Why talking about sexual pleasure is important
Bhargavi explores how the lack of inclusive sex education has impacted experiences of sexual pleasure.
Written by Bhargavi Magadi
Voices - Opinion
Young people share their point of view.
Our world considers sex a secret and, for some, a shameful act. Schools usually teach either as little about sex as possible or as much about the dangers of sex as possible. Many people learn inaccurate things about sex and sexual pleasure from porn or from manipulative people who take advantage of their inexperience. In such a world, it’s no wonder that sexual pleasure is seen as inherently negative.
However, if we were to discuss sex more openly, we’d come to realise that sex is a positive and enjoyable act if it’s safe, healthy, and comfortable for everyone involved. Here are my reasons why talking about sex is important.
Avoiding misinformation about sexual pleasure
Most, if not all of the horror stories you may have heard about sex probably happened because someone didn’t know everything they needed to know about sex. People need to know about sex—from how it should feel to the methods of preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
For example, many women may grow up without knowing what sex should be like and find their first time underwhelming because it was painful. It isn’t painful if it’s done right, but people aren’t usually made aware of the differences between genders when it comes to sex. This leads to a lifetime of people with vaginas having sex only to fulfil their partner’s wishes, and not to enjoy it.
Talking about sex allows people to feel safe and comfortable with any related choices they make because they have the correct information at hand. For some, sex is a monumental and affectionate act that requires a level of intimacy that you can’t expect someone to go into without being equipped with the right information.
Increased awareness for LGBTI+ Community
While there’s even a scarcity of communication when it comes to heterosexual cisgender sex, it seems like LGBTI+ people really have next to no representation or information available to them.
I remember going to a school sexual education workshop, where the speaker discussed different types of contraception and which ones work best. She said, “the best way to avoid STIs is through a condom.” If you are a lesbian, you may spot a problem with that immediately. Someone asked the speaker what they were supposed to do if they didn’t have a penis, and their answer was silence.
Unfortunately, even many trained experts don’t know much about LGBTI+ sex, which leaves them in a precarious position. Furthermore, sexual education programmes tend to omit asexuality entirely.
We need to talk about all types of sex and sexual pleasure, not just heterosexual cisgender sex. We should also discuss the spectrum of asexuality. People can want intimacy and be asexual, and people can be allosexual while not wanting to have sex.
Someone who is allosexual experiences sexual attraction to other people, and they can be homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or heterosexual. It is the linguistic opposite of “asexual”. Asexual is an umbrella term used for individuals who do not experience or experience a very low level of sexual desire.
If such topics are swept under the rug, people can be too afraid to reach out and explore their sexuality and identity.
Sexual pleasure is not lust
People may see sex as a superficial or lustful act, but it can be a statement of love and commitment. Sexual pleasure is an important part of romantic relationships as it is a way to learn about each other and express devotion and desire.
Talking about sex with your partner is vital, as you need to establish boundaries and understand each other’s needs and wants. In this way, sex becomes something more than just the action; it becomes an expression of trust and vulnerability.
That is not to say that sex needs to happen in a serious and committed relationship. As long as everyone can give enthusiastic, ongoing consent, sex is also a way to enjoy yourself and release stress. There’s no need to consider it sinful or taboo, as it’s simply a natural part of life.
Sex is a normal and pleasurable activity, but it can come with negative consequences if people don’t talk about it. We should also strive to create an Ireland where people understand consent and safe sex, respect boundaries, learn about each other’s preferences and feel empowered to make their own decisions regarding sex and sexual pleasure.