Learning about the Sex Organs: Why is it Essential?
We discuss throat aches, fevers, and acne with a different comfort level than we discuss any health concerns related to our sex organs. But should there really be any difference? They are all a part of the same human body after all!
What we think and how we feel about our sex organs, has a lot to do with the societal attitude towards them that we have internalized since childhood. Across most cultures, sex is still largely a taboo topic. However, it is natural for people to be curious about sex and the sexual organs.
Not only is it natural to be curious about one’s sex organs, but it is in fact vital to know more about them and how they function, for our health and well-being.
Unfortunately because of the shame associated with sex and subsequently the sex organs, many people don’t know where to turn when they need help. Time and effort in educating ourselves about our intimate parts is a crucial investment.
We’d like to explore why it is essential to learn about the sex organs through this article.
Why is it essential to know about our bodies?
The human body is a complex machine. From the blinking of the eyes to giving birth to a new life, the experiences that the human body can have, are extraordinary and purposeful.
Granted we don’t intend to become specialists or doctors, but a basic level of familiarity, comfort, and knowledge about our bodies is needed for us to navigate life well. Such a knowledge base would provide a sound basis for taking informed decisions about our bodies.
Here are the major reasons for why learning about the sex organs is beneficial.
For our physical health (and safety)...
The sense of shame associated with our genitals from our childhood at times prevents us from acknowledging any physical problems to ourselves or raising them in time with family or the doctor.
Very often from childhood, kids are taught to use childish, alternative nicknames for their genitals. Words such as ‘flower’, ‘cookie’, ‘noodle’, ‘pinkie’ (or names in their mother tongues) are not uncommon because parents feel less uncomfortable with these than teaching their children the real names.
But when a child who feels threatened tries to say someone touched (or attempted to touch) their ‘flower’ or ‘cookie’, we don’t notice the seriousness and often miss protecting them.
Hence, it is important to be familiar and comfortable with our sex organs in an age-appropriate way. Further, when we visit the doctor, we should also have a fair understanding of the anatomy and basic functions to be able to follow instructions or to make any subsequent medical decisions.
Knowing about the sex organs and how to care for them can help us make informed decisions during sex. It can also help prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or diseases.
There are also several popular misconceptions and myths around sex that need to be busted.
For instance, many people still mistakenly believe that STIs cannot be transmitted through oral sex. Many others think that masturbation is bad for the body and mind. These are a few of the many, many myths about sex.
Knowledge about the sex organs is the first foundational block for building our knowledge base on sex and sexual health.
For our mental health...
Some men feel that their penis is not big enough and suffer from the ‘small penis syndrome’. Many women worry that their vagina might be too big or too small and not ‘normal’. Intersex folks may feel extremely isolated and confused owing to the lack of conversation around ambiguous genitalia.
False images of what our bodies and sex organs should look like are perpetuated by the media and a large part of the pornography industry. Owing to being exposed to certain standards and ideals of beauty and perfection, many people develop an inferiority complex and misconceptions about their bodies not being normal or good-looking.
Real bodies are not symmetrical and flawless.
This can in fact, become a source of considerable stress and anxiety for many people. Eventually all of this can affect our self-esteem, the quality of our relationships, and even our professional development.
When we pursue learning about the human sex organs we realize the wonder of the sheer variety within human beings. We can then set ourselves on a path of self-discovery with renewed confidence and love for our bodies.
Becoming comfortable with one’s sexuality by understanding our bodies can create more positive and pleasurable sexual experiences.
When we embrace our bodies by feeling less conscious or distracted by thoughts of doubt and low self-esteem, the scope for pleasure automatically increases.
Knowledge about our personal sex organs as well as that of our partners (depending on our sexual orientation), can empower us with knowledge of new ways of pleasuring ourselves and our partners. (Sometimes it can actually be a lot of fun trying out theory in practice!)
Similarly, when we know about and are comfortable with our sex organs, psychologically we feel more in control of our experiences. This can also enable us to effectively communicate boundaries during sex regarding what our limits for something are, or what we are uncomfortable with. This has implications for both our physical and mental well-being.
However, the starting point of all that is knowing what the different human sex organs are, what they’re called, what they look like, and what their functions are.
So all in all...
Our bodies are our instruments and our vehicles for life. Hence, ignorance of all its basic parts is really a barrier to achieving a healthy, wholesome, and fulfilling life. It is comparable to going on a road trip in your car without knowing where the accelerator or fuel gauge is.
And while there’s no stigma attached to talking about and learning informally about the rest of our bodies, unfortunately it is the complete opposite when it comes to the sex organs.
The change really must start with all of us right now; in our families, encouraging children to use the names of the sex organs instead of euphemisms, to being able to have frank and honest conversations about periods, and so on.
If you want to start on the wondrous journey of learning about your body...
Lokyatha brings to you a free eBook which is a simplified biological view of the human sex organs and reproductive system that we believe is a valuable, must-read for everyone.
(Believe us when we say it was a re-education for us too. Those of us who were fortunate learnt a little about the sex organs in the biology classes in school or at home as kids. The rest of us managed with adult magazines, teenage gossip, and even porn online.
As adults, it’s important to revisit that knowledge base to ensure it was accurate by doing a refresher. That’s what we hope this eBook will do for you. Even if you believe that you don’t need it anymore, the next generation after you might need you to be the mentor you didn’t have.)