Gone are the days when awkwardly rolling a condom down a banana and being bullied into abstinence out of fear of getting pregnant or catching a sexually transmitted infection constituted as sex ed.
In fact, Gen Zs – who are much more willing (and comfortable) to talk about sex than older generations and are at the forefront of what’s being described as Australia’s ‘contemporary sexual revolution’ – are pretty fed up with the lack of quality, inclusive comprehensive sex education.
A recent survey conducted by UK app StudentBeans into how Gen Zs feel about their sex and dating lives found 39% of users said they didn’t feel represented in the sex education they received at school, while a further one in three (33%) felt indifferent.
A staggering 87% felt sex education in schools needed to be more inclusive, with two-fifths (39%) of respondents admitting they’ve never learned about responding to pressures to have sex, contraception in non-heterosexual relationships (20%), PrEP (14%), expressing intimacy without sex (13%) or asexuality (8%).
In an Hypebae article highlighting trends sex ed should adopt in response to the survey, Gigi Fong pointed out, “Most assume the issue with sex education is female pleasure, as that is a glaring issue that affects most of the world.”
But, um, what about those who aren’t cis women?
“There are several demographics left without the tools needed to explore sexuality — let alone have orgasms, and elevate them, which the media is obsessed with.”
And according to StudentBeans, this lack of representation could be dangerous for certain minority sexual orientations.
According to social research conducted by the UK in 2021, “young people who do not receive any sex education in schools are more likely to take more sexual risks, including intercourse before the legal age of consent, unprotected sex and contraction of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), proving this lack of regulated awareness puts some children at a disadvantage to their more educated peers.”
‘My school never really mentioned anything about LGBT in sex ed – they just mentioned the risks such as AIDS and HIV and mainly portrayed it in a bad light’ said one student in the report.
And this lack of knowledge?
Well, that follows much of the LGBTQIA+ youth community into their adult life, with significant health consequences such as ‘increases in STI diagnoses in GBMSM between 2020 and 2021: diagnosis of gonorrhoea increased by 9.0%, chlamydia by 5.5%, and infectious syphilis by 2.6%.’
So with the incorporation of consent education – including education about coercion, power imbalances, and gendered stereotyping – kicking off at the beginning of the 2023 school year, isn’t making comprehensive sex education a natural next step to help shape a healthier, safer and more pleasurable future for Gen Zs?