Nervous twitching preceded silence the day my fifth grade class participated in its first sex education class. Ovary, uterus, fallopian tube and cervix labels hovered below a title that read “Female Reproductive System” in bold letters. Once I graduated into middle and high school, the importance of protection was added to the list, and we were shown how to use a condom.
It wasn’t until several years later that I discovered a missing component to these sex-scientific lessons — pleasure. Now, as a grown woman, I’m left wondering why the cover up of the pleasure piece of female sexuality? Is there something imbedded in our society that’s fearful of women enjoying sex too much?
Research shows that denial of female sexuality starts in early sex education instruction. Whereas boys are openly told how their puberty is marked by erections, ejaculations and masturbation, females are left to ponder a hidden anatomy structured for periods and pregnancy. Peggy Ornstein in Girls and Sex describes the illustrations used as, “The classic diagrams of a woman’s reproductive systems, [that] blur into a gray Y between the legs as if the vulva and the labia, let alone the clitoris, don’t exist.”