10 Things You Didn’t Learn In Sex Ed But Definitely Should Have

If you went to school in the US, chances are that your formal sexual education was absolutely atrocious or completely non-existent. If you received any schooling on sex at all, it was likely the basics. Either way, you likely missed out on a whole lot of information. Here are a few things you should have picked up if sex ed was up to scratch.

  1. Penetration is not the definition of sex. First of all, thinking that a penis entering a vagina is the only definition of sex is some seriously hetero-normative BS. Where does that leave lesbian or gay couples? And second, this definition is wildly limiting even for straight couples. Sex ed likely focused on the process of reproducing and totally left out sex for pleasure. In truth, there are a variety of other ways to experience sex including oral, clitoral stimulation, and anal play (which doesn’t have to mean penetration).
  2. Use lube—it makes things easier. I know, women are “supposed” to be wet enough to slide whatever they need to right into our vaginas without issue. Uh, except this isn’t true. It’s a myth that you “should” be wet enough naturally to not need anything else. Lubrication just makes the whole process easier. You may not always need lube, but it’s great to have on hand and there should never be any shame in lathering up to get a bit slippery. After all, sex can be painful enough—it’ll help you to avoid additional unnecessary pain.
  3. Pee after sex to avoid UTIs. According to Web MD, peeing after sex is the best protection against UTIs. This is because it helps prevent bacteria from moving into the urethra. Scooting out to relieve your bladder could save your lady parts from the unfortunate hell that is a UTI. Have you ever had one of those? They are so painful! If only we were taught this simple preventive measure in school.
  4. A girl “losing her virginity” is BS. Did you know you can break your hymen riding a bike? Last time I checked, I didn’t “lose my virginity” riding that first sparkly bicycle I had at five years old, but if I stopped too hard or crashed into something (which is highly likely), I could have broken my hymen. So, what exactly is virginity, then? Oh, just a ridiculous purity myth created to keep females oppressed—cough, cough, I mean behaving well.
  5. Masturbation is a thing women do. It’s almost a given—boys masturbate—and how they do it is also pretty obvious. It didn’t need to be taught. Women, on the other hand, are left in the dark about how to give ourselves pleasure. We should be teaching girls that not only is it okay to explore their bodies but that they should be doing so! More than anything, we should be talking about shame with girls and how they don’t need to feel it. Shame has no place in female sexual pleasure, despite what the world may tell us.
  6. Regular STD testing is completely essential and there’s no shame in it. Sigh, I really wish we didn’t have to talk about shame so much. It truly gets in the way of healthy sex and self-care. STD testing is no different. There’s no reason to feel ashamed when it comes to STDs. They’re more common than you think, which is why testing for them is absolutely essential and should be done on a regular basis. There are different recommendations from the CDC for varying levels of sexual activity and age, but the general recommendation is annually for sexually active folks.
  7. Porn is not a realistic portrayal of sex. They skip out on some of the most important parts of the whole ordeal: consent, awkwardness, conversation, and protection. Sex in real life is not nearly as smooth and sexy as porn portrays. In reality, there’s a lot of bumping, talking, and just overall being human beings. Porn gives the wrong idea of sex, raising expectations to out-of-this-world standards.
  8. Orgasms are complicated for women. Women end up feeling a boatload of shame around all sorts of areas of their sex life, but perhaps the most is felt surrounding orgasms. We aren’t taught that orgasms for women are tremendously complex. Although there are certainly some women who can orgasm through penetration alone, for most other women it takes much more like clitoral stimulation.
  9. Sexuality is fluid. If you had any sex ed at all, I bet nothing LGBTQIA was ever covered. Same with sexuality as a general concept, which again is some seriously hetero-normative BS. In reality, sexuality isn’t just man and woman. It’s super fluid, meaning there are tons of different orientations and preferences. To just name the basics, there’s heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, and asexuality. There are even more nuances than that, but even one person doesn’t have to fit forever neatly into a single category.
  10. Sexual orientation and gender orientation are different. This is one that not only do we not learn in sex ed, but many adults still have no idea what the difference is. I’ll break it down. Sexual orientation is who you’re attracted to (a dude who’s attracted to only dudes generally identifies as gay—that’s his sexual orientation). Gender orientation is the gender you personally identify as. Female is an example of gender orientation. Regardless of the sex someone is born, their gender identity is something they identify themselves. 
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.