Gender, Sexuality and Relationships Content Editor, Spunout
Sexual pleasure can be good for you both physically and mentally. Everyone deserves to have it in their lives if they want it.
The sexual pleasure topic has often been accompanied by discomfort or a lack of understanding. Understanding from a young age that all sexual experiences should be pleasurable and consensual, empowers young people to foster better sexual attitudes and self-esteem.
Education in schools
Gender, sexuality and relationships content editor for spunout, Rebekah Connolly, believes sexual pleasure needs to be part of relationship and sexual health education in schools. “The draft of the new curriculum for Junior Cert Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) was recently published and covers many topics such as consent, contraception and pornography.”
“However, the importance of sexual pleasure is not included. We miss an opportunity to teach young people to recognise sexual pleasure as a valuable tool to support their mental and physical wellbeing, both by themselves and with consenting partners.”
We want sexual pleasure to be central to young people’s understanding of sexual wellbeing.
The pleasure picture
Director of spunout, Kiki Martire, adds: “For a long time, our conversations and information about sexual wellbeing have been centred around prevention: STI prevention, unwanted pregnancy prevention or prevention of sexual violence. Those are all extremely important. But for young people, it can lead to a fear-first sexual education that leaves pleasure completely out of the picture.”
“We want sexual pleasure to be central to young people’s understanding of sexual wellbeing. It all comes back to what pleasure looks like for you, and how can you explore and embrace that safely from an appropriate age, without shame or fear?”
Ollie, a contributor, believes embracing sexual pleasure can help with accepting one’s body.“Sexual pleasure can come from sex with people, but it can also come from ourselves.”
“We’re taught from a young age that masturbation is dirty and shameful, but I used it as a way to discover what I like sexually. It helped me reconnect to my body as both a survivor of sexual assault and a non-binary person. There’s nothing dirty about getting to know your own body.” Understanding that sexual pleasure begins with oneself, can be enjoyed alone and is a core function of bodily autonomy can be empowering. Feeling good is the foundation of consensual sexual experiences, and helping young people understand this can allow them to become attuned to their feelings, desires and bodies.
spunout is Ireland’s youth information website, by young people for young people. Our vision is to help create an Ireland where young people are empowered with the information they need to live their best lives. We supported over 2 million young people with information resources in 2021.