From first grade to twelfth grade, I attended five different schools, in four different towns, using five different educational methods (Catholic, Montessori, public, performing arts, private). Along the way, I received VERY minimal information about sex or sex education.
In middle school at some point, some gym teacher drew standard male and female genitalia on a white board, labelled them, and spoke about heterosexual sex, STDs, and pregnancy. This overview, one-day sex-ed course lasted about 20 minutes. It was nowhere near informative or helpful.
But most importantly, it was extremely limited in scope; it completely ignored any kind of sex education that did not involve a cis-man’s heterosexual penis penetrating a cis-female’s heterosexual vagina. There was no anal sex, oral sex, or non-penetrative sex mentioned (queer or otherwise).
As a teenager, I was happy when the awkward sex ed class ended. Looking back now, I am angry that it was not much, much longer, more comprehensive, and less queer-phobic. If I had had a more queer-friendly sex ed class, my life would have been very different.
When I got to college and became sexual active, I was somewhat clueless. My only experience, or advice, came from porn. As a gay man, I had NEVER heard anyone talk about the kinds of sex I would be having. No one ever told me about blowjobs, anal sex, rimming, or what was sexually expected of me as a gay guy.
Have you ever seen Queer as Folk? In the first episode, clueless teen-wonderboy, Justin gets picked up by much-older Brian for his first hookup. After some kissing, Brian asks Justin if he wants to rim him; Justin has literally no idea what he is talking about. This was sort of like what happened to me.
I didn’t know the terms or slang. I didn’t know what guys would ask of me. I didn’t know what I was supposed to like or dislike.
I learned through experimentation. If a guy was nice enough, I would tell him how clueless I was. He would either say “me too!” or “let me show you then” and be helpful. Eventually, I got the hang of things.
Quickly enough guys started telling me that I “looked like such a bottom” or that I had a great butt. This was extremely overwhelming to me–it was something I had never considered before. The scariest part was that I knew nothing about being penetrated or about anal sex at all, really.
It was then that I realized that it was my education’s, my family’s, the world’s fault that I was so unprepared and uneducated. This world needs to stop pretending that queer people don’t exist or that queer people don’t have sex. We do. A lot, actually. So the world needs to adapt. Children need to be taught about all kinds of sex, not just heterosexual procreative sex. They need to learn about oral sex, anal sex, and all other kinds. They need to learn about sex between gay men, lesbian women, trans people, intersex people, and all the infinite combinations of queer people. Resources need to be available to queer youth, so they can learn about queer sex and learn that it is okay to be queer and to have sex. They need to learn the do’s and don’ts and how to be safe. Schools need to implement more detailed, comprehensive, and queer-friend sex ed classes. Families need to start teaching their children more than just “the birds and bees” the need to also talk about the “mermaids, seahorses, and unicorns” too.