Let's talk about sex baby, let's talk about you and me, let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let's talk about sex (a little bit, a little bit), let's talk about sex (a little bit, a little bit) - (obviously it won't be you and me, however, if you are a single guy that's over the age of twenty, please feel free to drop me a little DM on Twitter or Instagram, or a cheeky little email if you prefer x).
Enough of that, let's REALLY talk about sex. I'm not sure how it works in other countries, but in the UK we receive sex education in year 6 and again in year 9 (or, I did at the least, but I know some people who NEVER received sex education, so I guess it may depend on which school you went to). Thinking back to my own sex education, the only things I can remember being taught are about how a MARRIED man and woman (obviously this definitely isn't always the case) have sex in order to have a baby (again, definitely not always the case), the different parts of a vagina and penis, and how to put a condom on a penis (but obviously an actual penis wasn't used, we genuinely used an actual dildo). So much was missed out such as contraception, abortion, the morning after pill, consent, and STDs, just to name a few. I am no sexpert (or Otis Milburn), but I thought that today I would try and talk about some of the things I have learnt/know about sex that I wasn't taught in sex education.
Some of the types of contraception include diaphragms, the pill, condoms, contraceptive implant, contraceptive injection, contraceptive patch, female condoms, IUD, IUS, natural family planning, and the vaginal ring. The only type of contraception I was taught about out of this list was condoms, and just the ones the man wears, I never heard of female condoms until about three years ago. First and foremost, I feel that as a woman, we should have been taught about the pill as that seems to be the most common form. However, it is also important to talk about the other forms of contraception, especially the ones that don't involve hormones, such as the diaphragm, as I don't particularly want to be putting random hormones in my body and would much rather use non-hormonal contraception. I am currently not on any form of contraception as I don't currently have a boyfriend (see the first paragraph) and am not having sex, so there really is no point. However, when I have had sex in the past, a condom has always been used. If you want to learn more about the types of contraception, you can look at this guide and find the right type of contraception to you (I think this is a useful thing to look at before going to talk to your GP).
I feel I should also point out with this that it is 100% YOUR CHOICE when it comes to using contraception. You should always use a condom, particularly if you are having sex with a new partner or a one-night stand, to both prevent pregnancy and to stop you from getting an STD or STI. Speaking from a woman's perspective, if you don't want to take contraception then that's perfectly fine, as a lot of them involve putting hormones into your body that have a whole host of different side effects. Of course, there are other types of contraception that don't involve putting hormones into your body, such as a diaphragm, but it is completely your choice and you shouldn't let someone else dictate whether you should or shouldn't be on any contraception.
Abortion *TRIGGER WARNING*
If you find this topic triggering, then please feel free to skip over this part. If you require help and support and just want someone to talk to, you can access counselling via Marie Stropes UK (if you live outside the UK and are unsure of where to get support, please feel free to message me and I will be more than happy to find the support you need).
I don't remember ever being taught about abortion in school, but regardless of whether I was or not, I know I learnt more about it through what I have seen on social media and in the news. For those of you who may not know, abortion occurs when someone is pregnant but decides to terminate the pregnancy. People's views on abortion are often split into pro-life and pro-choice. Pro-life is where people believe that you should carry the pregnancy to full term and in many countries, abortion is still illegal. Pro-choice is where people believe you should have the choice of whether to carry the pregnancy to full term or to have an abortion. I am pro-choice as I believe that people should have the choice of whether to continue with the pregnancy or not and that there are many reasons why someone may want to have an abortion and they should be able to do so without feeling like they are being judged for it. I am by no means qualified to be talking about abortion, but if you want/need to find out more information on this topic, you can do so here.
The Morning After Pill
This is something I wasn't taught about in school and have very little clue on, so if you want to find out more, you can take a look at the information on the NHS website.
The morning after pill is most often used when contraception wasn't used during sex and you want to ensure you do not get pregnant. The two types of morning after pill are EllaOne (as shown in the image above) and Levonelle. These need to be taken five days and three days respectively after having sex in order to prevent pregnancy. However, as with most of these things, they do have side effects and can make you get a headache, have tummy pain, or feel/be sick and may make you get your next period earlier/later or can possibly make it more painful than usual. It is important to note that if you are sick 2-3 hours after taking the morning after pill, you should go back to your GP as you may need to take another dose or may even need to be fitted with an IUD (which can also be used as emergency contraception and not just as long-term contraception, as was mentioned in the contraception section). There is absolutely no shame in having to take the morning after pill and you can take it more than once in your menstrual cycle if needed, but it is not intended as long-term contraception.
Consent *TRIGGER WARNING*
I have already spoken about consent in relationships and when having sex in general, which you can read about my personal experience here and about consensual sex in general here. I think it goes without saying that you and the other person (or people) ALWAYS need to consent before having sex or engaging in any sort of sexual activity - including kissing. Even if you have done it before, if at that moment you don't want to do something, you don't have to do it and shouldn't be forced into doing it either. Consent is sexy, not consenting but going ahead with it anyway isn't. Always make sure the other person (or people) is comfortable with what is going to happen, and if they're not then don't do it. Anything that occurs that hasn't been consented to is seen as rape and/or sexual assault.
There is also such a thing as stealthing. This is where you consent to the man wearing a condom during sex, however without your knowledge he removes the condom without your knowledge. This is considered as rape as you consented to have sex as long as he was wearing a condom and he went against that. You can find out more information about it here and please make sure you talk to someone if this has happened to you.
If you have been raped/sexually assaulted, you can contact Lifecentre on 0808 802 0808 (freephone), 07717 989 022 (textline), or via their website at lifecentre.uk.com. Please get help for this. You are not alone.
For those of you who are unsure, an STD is a Sexually Transmitted Disease and an STI is a Sexually Transmitted Infection. I was never actually taught about them at school and had to Google this, but the difference between them both is that an STD first starts as an STI, and this occurs when the sexually transmitted bacteria/virus first enters the body and begins to multiply. The STI may then turn into an STD, and this will occur when the bacteria or virus disrupts the body's normal functions and processes (State Urgent Care). Some of the most common types of STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts, genital herpes, pubic lice, and syphilis. A lot of the time, you may not have any symptoms of an STI, so it is always important that if you do have sex with a new partner (or even just your long-term partner) to get checked around every three or four months. But even more important than that is to ALWAYS WEAR A CONDOM! If you are going to have sex with someone, particularly if it is a new partner or one-night stand, and they refuse to wear a condom because they 'don't like it', then refuse to have sex with them. However, the symptoms you may experience include unusual discharge from your vagina/penis/anus, pain when peeing, lumps or skin growths around your genitals/anus, a rash, unusual vaginal bleeding, itchy genitals/anus, or blisters and sores around the genitals/anus. If you have any of these symptoms, know your partner or someone you previously had sex with has an STI or had sex without a condom/just want to make sure, please do not hesitate and go to a sex clinic. You can find out more information here on the NHS website about STIs, symptoms, and what happens when you go to the sex clinic. You can also watch E4's The Sex Clinic here, which should give you a better insight into what happens when you go to a sex clinic; as well as a more detailed discussion about STIs and having safe sex.
I'm going to do a part two to this as I'm aware that this post is getting pretty long now and I've got so many more topics surrounding sex that I want to talk to you about. I've already asked on Twitter and Instagram for some suggestions of things you would like me to talk about for part two, but if there's anything you can think of regarding things about sex you wish you had known about beforehand, such as things you feel you should have been taught in sex education, then please let me know in the comments below, dm me on social media, or send me an email.
Which of these topics covered so far were/weren't you taught about in sex education? What do you wish you had been taught?
Love Beth xx