It’s increasingly important to challenge one of our most
fundamental beliefs about adolescent sexual activity.
That it causes problems, especially for
young women and ought to be prevented.
It’s the failure to recognize the reality of female
sexual desire that is at the heart of the “problem.”
Girls feel sexual desire. Simply asserting that
would be revolutionary. We should allow girls
to explain their sexuality from their own
perspectives: how they deny it, assert it,
are cut off from it, embrace it.
We need to reach a more honest
understanding of female adolescence.
Listening to and appreciating the depth of girls’ desire
–complex, powerful, sometimes pleasure-seeking,
sometimes afraid–is revolutionary.
It’s rare there’s a national debate in which
public opinion and social science are so clearly
on the same (and losing) side.
Eighty percent of parents want comprehensive
sexuality education in schools.
Most social science points to the positive impact
of full sexuality education on public health and f
amily and community well being.
And yet a relatively small band of ideologues
prevails over the real wishes of the public.
This Should Help
Laci Green’s Guide To Orgasm video on YouTube has, to date,
over 2 million views. It’s a rapid-fire, illustrated
romp through the female anatomy and the sexual-response
cycle, with pauses to suggest what feels good – and bad.
Green, a sex education blogger, is one of a new wave of
young female trailblazers using social media to shake
up the way the subject is delivered to an eager audience
of women aged between 15 and 30.
The 26-year-old sexual rights activist first set up a blog
as a teenager, tackling everything from consent and gender
identity to achieving satisfying orgasms, because she was
incensed by the misogyny in the strict Mormon community
in which she lived in Utah.
‘I realised that the only sex education most teenagers
were getting was the strict “no sex before marriage”
messages delivered by the church.’
Channels have stepped up to fill the gap online, particularly
in America where teachers are encouraged to err on the
fear-mongering side when it comes to sex education.
Green’s content, like that of other ‘sex-ed’ bloggers,
is also sex-positive, with a deeply feminist message.
It’s clean, clear, upbeat and inclusive, but also
unapologetic about including graphic details.
Some videos like Wanna Have Sex?, about the importance
of consent, had 3 million views and begin with the warm,
sisterly intro of ‘Hi babes…’
Going on to spell out that sexual coercion is
often subtle: ‘pressure, alcohol… pushing yourself
on someone after they’ve said no’.
However, the video is anything but dry. Rather it’s all
fast edits and high energy, with Snapchat-style scrawl
across the screen to hammer home key points.
Kelly’s site has forums on topics ranging from Weird
Vagina Noises to Cumming For Girls.
It also has its own Instagram feed (@birds.bees) with
daily no-holds-barred information.
One image is of a hand cupping menstrual blood with
a caption explaining that period blood is sterile
and that sex can help relieve period cramps.
In another, a finger with a snake wrapped around it twice
is used to illustrate the fact that there are two anal
sphincters and both need to be relaxed before anal
sex can be comfortable.
‘My main aim is to build people’s self-esteem, create
a safe place online for them to be themselves and
share without being attacked like I was.’
Being shot down for her approach is something
Green, like many of the other girls, is familiar with.
Her full-on method has been criticised by mainstream media
and trolls, while one case of cyber-bullying was so extreme
that the police got involved and her Tumblr account was deleted.
‘Performance anxiety is a huge problem as a
result of porn culture,’ she says.
‘A lot of people suffer in silence. They think
they’re the only ones who look or feel a certain way.
My channel is all about shouting
that they are fine and normal.’