Erotic Education – A timeline

A hand writting sex education with white chalk on a black background

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We’ve been learning about sex throughout our lives, and we started learning from a very young age.  Sarah remembers, as a small child, opening her parent’s door late one night, to find a big mound in the middle of the bed, then sudden movement and urgent whispers.  She had no understanding of what she had interrupted but knew that something had happened.  She also knew that she wasn’t supposed to know. It was her first experience of her parents deliberately lying to her.

The situation isn’t made any clearer in Primary School. When ‘helpful’ school friends introduced Claire to new, whispered words that held some secret meaning that she didn’t understand.  Rather than demonstrate her ignorance, Claire feigned a comprehension she didn’t feel, in the hope that it would all become clear to her when she was older. It never seemed to. In retrospect, Claire agrees this was not an ideal strategy.

In the guise of privacy and protection, sexual education often doesn’t improve as you get older. Reliance on vague descriptions of genitalia, that in no way resembled the real thing, can produce embarrassing results. Margaret tells of failing to pronounce penis correctly, embarrassing herself in front of her entire peer group.  She had only ever seen the word in print.  It was written in the book her mother wordlessly left on her bed, given to her in the vain hope that she would understand menstruation and how to make sense of the assortment of elastic bands, pads and tampons that had also been left.

Avoiding discussions about sex, or worse, making up euphemistic terminology and providing disinformation, does not serve sexual empowerment. This can certainly impact upon their growth and development into healthy sexual beings and also directly affect their ability to derive pleasure from what nature has intended to be a very pleasurable activity.  Yes, sex is supposed to feel good. You are supposed to feel liberated, adventurous and free.  If you don’t feel these things then now is a great time to start exploring. Healthy sexuality supports healthy relationships.

Erotic education is about transforming outdated  It is also about letting go of the guilt and shame around sexual matters that you may have learned from a very young age.  Misinformation, fear and remorse may have followed you into adulthood, but with sex positive erotic education, you no longer need to suffer the far-reaching consequences these negative emotions can bring.

Creating Healthy Connections

When it comes to creating a healthy sex life, you need to start with the basics and that may mean re-learning a lot of what you know or assume about sex and relationships. Fortunately, there is an increasing number of sex positive literature made available to the public. Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are) argues everyone’s sexuality falls within the range of normal. Esther Perel (Mating in Captivity) suggests the ingredients for love are the same ingredients that extinguish eroticism. Whereas others demystify spiritual sexuality (Urban Tantra – Barbara Carellas) or sex work (Thriving in Sexwork – Lola Davina) or kink (The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage -Midori). 

How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Your Own Body

As a child, your parents, guardians and teachers taught you what every part of your body was called, except, of course, for the few that had anything to do with sex.  You learned, for example, that your arm had an elbow and your leg had a knee.  You could point to them and say what they were.  Quite possibly, you learned how to count objects using particularly useful digits called fingers and thumbs.  At school, you may have learned the names and functions of parts of your eyes and the difference between your iris, your pupil and your cornea. You also were taught hygiene, learning how to comb your hair, brush your teeth and wash your face and hands.  Your parents spent many hours ensuring you learned these fundamental tasks to keep yourself clean and healthy, but most of them neglected to mention the ‘bits down below’.  Few of us, particularly women, were properly taught sexual hygiene, with many of us having to piece together the too subtle messages we received sporty women wearing white pants in TV commercials.

The parts of your body that bore any relationship to sex were off limits.  We referred to those sexual body parts using childish euphemisms that we continue to use well into adulthood and old age. Things like ‘pee pee’ or ‘winkie’ or ‘hoo-hah’ may seem cute when uttered by toddlers, it’s an entirely different impression when mentioned by thirty-somethings and when mentioned by old age pensioners.  Why are we ashamed to call our body parts their rightful names?  Doesn’t this set us up for a flawed relationship with those parts from the offset?

Know What Normal Is

Chances are you were not taught that sexuality is a normal topic of conversation.  In fact, it’s very likely that as a subject up for discussion, it was completely off-limits at all times.  If this is the case, how then can you begin to know what constitutes normal, healthy sexual behaviour and its close cousin, abnormal, unhealthy sexual behaviour?  In fact, what does ‘normal’ even mean? Without open discourse, our view of sexuality becomes skewed.  Lacking clear definitions and guidelines, we become caught up in our own ignorance and fear.  Am I normal?  Is this particular act deviant?  You won’t know until you have the discussion.

Playing By The Rules 

How many of us know “The Rules” surrounding sexual behaviour? Probably no-one. Our cultures, age, religion, and personal agreements all impact and diversify these rules, which of course can make things complicated when another person is added to the mix. We can discern the clear boundaries of a tennis court and know we have to keep our balls within the lines in order to score.  You would think it not a large leap to apply this same logic to sexual matters, but alas, this is not the case. Why?  Perhaps the answer lies in our unwillingness to openly discuss sexual matters.

As long as we keep from having these conversations, the lines remain unclear between what is acceptable sexual behaviour and what constitutes aberrant or even abhorrent behaviour.   On a global level, different cultures have varying ways of viewing sexual behaviour.  In some cultures, it is acceptable to genitally circumcise children, other cultures find this horrific.  Some cultures believe that women are created to do men’s bidding, particularly in sexual matters, and this is re-enforced by the notion that in many of these cultures, women do not have rights to their own bodies.  It is clear then, that humans can and have devised rules of sexual behaviour, the problem stems from the creators of these rules and the outcomes they wish to attain.

If you intend to play the game, you need to know the rules and play by them.  In sport, if one team is unfairly favoured over another because of the rules of the game, then the logical result should be a change of rules to address the imbalance.  This has yet to extend to the bedroom. However, we humans are adaptive creatures, so learning how to create supportive sexual rules of engagemnt aka erotic agreements is doable (and even fun!).

On a personal level, there is no reason at all why you should not create your own personal set of rules for playing whatever games you might wish to indulge in.  Communication is key, but this is traditionally something we struggle to accomplish, after all, it’s hard to have a serious conversation about sex when you’re referring to your vulva or vagina as your ‘hoo-hah’ and his penis as his ‘little winkie’.

Knowing and feeling in agreement with a rule relieves you of a huge burden, automatically reducing anxiety and stress. It provides a safe space to play in.

The first step is understanding your own boundaries.

The second is communicating your boundary and listening to theirs.

The final step is to start collaborating together to create a consensual agreement.

We’ve come a long way…

As a civilisation, we’ve managed to keep ourselves from extinction, so clearly, we don’t seem to have too many issues with basic reproduction, but there’s still a long road ahead when it comes to the intricacies of human relationships and sexual connections.

The conversation is only just starting and up until now, the voices have been predominantly baritone.  Women have consistently failed to make their wishes clear, preferring to accede to the requirements of their bigger, stronger mates.  This works, if all you are attempting to do is continue the species.  If your intention is to find the most pleasure through sexual encounters, then your methodology needs more finesse.  The trouble is, many of us don’t know how to make our wishes clear in language that our partners can understand and accept.  We fear the repercussions of rocking the boat, preferring instead to submit to the tedium and pain of perfunctory sex, which only aids resentment and diminished relations. This is not to hate on men, but rather to highlight the unhealthy patterns women have run for centuries in order to stay “safe”.

We can be empowered…

and safe.

We deserve more… and our partners deserve more.


We need to learn to ask for it.

Erotic Education holds the key.  It opens the conversation with a frank and honest assessment of where you are now and offers insights into how you can change and grow into the luminous sexual being you know you have hiding inside yourself.  Bring her out to play.

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