Anti-capitalist relationships and sex education

Anti-Capitalist Relationships and Sex

How have we learnt to do sex and relationships under capitalism? What could we do differently? What would anti-capitalist relationships and sex look like?

Most of us in the world live under some kind of capitalism system. That is, “a means of organising society around private ownership of the means of production (eg factories) and built on the exploitation of workers for profit.” (from this Capitalism 101 video).

This article isn’t necessarily about trying to make you anti-capitalist but to get you to think about relationships and sex more politically.

  • Does capitalism make us do relationships and sex in a particular way?
  • Are we motivated by profit and competition in our personal lives?
  • If the main themes of RSE are about consent, kindness, and cooperation, is that useful in other aspects of our lives?
  • In what way are our desires determined by politics?
  • Who gets lots of choice and freedoms, who gets less?
  • Is there an abundance of love to go around, or only so much that we have to fight over?

Hopefully this is a gentle way of thinking a bit more about politics when you think about relationships and sex education. As you can see, it’s another one of my ‘Talk For A Minute‘ resources.

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How to do this

So I use this kind of activity in my RSE classes and it goes down really well. It’s a way of getting everyone talking about some pretty big topics with a slightly competitive element. Though of course if you were an anti-capitalist you might want to get rid of the competitive bit.

In a small group (where you have all agreed to be respectful of each other, listen to each other, not use discriminatory or oppressive language) you each pick up a card. Someone else will get their watch or their phone out and time you for a minute. In that minute you talk about what you think about the card. It could be your thoughts, your feelings, or you could talk about what other people think (coward).

Everyone else just has to sit and listen. Sometimes they will be nodding along, sometimes they might throw their hands up in the air in disgust, sometimes they might nod off. Once you’ve had your go (and are being competitive) you will be awarded marks. I think this marking system works well:

  • A point per second you speak (up to a max of 60 points).
  • Double points for every second where you were saying something interesting.
  • Points deduction for every second where you are taking the piss or not being sincere.

If you are playing in two teams you could all support each other and you could also choose to do a card between you. You could negotiate with the other team how many points you get. Of course if the other team are generous with you, you might want to be generous with them. Or not, depending on how important winning is to you.

The cards

It’s probably easier for you to just use your phones to read the cards. I’m not giving you the answers (there aren’t any right or wrong answers), but I will link to other articles on the website that you might want to read afterwards.

If you have any interesting points that you’d like to make you could leave them in the comments below. I moderate all comments, so there’s zero beef. Or you could make a video, or write a blog if you wanted. Tell me about it.

Is love a zero sum game (where if one person experiences love it means another person can't). Talk for a minute about this
Is love a zero sum game (where if one person experiences love it means another person can’t). Talk for a minute about this
what if other kinds of relationships were as important as romantic relationships? talk for a minute about this
what if other kinds of relationships were as important as romantic relationships? talk for a minute about this

You might like this article about different kinds of love and also this one about the value of doing romance in friendships.

If care and compassion are so important, why don;t carers get well paid? Talk for a minute about this
If care and compassion are so important, why don;t carers get well paid? Talk for a minute about this

Side note: I’m very very pleased with my banknote drawing.

This is one of the leading sex and relationships education websites. We need your support via Patreon or Donorbox. Just £1 a month would be amazing (if 0.1% of you did that we could employ 2 people full time).

Is finding love a competition? Talk for a minute about that.
Is finding love a competition? Talk for a minute about that.

I’ve written a lot about love and relationships and I also made this animated video called what is love that I think you might like.

Who decides who counts as a sexy looking person? Talk for a minute about this
Who decides who counts as a sexy looking person? Talk for a minute about this

This post I wrote about how to feel better about your body is killer and it’s pretty political, as well as having lots of practical tips that actually work.

Is it exploitation when one person does most of the work to keep a relationship going? Talk for a minute about this.
Is it exploitation when one person does most of the work to keep a relationship going? Talk for a minute about this.

If you want to do some work on your relationship start with my guide to relationships and then the relationships graph. PS there are plenty of anti-capitalists who suck at this.

If consent is the most important thing to you, will you ever get ahead in your career? Talk for a minute about this
If consent is the most important thing to you, will you ever get ahead in your career? Talk for a minute about this

I’ve written a ton about consent and I’ve also written a book! Can We Talk About Consent, if you can help me out by pre-ordering that would be great.

Why are there tax breaks for married couples? Talk for a minute about this
Why aren't people paid a wage to look after their family and home? Talk for a minute about this
Why aren’t people paid a wage to look after their family and home? Talk for a minute about this

Capitalism needs people, and people need to be raised and looked after. A lot of people say this is free labour. This is called social reproduction.

Is it okay to have a physical type? Talk for a minute about this.
Is it okay to have a physical type? Talk for a minute about this.

And yes, I really should also rant about sapiosexuality at some point. In the meantime, here is my article on sexualities and working out what your sexuality might be.

Why do young people need to learn self care? What are the alternatives? Talk about this for at least a minute.
Why do young people need to learn self care? What are the alternatives? Talk about this for at least a minute.

We’re all talking about it nowadays, but why? I’ve written about how to do self-care and also how to deal with stress. If you want to read more about this also check out stress and the people around us, and how the world stresses us out. I’ve got a lot to say about this but I’ll keep my finger on my lips for now.

what is solidarity? Talk for a minute about this
what is solidarity? Talk for a minute about this

I’ve written about solidarity and how to understand and use your power and privilege.

With sex, what's more important: performance or connection and intimacy. Talk for a minute about this.
With sex, what’s more important: performance or connection and intimacy. Talk for a minute about this.

You know, how to make sex last longer, or having a hard on, or having a large enough penis. Or how to have big earth shattering orgasms, or squirt.

Dating: who has the most choice?
Dating: who has the most choice? You get the hang of this by now right?

You could try my solidarity article for more about this.

Want more Sex Ed?

If you have got rubbish Sex Ed at school you could try my Teach Yourself Sex Ed course.

Are you a sex educator?

Sign up to my newsletter here. I send out newsletters really infrequently, so they’re usually pretty good! I’ve got a new resource which has an activity like this coming out soon. Also check out my Consent Teaching Pack, which has a Talk for a Minute game too.

Also I wrote a blog about anti-capitalist RSE for practitioners.

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© Justin Hancock, 2022

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Stay in touch with Bish! Get an email every time I post an article. Or follow on Twitter (I post less on Instagram and TikTok because they take down sex education content!) The rest of the article continues below.

If you’re over 18 and really into sex ed I have a podcast you might like called Culture Sex Relationships.

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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.

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