Sex Education for many of us has been a horrible experience: dominated by heteronormativity, conservative teachers and the suppression of the female body and pleasure (and for some of us, the stereotypical banana-condom picture will be engrained in our brains forever). What’s more, oftentimes, it was boring and disconnected from the reality we as teenagers were experiencing, leaving us lost - sometimes for the right words, sometimes for answers to our urgent questions, and sometimes just lost completely. While many of us have now found the answers to our questions and the right words for our needs and wishes, much still remains unsaid and for many unheard of, and this is what “Sexpressive” our new bi-weekly collaboration with amazing writers from KCL society Sexpression wants to change: we want to be bold and open about everything related to sex and identity and equip you with the knowledge and words to talk about it! We might not be as funny as Otis in Netflix’s hit show Sex Education, but unlike Otis’ advice, our column is completely free, no sex ed payment needed.
In this first article, you can find out more about Sexpression and our fantastic team of contributors. And just as a reminder, this column is for you, and if there is anything you want us to write about, just send us an email to email@example.com.
ABOUT KCL SEXPRESSION:
We're part of the KCL branch of Sexpression UK, the national charity. Our volunteers deliver comprehensive RSE lessons to schools near KCL campuses and our lesson topics range from consent, contraception, STIs, LGBTQA+, healthy relationships to sex and the media. In addition, our committee creates fun and interactive events here at King's such as Pizza and Protection, FGM talk as well as sex themed quizzes and workshops. Our most successful annual event has been our Don't be a Prick campaign where we hand out free cacti to students when they participate in a short conversation about consent at uni. Since this year is mainly online, our aim with this column is to cover a range of topics related to sex ed and sexual well-being.
Facebook: KCL Sexpression
FAQs & Free membership: https://www.kclsu.org/organisation/7499/
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS:
Svea (she/her, BCPO): I am passionate about informing young people about the issues surrounding sex, relationships, and gender (identity), as to enable them to make informed decisions. By doing this, I hope that I can contribute to decreasing the stigmas surrounding and breaking taboos attached to sex in the society.
Mitra (she/her, Socials Officer): I joined Sexpression as I am passionate about teaching sex ed as this gives young people the information they need to make informed choices. As Socials Officer, I have arranged events, including online Coffee Socials, to bring together the Sexpression Community at King’s.
Lenezia (she/her, Events Officer & Wellbeing Lead): I grew up in a conservative Indian community where sex was highly stigmatised (slightly ironic given the origins of the Kama Sutra and the enormity of the Indian population…) So when teenage me moved to London and received comprehensive sex education for the first time, I finally began viewing sex in a healthy and positive light and, consequently, felt an entirely new sense of freedom and empowerment. Hence, I strongly believe that educating the youth about sex is imperative to cultivating a sex-positive society. As Events Officer and Wellbeing Lead, and more significantly as a woman of colour, my passion this year lies in creating safe spaces for open-minded discourse on how factors like race, mental health, body image issues and so on can affect an individual’s sexual experience. My aim is to diversify our events and wellbeing initiatives by covering less-explored topics that cater to marginalised communities in an educative, interactive and engaging way.
Uma (she/her, President): I became part of KCL Sexpression because I, like many others, found the sex ed my school offered lacking and felt frustrated that we weren’t being taught better. In addition to teaching, what I love most is the open environment we’ve created within Sexpression where we can talk and learn about all aspects of sex without shame. There’s so many conversations I want to have more of - discussions about pleasure (especially finding the confidence and language to ask for pleasure as a female), acknowledging aspects that affect poc more (e.g. fetishization) and highlighting a multitude of different experiences that mainstream porn or social media don’t normalize.
Olivia (she/her, Training & Schools Officer): I first stumbled upon Sexpression at Freshers Fair, way back in 2017! Fast forward 3 years and you can still find me trying to explain the link between beanie hats, sombrero’s and condoms to anyone that will listen. During my time with Sexpression, I’ve taught in schools ranging from conservative catholic, to last-chance exclusion schools where you’re lucky if you’ve got one student remaining at the end of a class. The discussions have been awkward, upsetting, frustrating and sometimes just downright funny, but every conversation has helped ensure students can enjoy safe, positive and fulfilling, sex & relationships, and it’s that which keeps me coming back year after year.