Sex, girls, books: What are books teaching our girls about sex?
Peggy Orenstein wrote everything you need to know about sex and our girls. Her book Girls &Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape is the book I was born to write. In her work, she surveyed young women and what they believe about their own sexuality. What she found is commonplace and astonishing in the same breath. Get this: she found young women are more likely to judge a sexual encounter by the pleasure of their partner, while young men are more likely to judge an experience based on their own orgasm.
Yeah. You read it right. The women Peggy Orenstein interviews for her book care about their partner’s orgasm more than their own. That’s amazing news for women into women, but males care less about their partner’s orgasm so hetero women are left out to dry (literally and figuratively).
Why is this?
Let’s think about it for a minute. In high school sex ed classes, teen girls are taught about their periods and reproduction. Their clitoris is totally invisible on an educational level because it is not necessary for making babies. If we tell kids sex is bad, they won’t explore and experiment sexually. Because historically, kids what they are told to do. Still we ignore sexual pleasure as if we are still pretending we only have sex to repopulate the earth after the great flood of Noah. By ignoring the entire concept of pleasure we are leaving young women to base their sexual experience on society’s idea of gender roles, which as we know, is bullshit.
So, can we admit one reason we have sex is because its fun?
If we can accept they are not being taught about sex, what do they believe about sex? According to Orenstein’s interviews, many believe and accept the following:
- Oral sex is not sex (or a big deal).
- Sexual pleasure is for males (IE Painful anal sex=okay, because he likes it).
- Unsatisfying sex is painful, degrading and depressing.
Yeah. Process that for a minute.
Where do girls get these ideas?
If we’re not teaching real sex at school, where are young women getting these beliefs from? Stephanie Meyers didn’t write any details into the sex scenes between Edward and Bella, which may be good news, considering Bella woke up bruised and sore after each tryst. Christian and Anastasia in the Grey series have sex that is all about him, so much so that she has to sign a contract agreeing to do what he wants, which doesn’t support the notion of equality in sexual pleasure and exploration one tiny bit, but teens usually turn to more immediate sources to answer their questions.
According to Orenstein, young women and men are getting their ideas about sex from porn. Because mom and dad rarely have conversations about sexual exploration with their children, they are turning to misogynistic, degrading, male-serving media outlets for education. Porn, music videos, celebrity sex tapes and the rest of the media are perpetuating the idea a woman’s sexuality exists for the benefit of men. Turning to porn would not be so bad if these sources created a two-sided dialog about sex. Instead porn teaches young men they can just ‘hammer away’ and please their partner and women accept that because they are there to please their partner.
Are you cool with this?
I understand it is hard enough to cope with the idea of your child having sex. I think it is worse to think about your daughter giving some guy a blowjob to boost her social status or because she doesn’t want to be raped. According to several interviews in Orenstein’s book, that happens IN HIGH SCHOOL. I hate the idea of a young woman having painful or uncomfortable sex because music teaches her to ‘take dick’ (I tried not to vomit when I typed that, I swear). This is why we need to accept that young people are having sex, so we can teach them sex is not just for men. Sex is for women, too, and our young women can start their own sexploration instead of their boyfriend’s.
I think it is time we talk to our girls about pleasurable sex and encourage sexual exploration of their own bodies. Since they are having sex, let’s teach them a better way to do it. Let’s help them find out what they like, so they can be confident in sex, and demand what they want. Don’t let them turn to porn, let them turn to us, so we can teach them how to avoid negative situations and stand up for what THEY want. Talk to your daughter so we can create engaging dialog for young women to find their own sexual pleasure.
Sorry to bust bubbles today.
I tried to be mindful.