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Sex Ed. Textbooks ② - Masturbation is only for Men?

Sex Ed. Textbooks ② - Masturbation is only for Men?

The Storyteller: Teacher JeongYeon

5min
Sex Ed. Textbooks ② - Masturbation is only for Men?

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Now on Another Planet Every person’s fate is like the history of a planet. No two planets are alike and each is distinct. Here we will introduce the planets of others to feed your curiosity. Find wisdom in real stories based on real peoples experiences, thoughts, and lives. JeongYeon tells you an interesting story…
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The Story so Far JeongYeons exploration of Korean Sex Education starts with ‘Sex Ed. Textbooks ① - The Whereabouts of the Vulva’. Starting from there will add to the fun!

In the last episode ⏩

The curriculum is in the textbook, the textbook is in the class, the class affects the teachers and students, and the direction of the each class varies depending on the language in the textbook. Both content elements and outcome standards consist of content to be learned in adolescence when the body and mind grow and form a sense of self-identity.

Then, how do home textbooks introduce elements related to sex education? Although page design, sentence style, and illustration style may vary depending on the publisher, the perspective and content are almost all the same. We looked at the ‘Adolescent Sexual Development’ sections of some representative textbooks adopted and used by many schools.

JeongYeon’s Textbook Commentary Round 2 - Female Sexuality

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Last time, we looked at what languages and expressions these influential textbooks use to educate students about ‘The Female Body’. This time, let's take a look at the way the textbook deals with ‘Female Sexuality’.

CASE #3 Arousal and Erection - Ovulation and Menstruation

What’s included in the textbooks

In the section on male sexual development, the physical changes (erection, ejaculation) that occur when sexually stimulated are included.

What’s not included in the textbooks

✖ When discussing female sexual development, there is no mention or explanation of physical changes that occur during sexual stimulation (such as labial and clitoral engorgement, vaginal lubrication, etc.).

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JeongYeon’s Comments The concepts of erection and ejaculation for males is directly compared to ovulation and menstruation for females in the textbooks. Although ovulation and ejaculation are similar in terms of ‘reproductive cell emission (eggs, sperm)’, they are completely different in terms of ‘response to sexual stimulation’. Erection and ejaculation are physiological reactions that proceed under the premise of sexual stimulation of men. The female body also has a physiological reaction in which the clitoris and labia become engorged and the vaginal lubrication is secreted when sexual stimulation is present. However, no textbook deals with women's physiological reactions at all. Labial and clitoral engorgement and vaginal lubrication, are essential physiological reactions for sexual intercourse, just like erections. However, education that does not mention these vital physiological changes in women strengthens 'male-centered sexual awareness'. Examples of this include the perception that "men are sexually stimulated beings", "sex starts with a man's erection and end with his ejaculation”, "women are not the subject of sexual stimulation," and that "female arousal or pleasure is not important in sex.”

CASE #4 Masturbation is only for Men?

What’s included in the textbooks

✔ Regarding masturbation, it is explained that males should take care of hygiene and safety when masturbating. Some publishers include this information in the textbooks and some only in the teachers instructions, but the method and content is the same.

What’s not included in the textbooks

✖ There's no mention or explanation of women's masturbation.

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JeongYeon’s Comments Masturbation is a pleasant process in which a person with sexual desire, regardless of gender, can relieve those desires in the safest and most natural way possible, and improve their understanding of their body. It is also an important process of stimulating your body in various ways and recognizing yourself as the subject of sexual desire. However, the attitude of talking about male masturbation and not even mentioning female masturbation strengthens the "male-centered sexual awareness". This is because men are recognized as sexual subjects, and women are not. I think there is a real need to mention and educate about women's masturbation in textbooks and actively educate them on healthy and safe self pleasure methods.

CASE #5 Pregnancy without Process

What’s included in the textbooks

✔ An overview of the process of pregnancy and fetal growth in the order of ovulation, circumstance, fertilization, implantation, and development.

✔ It specifically covers how to calculate the length of pregnancy and the due date.

What’s not included in the textbooks

✖ Any mention that the process of sperm meeting egg inside the vagina is through sexual intercourse.

✖ Of course, there is also no mention of the consent and refusal process that must be made before sex.

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JeongYeon’s Comments For proper sex education, you have to explain the key process for becoming pregnant, which is sex. Some students do not understand the method that leads eggs and sperm to meet, and if they first encounter information about sex through mass media, they can internalize distorted ideas about sex. Covering with "fertility and pregnancy" without a single explanation of "sexual relationships" creates another big problem: the notion that "all sex is for pregnancy and reproduction."

This notion creates an abhorrent view of LGBT couples who are unable to conceive and give birth. In addition, creates the misconception that the only ‘real’ sex is "vaginal penetrative sex" that allows for pregnancy. Only 35% of women can reach orgasm through vaginal penetrative sex, much lower than 95% of men who can.

Most women experience orgasm not through vaginal penetration, but through various types of foreplay and postplay. The notion that ‘vaginal penetration and ejaculation’ is the core of sex ensures that all sex starts with a male's erection and ends with a male's orgasm.

Since erection and ejaculation revolve around men's sexual desires, this notion places men as the subject of sex and women as the object. In order to create a society in which everyone is respected, regardless of gender, gender identity, or gender orientation, and can communicate about their pleasure with their partner, it is necessary to deal with "diverse ways of sex" rather than simply "fertilization and pregnancy."

In addition, when explaining sex, we need to explain the importance of ‘consent and refusal’ that must be agreed upon before every encounter. Consent and refusal are vital processes in which any party to sexual activity should understand and decide autonomously, and any sexual activity without consent is a crime and a form of violence.

Many people don't think consent and refusal are important because they don't deal with it properly in the curriculum. Through the process of learning how to agree and reject, you can learn how to make decisions on your own as the subject of sexual behavior and how to recognize and respect the other person as a subject of sexual behavior. This is also linked to the prevention of sex crimes, so it must be dealt with in the curriculum.

CASE #6 콘돔은 왜?

What’s included in the textbooks

✔ The textbooks include 5-6 methods of contraception. Cheonjae Textbooks discuss ‘fertility cycle tracking’, ‘oral contraceptive pills’, ‘Interuterine Devices’, ‘Condoms’, and ‘vasectomies’. Although the methods introduced varies slightly from publisher to publisher, fertility cycle tracking, oral contraceptives, and condoms are covered in all textbooks.

What’s not included in the textbooks

✖ It doesn't even mention one of the important purposes of using condoms, preventing STIs.

✖ Information on STIs and Various ways to prevent STIs (such as cervical cancer injections, pre-sexual intercourse screenings) are not mentioned.

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JeongYeon’s Comments Why on earth? Why is the easiest, most effective method for not just contraception but also the prevention of STI’s, the condom placed lower than the largely ineffective, unsupported ‘Fertility Tracking Method’? (As the textbook explains: Fertility Tracking Method – avoiding sex for a week before and after ovulation, contraceptive effect is minimal.)

Why are fertility cycles, contraceptive pills, IUD’s, and hysterectomies (the burden of which falls solely to women) introduced before condoms and vasectomies? Even due to the nature of the protruding male genitals, a vasectomy is much simpler and safer procedure than a hysterectomy.

Contraception is literally made to prevent pregnancy. It is important to increase the effectiveness of contraception. So we shouldn't just list the methods and call it a day. Teachers need to emphasize condoms, the most basic form of contraception, and guide individuals on how combine them with other methods.

Also, condom use is an important method for preventing sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancy. But no publisher's textbooks even mention venereal diseases or their prevention. Explaining the symptoms and risks of STI’s and the various ways to prevent them is a necessary process for everyone's sexual health. It is necessary to know the types of STI’s and how to check and prevent transmission such as by wearing condoms and dental dams, HPV vaccines, and STI tests.

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Class Continues How do Korean middle school home economics text books understand ‘women’s sexual curiosity’? Read more in JeongYeon’s next lesson, Sex Ed. Textbooks ③ - Restricting Curiosty?

References
나는 학교에서 제대로된 피임 교육을

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