Sexuality / Violence

Even as We Face Sexual Violence, Young (and Not So Young People) Still Need To Know Some Things Before Oral Sex

In November I posted this piece about “6 Things African Boys (and Grown Men) Need to Embrace About Masturbation”. The nub of the post was this video lesson from Gurl.com presented by presented by Cheyenne, who says she is from outside Los Angeles in the United States and has Mexican, Cuban and White American ancestry. I said, we forgive her, but we can introduce her to some boys from Africa. No, I didn’t say that, but I thought it. What I should also have said was that many African girls (and women) possibly will find it useful to see some of her energetic and unafraid way she talks about masturbation. The video are meant to empower girls after all – and women too, if they happen to need sex education.

Below is another video on sexuality I propose you watch. It’s also from the teen site Gurl.com. It’s a proposal, this. Take it. Don’t. It’s up to you. And you may already know everything there is to know. Or find sex talk boring. Or you may start thinking that this is a thinly disguised sex ed site for African men and boys – and why not? We plan to post many more things on sexuality, but I am afraid it is not just a blog on sex education.

Still why do I feel it’s a good idea to talk about sex in public? Why, when Pumla Dineo Gqola, one of the leading South African feminist scholars writes so powerfully on rape culture, the female fear factory, patriarchy and gender politics in that country, would one think all we need is sex education?

Especially in the face of high levels of rape and other forms of sexual violence, it is a good to talk critically but affirmatively about sexuality.

Yet sexuality education is certainly not all we need. We need education about rape myths and about gender power. We can use education about patriarchal women and violent masculinities, and abusive women and patriarchal men, benevolent or otherwise. What about egalitarian parenting and the rights of children – that is also a clear need from where I sit.

Changing societies will also take teachers, priests and imams who are sexually unrepressed and fearless to answer without prejudice the questions girls might have about bodies, boyfriends, girlfriends, gender-bending, and boys about boyfriends, girlfriends, refusing violence, and their bodies.

We have a major problem of sexual and gender based violence, absolutely, (and many other social problems that are not unconnected to violence). But we also need to remember that our lives are not only ruled by violence. I am not going to say life without cunnilingus or fellatio oral sex is violence, but it may be an indication of an unhappy existence.

Young people (and actually not so young people) need progressive sex education in many countries in Africa. However, that kind of good sex education is not happening in many families, schools, on television, in movies, sports clubs, churches, mosques, or temples. And you would think places of leisure are the right place to leisurely learn and teach about sex as playful and liberating, but that kind of progressive sex education is not, as far as I know, happening in taverns, shebeens, sports bars, night clubs.

Just so we are clear, by good sex education I mean gender transformative, sex-positive sex education. Gender transformative education points to teaching and learning that is directed towards transforming gender relations where women are oppressed by men and changing how we do gender. Sex positive sexuality education means education that regards sex as positive, pleasurable,  fun, healthy, something you can do alone, with another person or in groups, anywhere, anytime, something life affirming.

Gender-transformative sex-positive sexuality education undoes lesson from church, mosque, parents or teachers whose main lesson is that sex outside of marriage is step closer to burning in hell and being damned for your sins.

Say no to bad sex. Sex ought to be playful, not a chore, something you do to satisfy a very basic animal desire, and, again, affirming. Get good education then.

Let me know how you found the oral sex education lesson.

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