Why I tell my young daughters that sex is fun

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

When I heard Sex Education star Aimee Lou Wood talk about the way that sex was taught in her high school I suffered a bout of dizzying deja vu. 

The British actor, who plays Aimee in the popular Netflix show, says that topics such as pleasure and masturbation were totally left out. "I wish I knew it was normal to want sex for pleasure, and not just to make babies," she told BBC Radio One's Newsbeat

Lou Wood went on to admit that she used to feel like a "weirdo" for wanting to masturbate. "I thought it was a boy thing," she added. 

She is far from alone in feeling this way. A 2016 survey found that three-quarters of young women in Australia believe that sex education left them unprepared for sex and dealing with relationships. Only seven per cent of those surveyed had received Sex Ed that included pleasure. 

Sex Ed at my high school was woefully inadequate. Everyone squirmed with embarrassment while our awkward teacher put a condom on a banana. We looked at diagrams of make and female genitalia and listened (in horror) to all the diseases that we would get (would, not could) if we had sex with multiple partners. 

Masturbation didn't come up at all. And neither did pleasure. 

We all knew that there was more to sex than making babies. But that key messages, hey girls, sex is meant to feel good, was completely missing. In the absence of that message, many of us walked away thinking that our role in sex was a sort of supporting role to the main act – the male orgasm. 

It wasn't just school that glossed over the pleasure side of sex. Although my parents were open in answering questions, the "sex talk" boiled down to "the man puts his penis in the woman's vagina." I was one of those kids that thought my parents had only ever done it twice. 

Of course, movies and TV shows helped to show sex in a more positive light. We could see women enjoying sex – it definitely wasn't a case of "lie back and think of England." 

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But it took me a very long time to discover that women are equally entitled to pleasure. For me, that meant learning to speak up when things weren't working for me and be explicit about what I liked and wanted in bed. 

Now as a mum of primary school aged daughters I am mindful that the things I tell them about sex and masturbation now could have a lifelong influence on the way that they experience sexual pleasure. 

And that's why I try to be as as honest with them about sex as I can. 

They're kids, so we're not sitting down and having detailed conversations about sex. But whenever it comes up, I remind them that grown ups don't just have sex to make babies, they have sex because it feels good. 

It's a minor thing – but I hope that planting this tiny seed in their minds will give them a positive foundation for the Sex Ed that will follow in the teen years.

The writer has chosen to remain anonymous to protect her daughters' privacy.