What Can Adults Learn From Sex Education?

Whether you received sex education in school as an adolescent or you were never taught about sexuality and relationships, it is likely that you could still benefit from sex education as an adult.

Often, the information that teenagers and young adults receive about sex is limited, and it may tend to focus on topics such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancies, and bodily changes that occur during puberty. While STIs, reproductive information, and human development are certainly important when it comes to sexuality, comprehensive sex education extends beyond these subjects. In addition to the basics, the following are a few things you could learn from sex education as an adult.

The different parts of your sexual anatomy and how they work.

Most adults are relatively well-informed about the reproductive function of their bodies, but even so, they may not have a firm grasp on their own sexual anatomy. Learning the different parts of your anatomy by name, (e.g., the vagina, vulva, clitoris, glans penis, testicles, scrotum, etc.), and learning the function of each part allows you to be more precise about your body and sexual health. It can also help you to accurately describe what you like or do not like in a sexual interaction, possibly improving the experience.

Healthy forms of sexual expression and their benefits.

Sometimes, healthy sexual expression is overlooked during sex education. Adults can learn about the benefits of healthy sexual expression such as masturbation and consensual, safe sex with a partner. These forms of sexual expression are safe and pleasurable experiences that can improve one’s mood, decrease stress, release tension, and/or strengthen a relationship.

Information about healthy relationships and how to maintain them.

Learning skills that support healthy relationships can greatly improve a person’s quality of life and may enhance a sexual connection between partners. When a person knows what a healthy relationship looks like and can communicate, listen, use empathy, resolve conflict, and set boundaries effectively, they are more likely to enjoy long-term relationships that contribute to their happiness.  

The meaning of consent.

Consent is a critical part of any sexual experience. Everyone can benefit from learning about or refreshing their knowledge about consent, as well as the circumstances in which a person can or cannot consent to sexual activity. For example, a person cannot give their consent if they are underage, asleep, or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

Personal skills and decision-making around sexuality.

At its best, sex education can provide individuals with the information they need to make good decisions about their relationships and sexual health. The ability to voice these decisions and set boundaries is another important skill that adults could learn from sex education.  

Information about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Comprehensive sex education addresses topics that are relevant for individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Information about different gender identities and sexual orientations, along with sex health resources for these populations, is beneficial for LGBTQIA+ individuals and adults whose experience with sex education to date has been focused solely on cisgender, heterosexual sex.

Information about sexual enhancement tools.

There are several tools available that can enhance partnered or solo sexual experiences such as vibrators, dildos, anal toys, penis rings, and so on. Adults may benefit from learning how to safely use these tools to enrich their sex lives.


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