Top 6 Sex Ed Lessons from The Bachelorette

The Bachelorette is kicking ass and taking names! Having a baby breakdown because you didn’t get picked for the team? Kaitlyn’ll embarrass you further by calmly telling you to take your ball(s) and go home. Playing hard to get and not paying attention to her on a date? She’ll call you out for the disrespect in front of everyone. Pretending to be into her because you want to stay to have a gay secret love affair with one of the other contestants? She’s coming for you! (Alas, not until next week.)

Last night was chock full of great moments and great lines: He’s a babe soda… I have the heart of a warrior and the spirit of a gypsy [repeated word-for-word at least 12 times]… Villains gotta vil… He’s one of the biggest douches in Bachelor history. Tony’s pecs, twitching in new-age anger, were quite a site to behold. Shawn B taught the world how not to be subtle after a kiss: compulsively wiping the spittle off his lips with the back of his hand and adjusting his shirt to hide an uppity boner. And we really appreciated the equal opportunity objectification: if female contestants on The Bachelor are forced to walk down a public L.A. sidewalk in their bikinis, then male contestants on The Bachelorette have to publicly sumo wrestle in loincloths so revealing their balls are in jeopardy of getting sunburnt — that’s cosmic justice…fucked-up cosmic justice, but justice just the same.

The highlight of the night was, of course, the bromance (and then some) brewing between Clint and JJ. We thought for sure the promo for last night’s episode hinting at their secret gay love affair was just a cheap marketing ploy created with some creative editing of quotes taken out of their context. But, to our amazement, it actually seemed legit: there was the topless cuddling on the couch, JJ pulling a hankie out of his right back pocket (a gay signaling code), apparently Clint lovingly popping some of JJ’s back zits in the shower, and Clint confessing — on camera, in one breath, without any cutaways — that he’s fallen for a man. Have the producers finally realized that casting bisexuals is a great way to foster drama in the house? That’s some next-level evil-genius shit right there. But you know what’s even more evil than that? Producers convincing contestants to pretend to be gay as a hilarious lark in order to foster drama in the house, because gay people are dramatic and hilarious. So funny we forgot to laugh:

As sex writers, what horrified us the most last night was the group date in which the guys tried — and spectacularly failed — to teach a sex ed class to adolescents. Their embarrassment about the topic, their ignorance of basic anatomical and reproductive knowledge, their narrow-minded views of what constitutes sex — these were all glaring examples of how far we have to go in terms of educating not only kids, but adults about sexuality. It didn’t help matters that ABC felt the need to bleep and blur out certain parts of the lesson, as if basic, straightforward info about the way bodies work reproductively and sexually is obscene. This is what’s wrong with American sex education!

So below are our corrections to and improvements on the sex ed lesson the guys gave to the kids and, indirectly, to Bachelor Nation:

  1. Sex ed should be an ongoing, life-long, often self-started process. Not one health class in school. Or a single conversation about “the birds and the bees” between parents and kids. And if the entirety of your sexual education has come solely from observing the cows on your farm, you are obligated to do the job your parents and your public school failed to do by reading and learning from respected books, articles and websites (like ours!) on the topic of sex, reproduction, anatomy and technique. Even if you got decent sex ad as a kid, keep learning — or at least brushing up — as an adult.
  2. Not all sex is heterosexual. Both Ryan  B. and the teacher made several statements that assumed all sexual activity happens between only men and women: [The vagina] is an important part so I want to let all the guys know where it is….If you want girls to like you, you should know where [the clitoris] is… [The clitoris] is something stimulated on the female, and that’s what makes her want to have sex with you [a boy] again… Sex can happen alone, with someone of the opposite sex, or with same sex partners.
  3. The vulva and the vagina are not the same thing. The vulva is the external genitalia of females, including the clitoris, urethral opening, inner and outer labia, and vaginal opening. The vagina is the canal between the vulva and the cervix (the opening of the uterus) through which blood during menstruation and fetuses during childbirth may pass.
  4. Sex is not a linear series of steps culminating in heterosexual intercourse. “The bases” are a terrible road map for kids — or anyone for that matter — to use to navigate their sexuality. We need to reconceptualize sex so that hetero intercourse is not the be-all-end-all of sexual activity. There’s masturbation, frottage, manual sex, oral sex, and toy play that, again, can occur alone (ok, maybe not the oral), with an opposite-sex partner, or with a same-sex partner.
  5. Periods are not gross. Using phrases like “don’t be freaked out” and “the lining of your uterus basically dies” when explaining the process of menstruation only adds to the pervasive social myth that it is something to be feared and grossed out by. When kids have an overwhelming “Ew!” reaction to one of the most basic bodily functions of half the population, they need their bad attitudes to be checked — gently, of course. And they’re called tampons, not tempens.
  6. This is how natural heterosexual reproduction works. Points to Ben H. for a creative and loving portrayal of reproduction, but he made some factual errors that need to be corrected: Sperm (plural) travel to the egg (singular), which is in the fallopian tube (not the ovaries), after being released from one of the two ovaries. There, one sperm (singular) may fertilize the egg which begins  the process of cell division. The fertilized egg moves into the uterus and implants in the lining: conception is complete and pregnancy begins.  It should be noted that there are other ways for reproduction to occur with the aid of technology and without intercourse.

Read up on last week’s love lessons learned from “The Bachelorette.”