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Sex Sessions: Unlearning and Sex Terms to Know in 2021


The best sex of your life can be done solo — with only yourself. It’s true. Sex education just got pleasure-centered and actually helpful on’s Sex Sessions starring sexual health and consent educator Samantha Bitty.

In this first episode of Sex Sessions, Bitty is teaching us The Foundations we’ll need for this whole series. Encouraged to unlearn what we think we know about sex and relationships, we are being taught to challenge ideas that limit our sexual experiences and understanding. We’re debunking sex myths and other ridiculous notions like men enjoy sex more than women and the best sex is done partnered. We’re so over misconceptions.

Related: Ways to be more sexually confident, according to a sex health educator

Attraction is codified — social biases and what we’ve been taught is desirable can inform who we think we’re sexually attracted to. Primary social agents such as our families, communities, religion, institutions, the media and others may amplify ideals from the patriarchy and heteronormativity in our dailies, programming us to like what we like. We’re constantly indexing images we see — along with the positive and negative associations in their narratives. That well-built dude with the good haircut and the kind eyes who elicits a lip-bite and a double take? The woman with the symmetrical features, sporting current fashion and healthy ambition? Attractive, right? The short, round man, poorly groomed and wearing bad, generic dad plaid? Not especially.

What we’ve been conditioned to find attractive is also fixed in other social biases including (and not limited to) racism and sexism too.

In a highly sexualized culture, we’re regularly assigned what we find sexy and what we don’t, through popular culture and even advertisements. Considering so much of these teachings are rooted in capitalism, inevitably what we’ve been conditioned to find attractive is also fixed in other social biases including (and not limited to) racism and sexism too. If films and television stars white heroes and heroines as the ones who get the happy endings and casts darker skinned folx as villains with accents who will always fall — what does this tell us?

Related: How to get your freak on, according to a sex health educator.


Samantha Bitty sitting on a table in a tangarine-coloured sleeveless dress

Glossary of commonly used terms for Sex Sessions

Though we have much unlearning to do, there are some new things to learn too. We offer tools to help meaningfully displace normative curricula. From episodes such as Psychology to Language to Economics, we lean on some important terms that better help us understand how to navigate sex and sexual health in this series. Here are the terms you need to know.

Heteronormative; adjective: a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the norm and preferred sexual orientation. A default setting that suggests a best case romantic scenario is marriage between members of the opposite sex. Heteronormativity assumes and relies on the gender binary to thrive. It also assumes that sexual intercourse is the apex of sex. It manifests in a number of gendered stereotypes too.

Consent; noun: verbal, non-verbal or written explicit permission for something to happen. Like sex.

Orgasm; noun: a climax of sexual excitement, physical pleasure and sweet sensations. It’s important to note that medical health and mental health experts may define orgasms differently.

Sex; noun: 1. The act of sexual activity, sometimes including intercourse, that leads to sexual pleasure and sometimes orgasm. 2. The assignment of either two familiar main categories (female and male) humans, animals and other living things based on genitals and reproduction functions.

Binary; adjective: relating to, composed of, being of only one of two things. One or the other. Two options only ever. That are mutually-exclusive. 

Misogyny; noun: distaste, dislike, contempt, inappropriate anger, ingrained prejudice against women. 

Patriarchy; noun: a government, system or institution that features a dad of sorts as the head of a family (holds power) and descent is traced through male lineage. These men, especially in western civilization, are typically pale, male and stale.

Homophobia; noun: fear, hatred, dislike, discomfort, mistrust of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer. 


Transphobia is fear, hatred, dislike, discomfort, mistrust of people who are transgender, genderqueer or reject the gender binaries.

TERF; acronym: trans exclusionary radical feminist. This speaks to feminists who are transphobic.

Emotional Intelligence: noun: a capacity to be aware of, control, understand and express our emotions — to handle relationships and connections with empathy and care. “Identify the five pillars,” says Bitty, “Self-management, response versus reaction, empathy, motivation and social skills.” To have a high EQ.

Related: LGBTQ+ terms you keep hearing and what they mean.

More homework: Educator and workshops to continue your journey of unlearning

The learning never stops. Samantha Bitty recommends resources for you to continue your work on sexual education and consent.

  • Rania El Mugammar: An experienced, anti-oppression, equity, inclusion and liberation educator and writer. She hosts anti-oppression and anti-racism as well as building consent workshops. 
  • Afrosexology: Interested in less oppression and more orgasms? Afrosexology’s workshops might be exactly what you need. From webinars to workbooks, this Black-focused resource will help promote pleasure-centered sex with sweet consent.
  • Eva Bloom: Let queer sex educator and sex research nerd Eva Bloom take you under her wing. Her sex-ed YouTube channel What’s My Body Doing has earned her the Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Choice Award and her work will help you better understand sexuality, identity and more.

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