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The last person I was having sex with, it went pear-shaped. They eat sweets and catch up about their week — Olonisakin has been unwell, after partying too hard — as they prepare to record. In the week that I visit, US rapper TI made international headlines after revealing that he takes his year-old daughter to doctors for hymen checks, to ensure she is a virgin. Scott squeals in agreement. She has views on TI. When they get to talking about TI, the women speak passionately about how the concept of virginity is inherently misogynistic. Last year, a live recording in London was attended by people.
For the uninitiated, sex-positivity is characterised by a general spirit of openness towards sexuality in all its forms, along with an emphasis on sexual pleasure.
Advocates encourage sex Watching mature women have sex be seen as something to be celebrated, rather than a source of shame, and provide practical, sometimes explicit guidance on how to experiment safely in the bedroom. Someone who is sex-positive would be equally accepting of a four-way polyamorous relationship, BDSM casual sex, and garden-variety heterosexual monogamy: as long as everything happens between consenting adults, all expressions of human sexuality are permissible. Together, these young women have an enormous reach: Ligon hasInstagram followers, while a video Sciortino made for the website Vice has had more than 50m YouTube views.
This, after all, is a generation that grew up watching porn on their smartphones on the bus to school, before sliding into sexting in their teens. In the US, rightwing Christian bloggers burned copies of Teen Vogue after the magazine published an anal sex guide by sex educator Gigi Engle in One Million Moms is the best-known: in December it called for a boycott of the Hallmark Channel over an ad depicting a same-sex couple. Such groups often wage ferocious state-level campaigns to block sex-positive sex education in classrooms. These attitudes are not unique to the US.
In the UK, parents at one Birmingham primary Watching mature women have sex reacted with fury in May after its headteacher decided to teach about LGBT relationships to its pupils, the majority of whom were from Muslim families. The programme was amended, but tensions between teachers and parents are ongoing.
Sex-positive influencers are also facing a crackdown from legislators and internet platforms. In the UK, the digital economy bill — bitterly opposed by independent porn creators for its age-verification requirements, which they view as draconian — passed into law in Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, more usually under fire for failing to police extreme content, have been accused of censoring sex-positive influencers, demonetising their channels, or limiting their visibility.
There are legitimate questions to be asked of the sex-positive movement. Should its influencers be giving public health advice without being qualified to do so? In other words, is it possible to be too positive about sex? I opt for boobs. The topic of the week? On the bedside table is a bottle of lubricant and a large vibrator. Both women arrange themselves under the duvet, occasionally pausing to stretch. After checking that the camera facing the bed is working, the women begin filming.
What follows is a mixture of explicit sex advice the women mime different fingering techniques told in a big-sisterly, accessible way. But their message is resonating with an audience ofYouTube subscribers, who turn to them for advice on blowjobs at 2. Are they qualified to give sex advice to impressionable teens?
And besides, if sex-positive influencers simply wanted to be famous, there are easier routes. Both women have full-time jobs Amber as a webcam sex worker, Barkway as a video director although they hope eventually to make Come Curious their main source of income. Of course, it would be ideal if young people learned about sex from their families, rather than the pseudo big sisters represented by Amber and Barkway. They tell me that every week they receive s and Instagram DMs from vulnerable young people, including sexual abuse survivors, and do their best to respond.
The Laid Bare podcasters also have an address for listeners to send their queries. Providing nonjudgmental sex education is particularly important to them, because evidence shows that STI rates are higher, and go undiagnosed for longer, in black-African communities.
You keep it private. I talk to Grace Halksworth, a year-old student from Surrey, who discovered the channel inand talks about its presenters reverentially. Halksworth tells me that she felt shamed by her peers for expressing sexual desire at school, and experienced bullying after her classmates found out she watched porn. Frustrated with these attitudes, she found solace in the sex-positive community.
Halksworth credits sex-positivity with helping her discover sexual pleasure. I ask Halksworth whether she thinks young people are mostly learning about sex from porn. They were stunned. A table of three girls sitting near me shift in their seats. Eventually, one girl breaks the silence. Whitehead beams. But when the teens split into groups to write down examples of verbal consent, things turn explicit. We head into a year 10 assembly, led by Sexplain co-founder Amelia Jenkinson. In the front row, a group of boys competitively manspread and occasionally burst into overloud laughter at obscure jokes.
There is a fug of hormones and teenage bravado. Still, we cover important ground: coercive control, healthy relationships, and how to break up with someone in a respectful way. After the assembly, Jenkinson and I catch up. Some of the more rambunctious boys in the year 10 assembly had to be taken out by teachers, and the educational video Sexplain used was outdated — the acting was stilted, and the performers were clearly adults in their mids dressed in school uniforms, rather than teens.
But in attempting to correct the false expectations about sex and relationships that young people have picked up from porn, educators are doing a valiant job. And the same could be said of abstinence-based approaches to sex education. There are already indications that a greater openness about sex is having a positive effect: teen pregnancy rates plummeted in Watching mature women have sex UK and the US in the noughties.
And reactionaries who are worried that sex education le to promiscuity might be chastened to know that young people seem to be having less sex than before. As parents tie themselves in knots about what their children may or may not be doing, their progeny are getting on with things — or not getting on with things, depending on how you look at it. Leaving Sir Robert Woodard, as we thread through bustling corridors full of students eating pizza and talking in that indecipherable slang known only to teenagers, Jenkinson makes the stakes clear.
When should I have the birds and the bees chat with my kids? Have conversations about sex, genitals, and bodily functions from an early age. How should I talk about sex with my children? What should I teach my kids about sex? What should I never do? In schools and on YouTube, these taboo-breaking educators are giving young people a helping hand. Sirin Kale. Sat 8 Feb Topics Sex Relationships and sex education Sexuality Relationships features.
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‘If you’re going to watch porn, know it’s not real’: meet Britain's sex-positive influencers