Some brainstorming as to what principles might guide a radical sex education collective. Write your own in the comments.
- Sex ed that is considerate of everyone
This means acknowledging the range of sexualities, sexual practices, and sexual relationships and how they’re shaped by and interact with people’s bodies and various gender, racial, and ethnic identities, religious + political beliefs, and familial + life circumstances. It also means that each individual educator recognizes their limited personal experience, if not academic knowledge, and admits when they are not best equipped to advise on a topic.
2. Sex ed that prizes accessibility
This includes not engaging in any ‘-isms’ or ‘-phobias’ that would make content hostile to a diverse audience, especially those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, or asexual; gender non-conforming; trans; intersex; fat; disabled, differently abled, mentally ill, or neuroatypical; older or younger; People of Color; those who practice Judaism, Islam, or non Abrahamic religions; and those who are undocumented, colonized, criminalized, or incarcerated. It also includes accessible options for people with disabilities and using language that most people can understand.
- Sex ed that prioritizes bodily autonomy and recognizes the distinctions between agency and consent.
- Sex ed that discusses violence, ranging from individual violations of sexual consent to structural and institutional violations of bodily integrity
These discussions should include defining violence, addressing its underlying causes, discussing its impacts on sexuality (particularly the sexuality of survivors), teaching people how not to abuse others, helping people feel safe, helping survivors/victims to heal sexually and strategizing about how to resist structural violence. It does not include victim-blaming or sexual shaming of survivors whose sexuality has been altered by abuse.
- Sex ed that also includes talking about reproductive rights and other sexual health issues
Reproductive rights include access to birth control and abortion as well as reproductive assistance technologies and the right to be free from reproductive coercion and sterilization, especially for disabled women, women of color, im/migrant women, and trans women.
- Sex ed that is non-pathologizing
This means distinguishing between what is ‘unhealthy’, ‘harmful’ and ‘negative’.
- Sex ed that is pleasure-positive, and that includes pleasure in all its forms
Sex is not merely about procreation but also about pleasure, and pleasure can look very different for different people.
- Sex ed that is critical of oppressive social and cultural institutions and the actions that uphold them, but not the kinks that oppression often produces
- Sex ed that recognizes the validity of sex work, and considers it primarily through a labor lens instead of a consumerist lens
- Sex ed that is not focused on consumerism at all, really.
Sex ed that doesn’t focus on sex toys, sex therapies, or other sexual services or products but does recommend them when appropriate.
- Sex ed that is focused on the knowledge of all things relating to sex and sexuality, including the gendered and racialized ways these meanings are constructed.
Sex ed that conveys this knowledge and conveys the tools for how to interpret communicate and accept it. Sex ed that doesn’t promise empowerment but does increase access to resources that may be empowering.
- Sex ed taught by educators in a worker’s collective that prioritizes people who a) have lived experiences of sex and sexuality that are not reflected in academic knowledge production and b) have been criminalized and economically disenfranchised because of these experiences, particularly people who have traded sex, trans women, and queer/ gender nonconforming people of color