Sexplain

Sexplain

Sexplain provides RSE workshops in schools, teacher training and programmes for universities.

Their website states:

We support schools to provide age-appropriate, up-to-date & inclusive sex and relationships education programmes that are intersectional, feminist, non-binary and sex-positive. Our team of unembarrassable ‘Sexperts’ deliver workshops on porn, consent, healthy relationships and sexual pleasure.

(Emphases added) https://sexplain.org.uk/what

Sexplain is the 2018 winner of the Pamela Sheridan Award for Innovation and Best Practise in RSE and a partner with the Sex Education Forum. By September 2020, 29,477 young people had taken part in Sexplain’s workshops.

Secondary curriculum

Sexplain’s secondary curriculum for KS5 includes: “re-defining ‘sex'”, “challenging heteronormativity” and “what is ‘ethical’ porn”.

Playdough genitals

One of Sexplain’s activities involves using playdough to build genitals.

https://squishsquashsquelch.com/2018/10/28/playing-around/

Exploring sexual anatomy is also encouraged with vulva cupcakes.

Links to AGENDA

Sexplain draws on “the creative pedagogies of AGENDA” for its workshops. AGENDA is an online RSE toolkit which promotes gender theory, including gender inclusive toilets.

AGENDA - Gender Watch Bingo - gender inclusive toilets
http://agendaonline.co.uk/download-agenda/

Recommended resources

Sexplain signpost young people to Sexwise, Stonewall and Mermaids and recommend resources which include explicit content and promote gender identity theory. Two resources are highlighted below.

The Gender Unicorn

This poster portrays gender identity as being on a spectrum, rather than binary (male/female), as well as using the misleading phrase “sex assigned at birth”.

The poster can be found on the TSER website, which states:

It is important we don’t simply use “sex” because of the vagueness of the definition of sex and its place in transphobia. Chromosomes are frequently used to determine sex from prenatal karyotyping (although not as often as genitalia). Chromosomes do not determine genitalia or gender.

The TSER webpage links to an Autostraddle article which calls “biological sex” a “social construct”.

F*ck your dichotomy

This Refinery29 video presents the ideological viewpoint that it is possible to be “non-binary” (not identifying as a man or a woman).

Pornography

Sexplain are open about their permissive stance on pornography:

For some young people, viewing pornography enables sexual exploration and recognition of their sexuality. In the absence of high quality formal RSE, pornography can be a source of information about sex (28); and can be particularly important for LGBT young people (29).’ 4

‘Little is known about what people learn (positively or negatively) or the relative significance of what is learned in pornography compared to what is learned from other sources (30)…

Human sexualities are not narrow sets of behaviours which can be understood as simply good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Sex may be a site of bodily knowledge, self-exploration and transformation, and sexual practices – physical or imaginative – a place for human learning, sociability, performance and play. Engaging with pornography may be part of these processes…

(Emphases added) https://sexplain.org.uk/evidence-base

The following extract is from a 2019 article titled, Banning porn won’t work. So how can we best support young people’s digital intimacies?:

Our ‘porn lesson’ is tailored to help young people understand consent in real relationships in their own specific contexts and supports them to deal directly with questions and concerns in ways that unpack nervousness and anxiety…

Let’s give young people the educational tools to navigate sexuality rather than relying on banning technology or digital content­…

(Emphasis in original)

Sexplain’s blog includes a 2018 article, Advice from a feminist sex worker:

And there is a lack of diversity because the commercial porn industry is saturated by the same bodies dominating the content due to it being dominated by cis-gendered heteronormative men.

(Emphasis in original)

Really, the laws work against the safety of sex workers & looks to criminalise marginalised people by further making our work more dangerous. The laws in place benefit the state & the police, it allows them to unlawfully attack migrants & vulnerable people, many of whom live below the poverty line & rely on sex work for immediate survival.

There are various forms of sex work: street based prostitution, brothel & parlour work, independent escorting, stripping, porn, web cam, bdsm & kink work, etc.

“The virginity myth”

Another blog post titled ‘Why ‘virginity’ is a damaging social construct‘ ignores the risks associated with certain sex acts:

The focus on penis-in-vagina sex erases other experiences.

Contrary to what the traditional understanding of virginity would have you believe, penis-in-vagina sex is not the only way to have sex. Human beings are a glorious variety of wants, needs and preferences. Sex can mean very different things to different people. The most important thing is doing what feels right for you.

Sexplain’s definition of sex is ‘anything that makes you feel horny or aroused’. This means that sex doesn’t just have to be between a man with a penis and a woman with a vulva. It can take place between people of varying genders – the same or different to each other… Examples of sexual activities for some people include oral sex, anal sex, kissing, cuddling, massages, masturbation, and hand-play!

(Emphases added)

So maybe it’s time that we took charge and actively shaped the social construct of virginity for the better. By teaching young people that sex (and therefore virginity) means different things to different people. By acknowledging that all experiences of sex are valid. And the most important thing? That if, how and when you have sex has nothing to do with anyone else and everything to do with what’s right for you – and any sexual partner/s, of course.

(Emphasis in original)

The “virginity myth” idea is further explored in an online worksheet as part of a selection of worksheets which Sexplain provided during lockdown. The worksheets are based on the Netflix TV series Sex Education. Although the series has a viewing rating of 18, warning about this is only found at the bottom of the webpage.

A sample of Sexplain’s online worksheets based on a show rated 18.

The worksheet “The Virginity Myth” claims that virginity is “not fixed in any biological facts”:

The talk ends with this: ‘If you really want to know if a woman is a virgin or not, ask her. But how she answers that question is her choice’. This shows us that the idea of virginity is made up by society. It is not fixed in any biological facts. How someone thinks about virginity (if they do at all) is up to them. They define what is sex for them and whether using a term like ‘virgin’ is useful in their lives.

(Emphases in original)
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57dbe276f7e0abec416bc9bb/t/5e9dcdc3f081ae005f3bbd2e/1587400132419/The+Virginty+Myth+.pdf
Sex isn't just penis in vagina (Sexplain)

Questions in the worksheet include:

Does the idea of virginity as we know it assume heteronormativity?

What language would be more useful for individuals when talking about what sexual activity they have done and would like to do? E.G. ‘Do you want to try touching my penis with your mouth?’

The worksheet directs the pupil to a video titled The LGBTQ+ Sex Talk, which states:

Not all women have vaginas, and not all men have penises… Sex is something you are assigned at birth…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z-WUlVIiX0

A number of the other worksheets also include embedded links to other videos promoting gender identity theory or sexually explicit material.

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