About Queer Sex Education
Sex education is a life-long process that starts with setting boundaries, voicing needs, and learning interpersonal communication. All individuals need a safe space to feel empowered and ask questions about relationships, bodies, sex, gender, and sexuality.
Queer Sex Education addresses ethical communication, power, privilege, pleasure, and queer-inclusive language. It also questions and addresses the current state of visibility and representation within our media. How did you learn about sex and relationships? In movies? From friends, parents, elders? Who gets left out of sexual education, and who is or isn’t represented? As you venture into the realm of queer sexual education, and explore sexuality for yourself, it is important to keep these components in mind.
I recommend you look into Queer Sex Ed’s podcast, which covers a vast number of topics within the realm of queerness.
Big Gay Review has a huge wealth of information on how to navigate multiple aspects of queer sex, including toys, cleaning out, anal sex, and more!
Sex positivity is the mindset, approach, and behaviors around the understanding that sex & sexuality are normal, healthy parts of adult lives. That navigating interpersonal relationships includes approaching sexual intimacy in the same way.
Considerations of informed consent for any kind of physical intimacy.
Respecting the sexuality & consensual sexual choices of others.
Understanding the importance of safer sex.
Being open to learning about sex & sexuality.
Having no boundaries for yourself, or expecting your partner(s) have no boundaries.
Boundaries, a personal rule for how others should treat you in a specific way, are normal, healthy parts of interpersonal relationships. It is okay to have boundaries, and it is always okay to say no.
Creating a hierarchy of sexual acts and/or sexualities.
Every physical act of intimacy is unique, important, and equal to one another. Some individuals enjoy some specific sexual acts over others, and some don’t enjoy to do some at all. There is no set value to any specific act, but instead they are each beautiful and stand out on their own, regardless of the values and perceptions portrayed to us by society at large. In general, sex is a buffet of equally right choices, as long as they are consensual and mutually enjoyable.
Ignoring problematic and oppressive attitudes towards sex and sexuality.
Agency and empowerment around making decisions and maintaining boundaries around your personal sexual health and desires is important. This extends to the issues within our society of sexual assault, racism, transphobia, and homophobia experienced within the queer community. Being able to take a more objective look at the values associated with sex and sexual practices allows us to better understand and evaluate what values sexual intimacy holds for us.
Wanting sex all the time, or expecting your partner(s) to Wanting sex at all!
Having a positive attitude and healthy perspective towards sexuality and sex in general does not equate to always wanting sex, or thinking that you’re entitled to sex at all times. It is though a mindset that enables you to approach sex in general in a healthy and ethical manner!
Communication is one of the biggest tools that individuals can utilize to navigate and understand sexual interests, boundaries, and engagements. Nothing is sexier than having an open, vulnerable conversation with a potential partner about your needs, desires, pleasures, limits, and other boundaries. This can include discussions before, during, and after sex, discussing and being clear on physical limitations, including disabilities or other barriers and how to work together to overcome them. Being open and receptive to communicating with your partner(s) is a great approach to understanding each other and approaching sexual intimacy in an respectful and responsible way.
Consent is something that is becoming actively discussed much more today, and is a foundational stone of respectful interactions with others. While it is typically discussed in the realm of sex, it is an important aspect of interacting with other people in general. Being able to communicate your intents while actively taking other people’s agency and autonomy before acting allows you to maintain a respectful attitude and approach in regards to the other people in your lives.
How Does Consent Work?
Consent is clear and unambiguous. Is your partner enthusiastically engaging in sexual activity? Have they given verbal permission for each sexual activity? Then you have clear consent. Silence is not consent. Never assume you have consent — you should clarify by asking.
You should have permission for every activity at every stage of a sexual encounter. It’s also important to note that consent can be removed at any time — after all, people do change their minds!
Every participant in sexual activity must be capable of granting their consent. If someone is too intoxicated or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, or is either not awake or fully awake, they’re incapable of giving consent. Failure to recognize that the other person was too impaired to consent is not “drunk sex.” It’s sexual assault.
Consent should be given freely and willingly. Repeatedly asking someone to engage in a sexual act until they eventually say yes is not consent, it’s coercion. Consent is required for everyone, including people who are in a committed relationship or married. No one is obliged to do anything they don’t want to do, and being in a relationship doesn’t obligate a person to engage in any type of sexual activity.
It’s important to understand that any type of sexual activity without consent, including touching, fondling, kissing, and intercourse, is a form of sexual assault and may be considered a crime.
It’s crucial to ask for consent before engaging in sexual activity. Talking openly about what you both want and setting boundaries is important in any relationship, regardless of whether it’s casual or long term.
In a healthy sexual encounter, both parties should feel comfortable communicating their needs without feeling fearful. If you’re initiating sex, and you become angry, frustrated, or insistent when your partner declines any sexual activity, this is not okay.
Sexual or nonsexual activity that occurs because of fear, guilt, or pressure is coercion — and it’s a form of sexual assault. If you’re engaging in sexual activity and the person declines to go further or seems hesitant, stop for a moment and ask them if they’re comfortable doing that activity or if they want to take a break.
Let them know you don’t want to do anything they don’t feel 100 percent comfortable with, and that there’s no harm in waiting and doing something else.
In any sexual encounter, it’s the responsibility of the person initiating sexual activity to ensure that the other person feels comfortable and safe.
You might worry that asking for consent is going to be a total mood killer, but the alternative — not asking for consent and potentially sexually assaulting someone — is unacceptable.
Consent is necessary and serious, but it doesn’t mean having to sit down for a clinical discussion or signing forms! There are ways to ask for consent that aren’t a total buzzkill.
Besides, if you’re comfortable enough to want to get closer, then talking openly about what you both want and need is perfectly fine, and sexy!
Some people are worried that talking about or getting consent will be awkward or that it will “ruin the mood,” which is far from true. If anything, the mood is much more positive when both partners feel safe and can freely communicate about what they want. First off, talk about what terms like “hooking up” or “going all the way” mean to each partner. Consider having these conversations during a time when you’re not being physically intimate.
If you are in the heat if the moment, here are some suggestions of things to say:
- Are you comfortable?
- Is this okay?
- Do you want to slow down?
- Do you want to go any further?
What Consent Looks Like:
- Communicating every step of the way. For example, during a hookup, ask if it’s okay to take your partner’s shirt off. Don’t just assume that they are comfortable with it.
- Respecting that when they don’t say “no,” it doesn’t mean “yes.” Consent is a clear and enthusiastic yes! If someone seems unsure, stays silent, doesn’t respond, or says “Maybe…” then they aren’t saying “yes.”
- Breaking away from gender “rules.” Girls are not the only ones who might want to take it slow. Also, it’s not a guy’s job to initiate the action (or anything else, really).
- If someone says no, to understand that it doesn’t necessarily reflect on you personally, and may be due to a person’s lived experience, trauma, personal limitations or disabilities. Being open to understanding what a boundary looks like for a specific individual will go a long way to ensure you can navigate boundaries in a meaningful and respectful way.
What Consent Does NOT Look Like:
- Assuming that dressing sexy, flirting, accepting a ride, accepting a drink etc. is in any way consenting to anything more.
- Saying yes (or saying nothing) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Saying yes or giving in to something because you feel too pressured or too afraid to say no.
Here are some red flags that indicate your partner doesn’t respect consent:
- They pressure or guilt you into doing things you may not want to do.
- They make you feel like you “owe” them — because you’re dating, or they gave you a gift, etc.
- They react negatively (with sadness, anger or resentment) if you say “no” to something, or don’t immediately consent.
- They ignore your wishes and don’t pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show you’re not consenting (ex: pulling/pushing away).
Get Consent Every Time
In a healthy relationship, it’s important to discuss and respect each other’s boundaries on the regular. It’s not okay to assume that once someone consents to an activity, it means they are consenting to it anytime in the future as well. Whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time, a hookup, a committed relationship or even marriage, nobody is ever obligated to consent to something, even if they’ve done it in the past. A person can decide to stop an activity at any time, even if they agreed to it earlier. Above all, everyone has a right to their own body and to feel comfortable with how they use it.
Condoms are quite often a topics of confusion and uncertainty. There are so many condoms of different types that often people feel like they are floating among a myriad of choices, unsure of what to choose and what best fits them. This has some general info summarizing the types of choices when it comes to condoms to better empower you to make confident and informed decisions about what serves you best.
Materials: Commonly latex, but you can get different varieties of latex-free for those with allergies, such as sheep-skin.
Lubrications: Unlubricated, Lubricated, lubricated with spermicidal lube (lube that destroys 99% of all sperm).
There is also lubricated with warming lube, although that is not safe for anal penetration.
Thicknesses: Regular/normal, thin/sensitive, ultra thin. The biggest consideration for this is, although thinner condoms tend to allow for more intense pleasure, the thinner the condom is, the greater the chance it has of tearing.
Textured: Regular, ribbed, or textured for different physical sensations. Be aware that some may cause irritation during anal penetration, so look online for reviews about specific ones.
Internal/External: Internal condoms are quickly becoming more popular, and are overall given higher approval.
Flavoured: Flavoured condoms are typically used for oral sex, but not suitable for penetrative sex.
Dental Dams are thin latex sheets that act as a physical barrier to your partner. They are typically utilized for oral sex, and can help protect against STIs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. They come in a variety of flavours for your enjoyment.
You can also cut open a condom to make a DIY dental Damn, as illustrated below. Saran wrap should not be used for a dental dam.
If you are in need of condoms, you can access free safer sex supplies at any sexual health testing clinic. Please see the list of testing clinics in the Lethbridge area under STI Testing Services.
In general, there is a HUGE variety of toys that one can utilize within the realm of queer sexual acts. This is summary guideline information for how to approach handling and taking care of most common toys.
Always use a condom with toys.
If you’re doing a new act, or switching the use on a different partner, use a new condom.
Silicone toys can be put in hot water or into the dishwater (if they do not use batteries) to clean.
Only water-based lube can be used for silicone toys, as silicone lube can cause the toy to degrade.
Store your toys in a dry, clean place. Certain toys can dissolve each other, so utilize ziploc bags.
For a list of sex toys recommended for queer individuals, click here.
For a guide to sex toys created by queer women, click here.
For a guide on recommended toys for trans individuals, click here.
This small list of considerations seems common sense, but is a great way to ensure you are covering the basics to have a positive body interaction with your partner, and as well reduce the risk for STIs and UTIs. However, it is important to state that this is created as a general guideline, and are may want to adopt or adjust your practices to suit your personal needs.
You want to be sure you urinate before and after sex to minimize the risk of UTIs.
Wash your genital area daily.
Groom your genital area regularly.
Wear fresh undergarments before & after sex.
Don’t delay visits to Doctors if symptoms arise.
This is a guide created for sex businesses and sex workers, but it has a plethora of amazing information on how to approach many situations that take place in different sexual activities and how to be clean and hygienic.
This is a topic that often brings about a sense of shame, and one of the topics most often not talked about. It is important to be able to approach preparing yourself for any kind of sexual activity, including anal penetration, in a safe, manageable way that can ensure that you will have a positive experience for you and your partner.
Below is a link to an incredibly detailed, yet lighthearted and funny guide on how to clean yourself out. This resource is available in a total of 12 languages, and is entirely free to download. Please utilize this and share it with others, with the hope that it can help others in the queer community better understand how they can approach a completely normal and reasonable activity in a safe and healthy manner.