Coffee Date #4: Sex Ed September

On why inclusive and comprehensive education is essential

Hey friends,

Amy from Coffee & Kink here, with the latest issue of Coffee Date. If you’re new, welcome! If you’re returning, welcome back and thanks for sticking with me.

As ever, I’d love your feedback on the newsletter. Do you like it? What could be better? What topics would you like me to write about? If you enjoy reading, please tell a friend.

Share Coffee Date

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive Coffee Date in your inbox every other Wednesday, please sign up!

Sex Ed September

TW for mentions of sexual violence and homophobia/transphobia in this section. Look after yourselves and please feel free to skip if this will be difficult for you.

I’m going to be bringing you sex ed themed content all month long on the blog, to tie in with Lovehoney’s September Sex Ed 101 project. Keep an eye on the blog and my Twitter for posts on choosing sex toys, content and negotiation, sex after trauma, and more.

I love writing and sharing educational content, perhaps more than almost anything else I do. I think that’s because it feels like the content that has the most power to do good and help people.

Sex ed in the UK (where I live) and in many places across the world is woefully lacking. When I was at school in the early 2000s, we were taught the basic “how babies are made” biology, and the girls got what I snarkily call the “how not to get raped” class (don’t wear short skirts, don’t drink alcohol, don’t wear your hair in a ponytail, carry a rape alarm, carry your keys between your fingers, don’t be a slut….)

There was nothing about consent, beyond “boys will try to make you have sex and you have to say no”. (No mention, of course, about how to have a mutually fun and consensual experience in the event that we wanted to say yes!) Pleasure didn’t get a look-in. I didn’t even realise girls could masturbate, and that many did, until an older friend told me about it, for fuck’s sake. Sex was something to be avoided, something that brought with it diseases and unwanted pregnancies and the risk of being labelled a filthy slut.

I entered my teens in the last years of Section 28, which was repealed in 2003, when I was 13. So of course, queer sexualities and trans identities didn’t get even a passing mention.

The thing with these experiences is that they’re pretty typical. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this issue had similar experiences of sex ed, or even worse - if they got any at all.

Just this week, there was another uproar about schools moving towards making the sex ed curriculum LGB+ and trans inclusive. People are still wringing their hands and crying “what about the children?” at the mere idea of anything that isn’t strict cisgender heterosexuality being mentioned to young people. Some even fear that inclusive sex ed will “turn” straight kids queer or turn cis kids trans.

Queer and trans folks have always existed and will continue to exist. You can’t legislate or ignore us out of existence.

And those parents who are terrified an inclusive curriculum will turn their kids gay or trans? What I want to say to them (apart from “sexuality doesn’t work that way, stop being ridiculous”) is, “why are you so terrified of having a queer child?”

If you’re not prepared to potentially raise and love and support an LGBTQ+ child, you’re not prepared to be a parent.

Given the state of sex ed, is there any wonder so many people grow up with a completely dysfunctional relationship with their sexuality? I was one of those people. I felt ashamed and guilty for the consensual sex I had and enjoyed, which left me wide open to the sexual violence I experienced. I battled with my queerness for years before I accepted it.

Consent-centric, pleasure-focused sex ed is the answer to so many of our screwed up sexual norms. I firmly believe that. Proper sex ed dissipates shame, increases pleasure, reduces sexual violence, and creates happier and more well-adjusted adults.

It’s time to stop being afraid of sex ed and start talking about it for what it is: utterly essential.

This week on the blog

  • I reviewed the Jett by Hot Octopuss, an awesome and innovative toy designed for penis owners that works just as well on vulvas.

  • Writer and intuitive healer Holly Hughes (she/her) wrote a fab guest post for me about wishing she could masturbate like her cis male partner.

  • I’m still writing and thinking a lot about abuse and trauma. I think that’ll continue for a while - it’s such a huge topic. This week, I wrote about how being believed is a game-changer.

Sexy deals of the week

Please be aware that shopping with my affiliates sends a small commission my way at no extra cost to you!

Reads, watches, listens

Reading… I’m currently reading a crime/thriller novel, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. It’s a well-written and convincing portrayal of an abusive relationship and its aftermath. Almost too convincing, sometimes - I’m only able to read it in small doses as some of it is quite triggering. There’s supposedly a movie adaptation in development.

Watching… My partner and I have started watching Warrior Nun because we heard great things about it. Two episodes in and I’m unconvinced. I’m going to watch a little more before I completely write it off, but it’s already used pretty upsetting ableist tropes so I really don’t think I’m going to be impressed.

Listening… I’m constantly on the lookout for music that helps me feel energised and focused while working, without pulling too much of my attention. (Sadly, much as I LOVE musical theatre, showtunes are distracting when I’m trying to work!) This week, I’ve been listening to the The Bold Type soundtrack playlist on Spotify, which is the perfect writing music and helps me pretend I’m Jane Sloan.

Last word

As part of #SexEdSeptember, I’m going to be taking reader questions. Please email me or drop me a line on Twitter if you have a sex ed question you’d like me to answer.

See you in two weeks.

Amy xx