Tag Archives: fear driven sex ed

Why We Should Stop Using Fruits & Veg in SexEd

The banana (or cucumber) penis prop in sex education has got to go. I think it’s an outdated euphemism that helps adults (not young people) feel more comfortable talking about sexuality. Shyfully skirting topics only reinforces the mechanisms of shame around sex. It creates an environment in which certain question can’t be addressed. Hence ignorance perpetuates. At it’s core, the banana is a symbol of non-pragmatic, fear-based sex education.

Character 'Jonah Takalua' from Summer Heights High getting schooled in sex "practicalities".

Character ‘Jonah Takalua’ from Summer Heights High getting schooled in sex “practicalities”.

Like so many Americans, my sex education in high school was minimal. It was covered only once in the entire four years during a single, out-of-the-blue gym class. Topics were rushed and general. Looking back, I realize how heterocentric and cis-genedered sex ed was simply by the way information was presented and what was intentionally absent. How to use a condom, however, is the most vivid lesson I remember.

Us 14 – 15 year old boys and girls were instructed to sit on the basketball court floor and watch our gym teacher (a bleach-blond nutritionist who always wore L.L. Bean fleeces) pull out a single condom and banana from her canvas sports bag. “Now, who will volunteer to help me put this on?” She cheerfully asked us.

Of course, no one raised their hand so she picked the student who was talking under his breath to another student. “Brad, come on up and show the class how to use a condom.”

This was discipline.

Brad stood in front of the class with a grin and demonstrated how to open the condom wrapper. He handed the wrapper to the teacher in exchange for the banana. Then holding fruit in one hand and latex in the other, he placed the condom over the top and vigorously struggled to pull it down the, um, shaft.

“No no no!” blurted the gym teacher. “You’re skipping a very important step. You must make sure not to trap air in the top hat.”

Top hat?

Brad struggled trying to simultaneously pitch the tip and roll the condom down one-handedly. “Here, let me help you.” The teacher reached for the banana’s shaft and said, “You hold the hat while I roll,” and started to inch down the condom.

The awkwardness and humor of it all distracted me from actually understanding how to put on a condom. If anything, it seemed far more complicated because it required more than two hands.

How about suggesting to practice by one’s self? To masturbate with a condom? Or discuss ways partners can put condoms on together? Or ways to negotiate condom use? Or the variety of condom options that are out there?

Practical, matter of fact approaches are much more effective at equipping young people to make informed choices.

I think a penis or dildo model should be used instead of these foody phallics. Moreover, a dildo is great for including information about queer safer sex and toy sharing. Condom use does not only apply to penis!

The plastic penis prop by Justin Hancock of Bish Training is a stellar example of condom instructions for the real world.

Penis models are so less awkward.

Penis models are so less awkward.

Watch Bish Training’s condom use here.

How were you taught condom usage? What props were featured in your sex education (if any!)?

A Most Flattering Gesture

In my experience, no matter how far away condoms might be from your bed, or how much your partner might resist, they will appear with the right amount of insistence. I’ve witnessed many a human’s compliance to the condom rule, even when it meant traveling miles inclement weather naked.

Paranoia isn’t good for anybody, except when it comes to your sex life

I feel like I’m a testament to this fact; in the many years I’ve been having sex with numerous different partners, I’ve managed to stay STI free. I attribute this entirely to the fear-of-God that was instilled in me as a child in the 90’s.

Fear-driven sex ed

Yeah. Growing up during the AIDS epidemic meant the incantation of “safe sex” continuously echoing in your head as it was the key to (literally) staying alive. Once I came into my adulthood and starting having sex, I never went without a love glove. How could I ignore the condom monocle donned by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes? Hello– that stood for something.

TLC in the 1990's © Clemens Rikken / Sunshine / RetnaUK Image found on http://oneearcovered.tumblr.com/

TLC in the 1990’s © Clemens Rikken / Sunshine / RetnaUK Image found on http://oneearcovered.tumblr.com/

And there was no way the story of Magic Johnson’s carelessness could lead to other Johnsons infecting me — venereally. So, it’s been my deep-rooted paranoia coupled with my negative interest in ever getting pregnant, that has brought condoms onto every sexual scene I’ve ever encountered. Even when I’m on the pill. Even when it’s a monogamous relationship. I have even stuck to my latex guns in situations where there was a hottie with language barrier forcing me into one of the most bizarre game of charades I’ll probably ever have to play.

In my experience, no matter how far away condoms might be from your bed, or how much your partner might resist, they will appear with the right amount of insistence. I’ve witnessed many a human’s compliance to the condom rule, even when it meant traveling miles in inclement weather.

It was a late summer evening…

in New England and the sun was dipping behind the western treeline. Hoodies were pulled sloppily over the drunken heads of my friends to combat the chilling air. It was a last hurrah– one final party for everyone to say goodbye before they had to go back to their respective colleges. Beers were cracked, the bonfire lit.

Normally I’d be just as absorbed in the raucous laughter and over-the-top stories but that particular night I was distracted– by an overwhelming sense of lust. My loins felt as smoldery as the burning embers of the campfire. Kind of distracting. But piping hot-crotches are what happens when you’ve been silently nursing a crush on a friend for weeks.

I had known Michael for ages, but this summer felt different. He seemed grown up. Tan and muscled from gardening. Very nice indeed. I had been drooling over this new version of my friend all through July and August, convinced some days that he felt the same way. Others that he didn’t see me as anything but his kid sister.

As it turned out, I wasn’t crazy. All the tension I had been feeling, all the “vibes” I thought I was drowning in, were confirmed in a single moment. Sitting kitty-corner to me around the bonfire, Michael put his hand on my knee. Our eyes met and he smiled mischievously. It was on.

When the party moved inside, Michael grabbed my hand and led me to his bedroom at the far end of the house. We wordlessly shared drunk, slobbery kisses in the manic way two people do when they’ve been waiting too long to jump each other’s bones.

Things escalated quickly and it wasn’t long before we were in a naked tangle on his bed. He attempted to take it one step further before I stopped him.

“Dude,” I stuttered. “What about a… you know?”

“Are you sure?” He asked, obviously disappointed. The mood felt a bit broken.

“Yeah, I’m sure!” I said incredulously.

“I’ve got some in the car, but that means going through the living room…”

“And then everybody’s going to know,” I nodded in agreement. I didn’t want our roll in the hay to be the fodder for all of our friends either. “Ok, well maybe we should just do it another time.”EmilyStoryIllus-1

“No, no, no.” Michael’s mind seemed to be working frantically now. Condom = penis in vagina. “I’ll be right back.”

EmilyStoryIllus-2With the agility of a cat, he quickly leapt up onto windowsill, popped out the screen and dashed out into the night. As I watched his bare ass glisten in the moonlight, I couldn’t help but smile.

EmilyStoryIllus-3Nothing makes you feel quite as desired as someone who’s willing to run naked through the woods to get a condom.

Condom monologues are independent personal stories. The opinions shared are the writer’s own.