“Consider this the sex education you wish you had in high school” says the review from Refinery29. In a nutshell, that is precisely what we feel about the ‘F*ck Yes’ web series, which also happens to be produced, directed and created by an all-female crew.
This series isn’t just about any old sex education (“old” because we NEED to update our sex ed curriculum!), this is about the type of healthy communication based around sexuality that young people should be having on a regular basis, spearheaded by schools, parents, and leaders. Sadly, it is not, which is why ‘F*ck Yes’ is so important.
To give you a little background of the current state of sex education in the US, here are some basic stats. There are only 22 states which mandate public schools teach comprehensive sex education, and only 13 of that number require the information to be medically accurate. Come again? (no pun intended).
We’re not sure what schools are teaching if it’s not ALL medically accurate, but wait, there’s more. Thirty-nine states which teach abstinence only have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs. These stats don’t include much in the way of analysis around rape culture and sexual assault, but all you have to do is watch films like ‘The Hunting Ground‘ and see the amount of resources the Obama Administration is putting toward combating this epidemic (1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted on campus) with the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign.
Further afield, looking to the justice system and some of the appalling cases regarding rape and assault reiterate the need for better dialog and understanding around sexuality and consent culture. The recent Brock Turner rape case involving a male college student who was convicted of rape of an unconscious woman showed just how flawed our culture is when it comes to treatment of victims and perpetrators.
Brock Turner had a number of friends and family members vouch for him as a “good person”, where his mom spoke about how his actions have affected him so badly he doesn’t eat steak any more, and his dad declared that he shouldn’t have to be excessively punished for a mere “20 minutes of action”. As a result, the judge only have him a 6 month sentence, saying prison would negatively impact this otherwise good person, and Brock only served 3 of those 6 months. He is now free.
Or how about this gem from Canada, where during a recent rape case hearing, a judge callously remarked to the female victim, “why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”. Sure, the judge is now facing removal from the bench, but that does nothing to eliminate the problem that he thought this way in the first place! That it is a victim’s responsibility to prevent rape by “keeping their knees together” or other inane things.
Unfortunately, you can’t always change the flawed justice system or the minds of individuals who are living in an outdated notion of gender and sexuality. What we CAN do is impact the younger generation to foster healthy conversations and ideals about consent and respect. There is some change happening in the US, with California becoming the first state to mandate sexual consent lessons in high school.
But if you are looking for a comprehensive, sexy, and engaging resource to use as a conversation starter with your kids, colleagues, partner or heck, your legislator, you need to know about ‘F*ck Yes’. Their first season which had 4 episodes in total debuted in May, and caught the attention of websites around the world. With topics including protection, pleasure, porn and orgasms, this is the kind of content that is speaking directly to the current generation of youth.
“We need comprehensive sex-education because sex is huge part of life for everyone, not just for procreation but also for pleasure, and not just for those of us having it but for those of us NOT having it as well,” said Lauren Schacher, one of the actresses and producers of the series and who also directed half of season 1.
The production team are running a crowd-funding campaign on Seed & Spark for the second series, which promises to be even sexier, more educational, and emphasize consent culture in an exciting way. With over 250,000 views on their most popular video, it is clear this series is striking a chord in an era that is sadly still dominated with outdated notions of sex and sexuality.
Lauren told us the fundamentals of learning to say “yes” or “no” to sex is paramount to preventing sexual assault, yet there is no consensus on teaching this to young people especially.
“How else will children who become teenagers who become adults understand consent? How else can we expect sexual assault and harassment numbers to go down if we don’t teach young children that if someone does not want you to touch them, you do not get to touch them? It blows my mind that we expect children to tell us if/when they’ve been sexually abused and yet have had no conversation with them prior about how their body is their own. How else will they learn what is good or bad sexual behavior is?” she said.
She also pointed out how the outdated models of sex education being taught across America are leaving room for much bigger problems that are exacerbated by ignorance.
“Everyone seems to be assuming that someone else is teaching our kids about safe sex. When in fact all that leaves us is pornography. And porn is not sex. In the USA, sexual education is left up to the school district and schools, and everyone just assumes that anything especially important – like consent and birth control – will be taught to kids by their parents. Except that’s entirely unrealistic and we know it’s not happening. When comprehensive sex-education has essentially never been taught in this country, how do you think parents would gain the knowledge or the chutzpah to teach their children about it?” she said.
In contrast, countries like the Netherlands are start teaching sex education from the age of 4 because that’s the age when kids are starting to discover their bodies. That is the age we need to start teaching kids about consent, communication, and healthy boundaries, says Lauren.
All you have to do is pick up a copy of Peggy Orenstein’s ‘Girls and Sex’ book, or Nancy Jo Sales’ ‘American Girls: Social Media and The Secret Lives of Teenagers‘ to get a quick introduction to the current sexual culture today’s youth are embedded in. So whether you are the most conservative person or extremely liberal, facing the hard truth about sex education is not a partisan issue, it is a human reality. Would you rather your child, or partner, get all their sexual education from social media and random internet searches? Or from a series that has created a way for sex education to not be so intimidating or overwhelming?
If you care about healthy sexual lives, we encourage you to donate to the ‘F*ck Yes’ crowd-funding campaign, share it with all your friends, and be part of a movement to make consent sexy.