This week’s teach yourself sex ed is on sexualities. What they are, why this applies to all of us, and how to make it easier for people to ‘be’ a sexuality.
Hiya, welcome back. Take a seat. Yes you can sit on the swivel chair. No, please don’t do that. Hey come back. Look we can do swivel chair mario kart later but we have to do this first. I know, but you’ll get me in trouble.
So this week we’re doing sexualities. Sexuality is quite a big topic because I think we probably all have one. You might have noticed that even though this course is called ‘teach yourself sex ed’ that we haven’t really talked about sex yet. Even though today is about sexualities we’re still not going to talk about sex very much. I’ll warn you before we get to the sex bit.
1. The ‘LGBT lesson’?
Sometimes in your sex ed classes (or relationships and sex education classes) you might get ‘a lesson’ on LGBT. Well this is not that lesson (though we will definitely talk about different sexualities). What might be the problem with having ‘a lesson on LGBT’ in your sex ed classes?
Go back to the first lesson in this series: review your sex education so far? What is sex defined as? Who is allowed to have sex? Is there a ‘normal’ and if so, what is that? Spend 5 or 10 minutes thinking about that.
Okay next bit.
2. What is sexuality?
Here are a couple of activities for you to learn more about sexualities.
2a Sexuality wordsearch
First of all here is a wordsearch for terms to do with gender and sexuality. You can search for them if you like. No I don’t have the answers
Next activity is to learn about sexualities (you can also do this for gender too if you like).
2b Sexuality Wallpaper
On a big piece of paper (maybe even a roll of wallpaper if you want), write down the following words (anywhere you like).
Sexuality. Asexual. Demisexual. Bi. Gay. Lesbian. Queer. Questioning. Straight. Pansexual. (it doesn’t matter what order you write them in).
Then using t h e i n t e r n e t find:
- Definitions for each one
- Useful quotes (e.g. song lyrics, poems)
- What identity is vs how we behave
- Famous people who are that sexuality
- Fictional characters who are that sexuality
- Storylines in TV, films or books that feature this sexuality
Do this however you like and get creative with it. You could put pictures, or draw. Spend as much time as you like on it but make it at least 20 minutes.
If you want to take a picture of this and would like to share it with me, tag @bishsexed in your post.
3. Your characters
Remember last week I asked you to come up with some characters? You were moving them around and thinking about what masculine and feminine means. Hey, I said swivel chair mario kart later okay. Anyway go back to that and find them.
Now I want you to think about what it means to ‘be’ a sexuality. I’ll give you a few pointers to start with but I’m not doing all the work here.
- To be able to tell people in your life what kind of person you fancy
- Finding someone to be with (sexually or just to touch)
- Holding hands with a partner in public
- Having a serious romantic relationship with someone
- Being able to go out with your friends
- To have your own family
- For your family to accept you
Note how little of this is to do with sex.
Do come up with your own list. Now back to your characters. Remember that these characters have a rich and detailed back story. Which of your characters can do these things? Who finds it easier to ‘be’ their sexuality? What stops them from being able to be their sexuality?
Remember this from part two: what helps people to be their sexuality, what stops it? Is it them, the people around them, their communities, or society?
4. Injustice and Labels
Right so I’m guessing that you can see it’s easier for some people to be their sexuality than others. You’ll probably also see that it’s pretty complicated, depending on the characters you came up with. There are lots of prejudices that some people have to deal with all the time, and others just simply not.
Sexism. Homophobia. Biphobia. Transphobia. Racism. Disablism. Ageism. Classism (and wealth inequality generally). They all have an impact on how people can do or be their sexuality and sometimes it can be very dangerous. A couple of weeks ago I did a sex education guide to It’s A Sin, which is a drama about the dangers of homophobia.
There are also more subtle, but still hugely significant, reasons that make being our sexuality difficult. How we feel about our bodies. What our family reaction might be. Now being able to access places. Our confidence and relationship to ourselves.
Go back to the characters. How can you change their life stories so that they can be their sexuality? What needs to change around them (people, places, society) to make it easier to be who they are?
Now read this about Solidarity and how this is how we can all ask what we can do to change this.
Okay that’s it. Next up is Teach Yourself Sex Ed – Relationships
Do leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to add or if you have questions. I moderate all comments before they go live. Click here to ask me a question
© Justin Hancock, 2022
Around 100,000 young people per month get their RSE from BISH. It competes with big media companies selling ads, digital platforms harvesting intimate data for profit, and the right. The only funding I get is via Patreon (and at the moment it’s not even enough for 1 day a week work), can you become a Patron today?
Buy my book from Bookshop and I earn more £ / $!
If you’re over 18 and really into sex ed I have a podcast you might like called Culture Sex Relationships.
If you want to teach about this stuff, don’t just show people a website – that’s kinda boring! Check out my very popular RSE resources at bishtraining.com
Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Find out more about Justin here