These are some of the questions we’ve been asked about culture and how it relates to sex. After all, sex is more than just physical stuff–we have a lot of beliefs and expectations about it too.
To see the answers, click on the question. If you’d like to ask your own question, fill out our form here.
Is it normal to fantasize about the same sex if you are straight?
Absolutely. Although many people identify as straight, that category is not as clear as some might think.
It is natural to have a range of sexual feelings and fantasies. You may enjoy these fantasies, but never act on them. Even if you do step outside your comfort zone, that’s okay too. You are who you say you are. If you consider yourself straight, one same sex experience does not “make” you gay or bisexual. If you identify as gay, a heterosexual relationship will not “turn” you straight.
It’s also perfectly normal for your feelings to change throughout your life. Some people believe our sexuality exists on a spectrum, with some people existing on different ends and others moving back and forth as they see fit.
If you need more information on gender and sexuality, visit the Sexual Health Centre.
I thought queer was a bad word?
Queer was a bad word for a long time. The word has been “reclaimed” by the rainbow community.
Reclaiming words involves using a word, or identifying with it, to take the power away from those people who used the word negatively. Many people identify as queer, and it can be used to mean different things. Queer is a fairly mainstream word now. There are university programs in queer studies, for example.
However, many people remember when the word queer was an insult. They may not identify with this word or want to use it. That’s also okay. Always ask people what words they like best.
What makes people homosexual?
There is not a certain thing that makes people desire relationships with the same sex.
Sexuality is fluid. It all depends on how you choose to present yourself, who you feel attracted to, and what makes up your identity. It may even change throughout your life.
For example, some people who identify as straight enjoy having sex with people of the same gender. They might enjoy queer pornography. Some people may identify as gay for years, then decide that the term “bi” actually makes more sense for them.
However, there are societal forces that can make identifying as LGBTQII very difficult and even unsafe. Homophobia and transphobia are incredibly common. It may not always be obvious if we don’t identify with one of these identities.
Why do textbooks promote abstinence? Why can’t we learn how to have good sex?
Unfortunately, for a long time, sexual health education was based on fear (and in some places, it still is). It tried to scare people in the hopes they would avoid sex. For example, some educators would use gross photos of advanced infections.
However, based on lots of research, fear-based and abstinence-based education doesn’t stop people from having sex. It actually increases STI infections and unplanned pregnancies!
Ideally, sex educators should focus on reducing the harm that can result from sexual activity. This is known as a harm reduction framework. It means people receive non-judgemental information to make informed decisions about their own activities.
This may involve having sex—it may not. Good sex education should also tell you it’s okay to be abstinent. It’s your choice.
However, by teaching people only about abstinence, we exclude people who do wish to be sexually active. Sex is a natural part of life.
Your teachers should provide clear education on the risks of sexual activity and encourage you to make healthy decisions.
As for learning how to have great sex, it may be difficult to change the curriculum of schools to teach techniques! Educate yourself with the help of our website or outside sources like Scarleteen.
Why are girls called rude words after having sex but boys are basically congratulated?
This is an extremely complicated question.
A double standard exists for men and women. There is a myth that women are not as sexual as men, or more are pure, which is not true. Women who like and have sex are not dirty.
It’s up to you to help challenge that myth!
Why do we learn about abstinence or “saving yourself” for marriage in school?
There are a lot of ways we talk about virginity.
Sometimes, you will hear phrases like, “Did they take your virginity?” or “Did you git it up to them?” and also “Will your father give you away at your wedding?”
All of these statements talk about people (usually women) using words that suggest women and girls belong to someone who can be given to men. We see these attitudes in European history, and it is important to note these attitudes are not universal. Many cultures have different ideas about women, sexuality, and their rights.
While delaying sexual activity may be helpful for some people, it’s also not realistic for everyone. Not everyone wants to wait until marriage to have sex. And not everyone wants to get married!
Education that teaches abstinence only often increases rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted and blood borne infections.
The best sexual health education encourages people to make decisions for themselves. Sometimes this means having multiple partners before marriage. Sometimes this means waiting for sexual activity after marriage.
When we decide to have sex is a personal matter, and not something that should be decided by a teacher.