The sex-ed I got was crap. The “sex talk” I got from my mom was a book. From my dad? A really awkward thing that involved explaining how condoms work and something about how he doesn’t know why women like oral. From school? Generally a lot of ‘scare people into chastity’ stuff, like gruesome projections of the effects STDs have on genitalia. No one really talked about rape or sexual abuse or what to do when it happens to you. Generally, the consensus is “Don’t have sex. But if you do have sex, use a condom. No Means No.”. I didn’t masturbate, because I had no interest. I didn’t look up porn or anything like that on the internet, I didn’t even consider that it existed.
So, basically, I didn’t realize there was anything between kissing and sex. I didn’t realize anyone had sex before marriage. I didn’t realize people had sex unless they wanted a baby. You know that scene in Enchanted where Nancy gets pissed because she found a naked girl in a towel lying on her boyfriend and Giselle gasps and goes “she thinks we kissed?”- that was me.
Cue my first relationship.
A lot of things happened that were massive red flags, that I now would see and say “We need to have a serious talk about boundaries” or possibly just hightail it the other direction. Then, well, “No Means No” is a magic chant that protects you from harm right?
I didn’t really want to kiss this guy, and said as such, and eventually he just forced the matter. I figured it was okay and, I mean, it’s not like anything else could happen- we weren’t married and I certainly didn’t want to have kids with him! So then when he tried pushing further, it blindsided me. I didn’t know how to deal with it- “Wait? What? People like TOUCHING that stuff? Are you JOKING?”. So I went to my friends, and was met with a wall of “Well, duh” and “If you don’t do that, you’re a bad partner” and “You can’t say you don’t want those things!”. While still reeling over the fact that anyone even did this, and the fact that the magical spell of “No means no” wasn’t working because no matter how many times I said ‘no’ he’d still push the matter.
What does this have to do with sex-ed? Mostly, if I’d had a better sex-ed, a sex positive sex ed that acknowledges consent and that sexual abuse & rape actually happen, I probably would have been better prepared. If we were willing to actually teach kids about sexual activity beyond “when a mommy and daddy love each other…”, then I’d have been aware that there WAS sexual activity beyond penis-into-vagina sex. If we were willing to talk about abuse and acknowledge it happens, then I wouldn’t have thought “No Means No” was something everyone followed so I didn’t have to know how to defend myself for when “No means ‘force them into it anyways’”.
A lot of people seem to think that ‘asexual’ must mean ‘hates sex, so wants no one to talk about it ever’. And, well, some asexual people are like that- but some verisexual people are like that as well! Asexual people can be just as damaged by sex negativity and crap sex education resources, and can benefit from good quality sex education (that acknowledges us, that emphasizes that it’s okay to not want sex, that it’s okay to try it and not like it) just as much as anyone else.