Meta Thoughts on Sex Education

One of the things I would absolutely love to happen in my life is to become a sex educator in a full-time, professional capacity.

I mentioned this to a coworker the other day and she responded “oh!  me too.”  Another coworker agreed.  When I asked what they were interested in, specifically, Coworker A mentioned AIDS prevention, and Coworker B talked about reproductive rights in the developing world.  Both valid career paths, both related to sex education, but once they said that I felt a little nervous, since of course my interest in sex education has to do with de-stigmatizing sexuality and talking, point-blank and down and dirty, about sex.

When we talk about “sex education,” a lot of the time we are talking about things like disease prevention.  This is a valid goal, but I have to wholeheartedly agree with Cara Kulwicki’s conception of real sex education. In that formulation, any discussion of sex education is incomplete without acknowledging sexual pleasure.

Thinking about sex education, and what I’d like to achieve as a sex educator, and what I get out of the sex education provided by others, I came up with three rough categories of sex education.  These are based more on the demands of the audience than what’s being supplied, and so one form of education can easily meet multiple demands, but it’s one way of thinking about what’s out there.

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Are Some Sexual Positions Inherently Demeaning?

There was a mention in the book I’m reading about Greek vase paintings, and a particular image of a woman performing fellatio on a man while another man penetrates her from behind, possibly anally, with a hand on her hair.  In the book, this is used as an illustration of how particular demeaning sexual positions were available only with particular classes of women in Ancient Greece.  I don’t doubt that this was the case in Greece, as everything I’ve come across in my studies of Greek and Roman sexuality (admittedly, that was a while ago) suggested that sexual relationships were heavily regimented based on the positions of the partners.  However, it got me thinking about that particular position in modern parlance, and the meanings ascribed to it.

I’ve seen a moderate amount of pornography in my lifetime, so I’m no expert, but what I have seen of this configuration (one partner fucking from the rear, another receiving fellatio) in porn tends to fall under a particular formula that does suggest at least some level of shame inherent to the position.  In heterosexual porn, I’ve seen it used with two men and a woman where either the men are using explicitly humiliating language to demean the woman during the act, or alternatively the men seem to be using the woman as a vessel for their desire for each other (basically ignoring her).  In gay male porn, I’ve seen it mostly in a gang-bang situation, where the bottom is portrayed as particularly eager but there’s still an implication that he’s a slut and there’s some inherent meaning to the position.

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