ridiculous. Informing teenagers about sex doesn’t make it any more or less likely that they’ll have it. But it might mean that they are more safe and healthy when the act does occur.

As for adults who find sex baffling at time, I feel that there are two main areas of sexual knowledge – biological knowledge of our bodies and how they’re meant to work, and knowledge about giving and receiving pleasure.

The first is pretty essential, and is well worth researching. A quick glance at any Cosmo sealed section tells me that the average woman is bewildered by her own body (a favourite question I read in Cosmo is ‘I get really wet during sex – is that normal??’. Uh, yes). If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friends, ask a doctor or a reliable internet source any questions you might have. You might as well be well-informed about your own body, even if you never think about it again.

And as for the latter form of knowledge, pleasure is unique to the individual. No one will be able to advise you on that aspect of sex better than your body, and the body of whoever you’re sleeping with.

Whatever you do though, DO NOT read a Cosmo sealed section. As I learned last week, those are just packed with weirdness.

By Zoya Patel

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2 thoughts on “(sex)uality : how much do you really know about sex?

  1. A massive gap in my education: I had no idea that female ejaculation existed until my friend told me it happens to her.. What a shock. Hehe.

  2. I was shocked to think that the complete anatomy of the clitorus was *so much more involved* than a tiny little ‘button’ that I’d been led to believe! Also, I was sent by a friend an amazing ‘how to go down on a woman’ how to vid (nsfw) done by two women, and it was fantastic – I learned so much even though I’m not inexperienced with my own pleasure or giving it to women at all. It did seem surprising that I felt I’d learned *so much* from it – and that this was consensus with other awesome and sexually healthy women I am friends with too. (If you happen to be interested in the vid and wish me to provide you with a link to it, feel free to contact me: transcendancing at gmail dot com).

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