Ahhh, sex education class. I remember like it was yesterday.
Our teacher was a young blonde woman, in her early 30s, and married. She made sure everyone knew that she was married.
I remember being so excited that she wasn’t an older lady who was going to tell us sex was naughty and unholy. I thought, “finally, someone I can relate to who is going give it to me straight.”
Oh boy, I was wrong.
The abstinence-based sex education program that our teacher (and state) pushed on to us neglected to prepare many teenagers for the realities of sex in society. It tried to push on a value system that no longer applied today and failed to acknowledge the gaps in information that students so desperately needed.
The Issue of Sex Education in the US
Now that I am older, I realize how dangerous abstinence-based sex education programs are and how much of a disservice they have been for generations past.
Not only do they teach young teenagers to suppress natural urges, but they fail to prepare teens on how to have healthy sexual relationships.
Which ultimately leads to issues of not being able to communicate effectively with partners about their needs.
To help correct this error and make the world just slightly better, I will cover the top 5 lies (PLUS 1 BONUS LIE) about sex that I know everyone has heard at least once.
Are you ready?
#1) Sex Is Only For Marriage
If you haven’t heard this one, you must be living under a rock because I heard this message everywhere. That sex is a sacred act that should only be performed between man and wife. Saving yourself for your future partner will make your bond as spouses that much stronger, and it is like a gift you are giving to them.
Sex should only be performed between consenting adults. Whether that be your spouse, lover, best friend, neighbor, IT DOESN’T MATTER!
Now I am not saying that saving yourself for marriage or that special someone is bad;
if that is what you want to do, GREAT!
It is bad to teach teenagers that sex is only meaningful and valid when you do it with someone you are married to.
When you are emotionally and physically ready, sex is a great act that encourages people to discover more about themselves and what they like.
#2) Condoms Are Not Effective
When I heard our teacher say this, I did not question it all. I was like, “alright, so I will never be using condoms.” But now that I have developed some critical thinking skills, I wonder why I never questioned this statement. Abstinence-based programs rarely cover contraceptives, but when they do, they talk about condoms and how ineffective they are.
According to Planned Parenthood, condoms have an ideal use rate of 98%. This means if you used a condom perfectly every time, then it has an effectiveness rate of 98%. But considering human error, the effectiveness rate drops to 85%, which is not terrible.
The truth is that condoms are super effective. They prevent pregnancy, STI transmissions, come in different materials, and a readily available to the public.
So when abstinence programs tell young students that condoms, the cheapest and most accessible contraceptive, is not effective and that they should wait until marriage, what students are actually thinking is
“What’s that? I should have sex without any contraceptives because the only type that I can afford and is available to me is not effective at all, so what is the point?”
So use condoms.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Condoms: Different Types & Styles
#3) Heterosexuality Is The ONLY REAL SEXUALITY
Now, this little gem screwed with me. Growing up, I heard from multiple sources that heterosexuality was the only REAL sexuality; all the other people who identified as bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, or gay were just confused attention seekers.
And I know I was not the only one who heard this message because our media showed us the same message.
Straight is the way.
According to Healthline, there are about 46 different sexualities.
The thing that abstinence programs always skip over is that sexuality is not linear. It is a spectrum.
And as a person goes through new life experiences and situations, they learn more about themselves.
For instance, while you may have had strictly heterosexual relationships before, now you may be interested in exploring a different type of relationship with someone of the same sex.
Moreover, this misconception completely invalidates the experience of teenagers who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+. This lack of comprehensive sex education leaves these students in the dark as to what their sexual experiences would look like—leaving them unprepared and unsure who to look for help.
Related Article: Top 5 Tips To Have An Amazing Threesome: Couples Edition
#4) Virginity Is Part Of Your Identity
This myth, in particular, has done its damage by redefining how people view themselves and interpret their self-worth. Plus, it is used as a justification to oppress women into following the societal norm.
Abstinence sex education taught teenagers, specifically young girls and women, that their virginity is sacred. That it should not be shared with anyone until they are wed, and if they do, their value as a person depreciates.
Society as a whole has made “virginity” and “being pure” the only valuable thing about a woman. It’s as if society views women as nothing more than homemakers.
I can write a dissertation about how much havoc this myth has caused within our society, but I want to keep this short.
Sex is a big deal, but virginity is a societal construct that does not exist. Being a virgin does not define you or your worth.
Yes, your first time is a big deal, and you should do it with another consenting person that you trust, but having sex does not change who you are at your core.
Your value as a human being does not depreciate as if you were some recently purchased new car.
Your worth is the same and what is important is how you feel about yourself.
#5) If You Masturbate Too Much, You Will Ruin Yourself For Your Partner
Now, this is one of those lies that impacted women more than it did men.
Since they are young, women are taught not to touch themselves, aka masturbate. If they do, they will lose sensitivity, and when they are finally with a partner, it won’t feel the same.
As if they are ruining themselves before someone else gets to play with them.
Which ultimately leads to their partners being dissatisfied with themselves.
MASTURBATION IS AMAZING, HEALTHY, AND NORMAL!
It is good for you and has so many health benefits: stress relief, helping you sleep better, and getting to know your body better! The worst thing that could happen if you masturbate a lot is that you get skin irritation, so be sure to use lubricate or saliva if necessary.
Masturbation helps you explore your body in a natural, healthy way, and it teaches you what you like and don’t like, which makes your sex life that much better.
Related Article: The Glory of Masturbation & What I Wish I Knew
Since the U.S. sex education system sucks so much, I threw in this bonus myth.
If You Have Sex With A Lot Of People You Will Not Be Able To Develop An Emotional Attachment To Your Future Partner
It seems like the U.S. sex education system is obsessed with people forming unstable bonds.
To teach this, my sex education teacher used the analogy of a piece of tape.
You read that right. My teacher compared human sexuality to a piece of tape.
To demonstrate this analogy, she took a piece of clear tape, and she put it on one student’s arm. She then had them rip off the tape and pass it to the student next to them to do the same. Each student repeated the process until the piece of tape was no longer able to stick to a surface.
She used this analogy to state that people who have sex with multiple partners and eventually find the “one” would no longer be able to bond with the person because they were worn out like a piece of tape.
You are not a piece of tape.
You are a complex human being capable of forming multiple different types of relationships and bonds with other human beings. And if you choose to express the bond sexually, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to love someone else in that way.
If anything, our ability as humans to form multiple connections with multiple people is our strong suit. It teaches us more about relationships, healthy boundaries, and how we want to experience love.
Humans are complex beings that have the capacity to feel many different emotions for one person and whether they or not they choose to express that sexually, say nothing about who they are as a person.
Sex Education Reformation
If you read this article from start to finish, then CONGRATULATIONS! You officially know more about sex education than 1/2 of the U.S. population (I assume).
Which in reality, makes me rather sad because we are deliberately being feed misinformation to keep us in societal cages but more on that later.
I hope by unlearning some of these myths you are able to go about your life more relaxed knowing that your character is not judged by what you enjoy sexually.
I have linked some resources at the bottom that you can refer to if you are curious to learn more or learn as to where I get my information from!