5 min read
by Xenia Ellenbogen | 04/06/2022
It’s a tired sentiment to express, but it bears repeating — traditional sex education is heteronormative. Often, it’s more like a two-hour biology class than anything pertaining to sex, identity, or pleasure.
The state of sex ed in the US is anything but educational. According to the SIECUS 2019-2020 state profiles, only 29 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education, and 35 states require schools to stress abstinence. With school closures, the pandemic only exacerbated students’ already-limited access to sex ed.
For some other grueling facts about the state of sex ed in the US:
Only 9 states require schools to cover consent
9 states require instruction to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ identities
15 states do not require information to be age-appropriate, medically accurate, culturally responsive, or even evidence-based
How, then, do we find the answers to the endless questions that traditional sex ed leaves us asking? Many teens flock to platforms like TikTok to learn about sex, which could pose the issue of potentially receiving factually inaccurate advice — like this nurse who claims that the best way to prevent STI transmission is by waiting to have sex until marriage.
Sex ed podcasts offer one way for people to supplement gaps in their sex education and continue learning about pleasure, identity, gender, and sexual health. Because even if you did receive sex ed in school, there’s likely a lot that your class excluded. Podcasts can provide all the necessary deets, and often in a more compelling & relatable way.
If you’ve ever had questions like: Is my libido normal? How can I get into kink? How can I have better sex? You’re definitely not alone. That’s why we’re spotlighting 5 inclusive sex ed podcasts that can help provide answers to the endless array of questions you may have about sex.
Host Tina Horn shepherds listeners through sexual explorations with guests like tantra expert Barbara Carrellas, the supernova of kink, Midori, and Jacq the Stripper. From talking daddies to enemas, Horn takes deep dives down human sexuality topics and offers them up as accessible and engaging episodes. Horn’s podcast helps reinforce the idea that there is no “normal” when it comes to sex — and no topic is too niche to cover.
They Talk Sex is not your barebones sex ed class. Certified Sex Educator and adult entertainer Elle Stanger shows listeners that sex is full of nuances and room for discovery. Stanger uses social media to source questions that their expert guests help provide answers to, like “how can people screen for a sex-positive therapist?” or “any tips on sex after a hysterectomy?” Stanger and their guests offer textured responses to people’s questions, chock-full of accuracy, curiosity, and compassion. Stanger’s podcast is well-rounded, informative, and we always learn a thing or two (or five).
Listening to The Dildorks, hosted by Bex Caputo and Kate Sloan, feels like talking about sex while being in a room of your closest friends. Their tagline is “dorky discourse on sex, dating, and masturbating,” and they really pull through with their end of the deal. They have a plethora of episodes ranging from topics like praise kinks to dealing with sexual rejection. If you want sex ed led by two best friends instead of gym teachers, this pod is for you.
Out of the myriad topics that traditional sex education typically excludes from its curriculum, sex and disability are among them. Disability After Dark with host Andrew Gurza is a podcast on all things disability and sexuality, with episodes like “witchcraft and ableism,” “making sex and intimacy coaching more accessible,” or “there is not a single black love story of a person with a disability.” Gurza provides a much-needed disability-centered lens with insight into sex, connection, and ableism.
Queer Sex Ed, hosted by Sara and Jay, centers queer and trans voices around sex and identity. Because traditional sex ed is cis-heteronormative and often leaves out queer identities, this podcast provides necessary dialogue around queer experiences, with episodes like “butt stuff 101” or “dysphoria and sex as a trans person.” Queer Sex Ed offers listeners a helping hand in navigating queer sex and its range of nuances, all under the premise “pleasure is a basic human right.”
Which sex ed podcasts do you turn to for answers to questions about sex? Which pods did we miss from this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Xenia Ellenbogen (she/they) is a freelance sex and mental health writer. She focuses on reproductive justice, LGBTQIA+ issues, menstrual equity, gender, and trauma. She holds a BA in writing from The New School.
by Xenia Ellenbogen