Sex is about pleasure, right? Well, it’s about many things – love; lust; making up; breaking up; baby-making. But in the standard sex ed narrative we hear mainly about love and baby-making.
If we count sex that’s about love, I wouldn’t have had a great deal, if we count sex about baby-making, none at all. Pleasure – because something makes us feel good and we like it – is probably the main reason most of us have sex. But it isn’t the reason we’re talking to kids about.
Young people might have sex because they love each other, or because they’re bored, or because they feel pressured in to it. But I hope that they have sex because it feels good. If we’re not presenting that as a valid reason, we’re starting a narrative of shame.
That narrative is the whole reason I got in to sex ed in the first place – to change the way young people see and talk about sex.
So we need to talk about pleasure more. It doesn’t have to be sexual pleasure. “The cat’s fur feels nice against your fingers”; “I like the way it feels when I get in to a hot bath”, “the sun feels nice and warm on my skin” are all ways we can introduce pleasurable feelings when we talk to children. If we don’t talk about pleasure in any context, we’ll never talk about it in the context of sex either.
Think about the ways you can talk about pleasure in everyday contexts – are there more chances than you think?