Sex (Re)Education: Do Girls Get Horny?

One myth that prevails even in more “comprehensive” sex education programs is that teen boys are sex obsessed, and teen girls are more wrapped up in their “emotions”. This type of sentiment is reflected, for instance, in the types of messages we send teens about relationships. A lot of sex education programs perpetuate the stereotype that even when girls are interested in sex, it’s because they’re in “love”. This story, for instance, talks about how in a 7th grade class one girl was taught that if she kissed with tongue and the boy she kissed dumped her, she “would never get over it” and she would never be able to take the kiss back.

The reality is teen girls are equally able to feel sexual desire as teen boys, although they might not feel that displaying this desire or speaking about it is acceptable. This is apparent in how we discuss masturbation habits of teen boys versus teen girls. Although it’s perfectly normal and common for girls to masturbate, you wouldn’t know it from the manner in which the topic is heavily avoided in high school. It’s a well know, talked about, and understood “fact” that all teen boys are jerking off on the regular.

So, do girls like having sex and have sexual desire? The resounding answer is yes. But, they often remain uncomfortable discussing this fact, or openly sharing it because of the stigma that surrounds women’s sexuality. The silence in sexual education on women’s ability to have sexual desires (and orgasms) only contributes to this stigma, and the idea that women’s sexuality is taboo. When sex educators avoid discussions of sexual desire with regards to teen girls, they contribute to perpetuating gender stereotypes that women are more “emotional” than “physical”.  These gender stereotypes also set women up as the “gatekeepers” of sexual activity, wherein boys are constantly asking girls to have sex, and it is the girl’s responsibility to constantly say “no” or talk him out of it. And lastly, this type of approach doesn’t allow any room whatsoever for queer girls or lesbian couples to understand their sexual relationships. If girls are only concerned with “emotions” than a couple that is comprised of two girls would never cross over into a sexual relationship. But, the reality is that queer women engage in and enjoy a whole lot of sexual activity, because–duh–women have the capacity to be aroused.

Silence on the sexual desire of teen girls only leads to the normalization of silence in regard to women’s sexuality across the board. It leaves women’s sexuality shrouded in unnecessary mystery, and keeps women uninformed and creates a chilling effect, leaving them feeling invalidated about their own sexual desires and realities. It’s time to acknowledge the fact that women are not any more “emotional” than their male counterparts when it comes to having sex.

Have a story about gender stereotype in your sex ed classes from high school? If so, leave them in the comments below.

Sex (Re)Education is a weekly series in which we debunk myths you learned during sex education back in grade school and high school.

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