One of the things I love about the Eden Fantasys website is that there is so much cool content on there. If you get bored looking at all the brightly colored sex toys, lingerie & the like, there’s forums, video reviews, the Eden Cafe Blog and SexIs Magazine – all of which feature fun & informative information about sex. Recently, I’ve become totally addicted to watching Producer & Sex Educator, Nikol Hasler’s “What Did We Learn” video series. Nikol Hasler’s story is interesting. Sexually active at a young age, her early life was marked by moving from various foster homes, conquering subsequent drug abuse, becoming homeless and pregnant – all before the age of 18. These experiences have given Nikol a unique perspective on sex education. In 2008 she teamed up with a friend to create the Midwest Teen Sex Show – a very popular comedy podcast where she uses her experiences & biting sense of humor to provide straight forward info to teens about sex. She’s since written a book & moved to LA to write a pilot based on her podcast for Comedy Central. In other words, color me impressed. Did I mention she’s also really funny?
I was watching her video “Five Things I Wish Someone Else Would Tell My Son” and it got me thinking about what I wish someone had told me about sex when I was a teenager.
The sex education I received in High School was spotty at best. In grade 10 our guidance counsellor Mrs. M (a bleach blonde, middle aged woman with a thick Eastern European accent & a fondness for spike heels, low cut tops & drinking out of a plaid thermos that I swear contained something stronger than coffee) turned on a VHS tape of the Degrassi High’s “School’s Out” TV movie and barked out “VATCH THIS!” before stumbling out of the room. If you haven’t seen this cheesy 1990’s masterpiece, it features a totally awkward scene where a girl shows her friend how to put a condom on a banana – because you know, that’s something that occurs all the time in normal social situations. I knew the basic “birds and bees” stuff but for the most part, sex ed left a lot to be desired. By the time I got to grade 11 my school had it’s own daycare. It’s funny how no one connected the dots here.
So, here’s some basic things I wish someone had told me in Sex Ed:
1. Always, ALWAYS pee after sex. When I was 19, I woke up one morning feeling like someone was stabbing my bladder with Ginsu knives. I thought I was dying. Turns out it was only a bladder infection – something I later learned could have been prevented if I had gone to the bathroom after doing the deed with my boyfriend the night before.
2. Sex Toys exist. Using them and pleasuring yourself isn’t weird or wrong. I feel like there is this massive double standard for men & women when it comes to self-pleasure. In popular culture, guys masturbating is considered “ha ha funny” (think the movie American Pie) whereas when it comes to women pleasuring themselves, it’s still looked upon as something slightly shameful. I didn’t even know vibrators existed for the longest time. When I finally worked up the nerve to go buy one in university it was like this big, secretive deal. Now that I own a whole drawer full of them I realize it’s not a big deal at all. Toys are actually really empowering. I wish more girls knew this.
With that said, if you’re going to use toys make sure they are body safe. Unfortunately, there are many toys out there made of materials that contain phthalates and other toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and serious health problems. Protect your girl parts and make sure the sex toy you are buying is labeled as “body safe and phthalate free”. I cringe to think what my first vibe was made of.
3. Sex sometimes involves weird noises, unexpected fluids and laughter. A healthy sex life involves having a sense of humor. Years ago, I was in bed with a former booty call of mine during a heat wave in Toronto. The sex was hot and our body temperatures were even hotter. We were SO sweaty that we were desperately clinging onto each other in fear that if we let go, we might actually slide off the bed. Because there was so much moisture, it created a suction cup effect. Every time we would separate our bodies, a funny farting sound would happen. The sex was so good we didn’t care. This kind of stuff happens. Bodies sometimes make strange noises. Periods arrive unexpectedly. If you’re not mature enough to deal with this & laugh it off with your partner, you’re probably not mature enough to be having sex.
4. Better awareness about condoms. Condoms come in all kinds of different textures, sizes, colors, lubricated/non-lubricated, ribbed/non-ribbed, pineapple flavor etc. Ahhh!!! It’s all very confusing!!! Not all of these condoms are going to work for you. For example, you might be allergic to latex, certain lubes or even spermicide. A sign you might be allergic to spermicide: your girl parts feel like they are on fire after coming in contact with it. True story.
5. Be careful, but don’t be terrified. I came of age amidst the height of the AIDS crisis. In grade 11, our drama teacher brought in an HIV+ AIDS activist to speak to our class. He got up and gave us the following piece of confusing advice: “Kids, don’t fuck your way through Europe like I did” while we all stared at him, open jawed. Combined with a Catholic upbringing, I spent a lot of my late teens/early 20’s having a lot of fear & guilt around sex. I wish someone had just said, “You can have a healthy, fun sex life that’s also safe”
6. Sex Ed for Gay Students. If I felt like I wasn’t getting much out of sex ed class I can’t imagine how my gay classmates must have felt. There was hardly any mention of homosexuality except “It exists. Don’t be homophobic”. No one ever brought up how gay people actually get it on. It was only last year , while watching an episode of “The Real L-Word” that I learned what “scissoring” was all about.
7. If a guy says he doesn’t want to wear a condom, dump him. Guys will go to great lengths to get out of wearing a condom. This includes telling you stuff like “I love you & would feel so much closer to you without one.” I once had a 35-year old man tell me “Condoms just feel impersonal” (and getting/spreading an STD is way more personal) Recently, I also heard another 30-something guy say that his method for protecting himself from STD’s is to “pull out” (um, I don’t think it works that way buddy). Which brings me to #8…
8. Unfortunately, it’s likely some of the people you will sleep with will be morons. Until proven otherwise, assume everyone is as clueless as the guys I mentioned above & take your health into your own hands. Wrap. It. Up. Play safe.
9. Sex often comes with these messy things called FEEEEELINGS. In high school we were told “wait until you’re in a relationship or married” but life doesn’t always happen that way. When I was 18 I started having a slightly scandalous affair with a much older man. The first time we slept together, he came over, we had sex & then he went home 5 minutes later. Nothing could have prepared me for the sense of emptiness I felt after my first casual sex experience. As much as I tried to front like I was all tough & cool when it came to sex back then, the truth was I got attached to people after I slept with them. When those feelings weren’t reciprocated it hurt.
10. Whatever you’re into is OK. Do you want to be spanked? Does porn turn you on? Are you into guys and girls? As long as it’s consensual and no one is getting hurt, whatever you’re into is totally OK. Except maybe clown porn. That’s kind of weird.
What do you wish you had learned in Sex Ed?
*This post was sponsored by Eden Fantasys who kindly sent me a gift certificate in exchange for my over-sharing. As always, all opinions and sordid tidbits are my own.