No, I’m not talking about sex workers, that is a whole different topic I am not well-versed at, at all. I am talking about the comic book series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, which brings forth the story of two (and more) people that can stop time when they orgasm. But the plot was not the thing that made this series something I enjoyed, it was how it managed to teach its readers sex education in the most subtle of ways.
If you live in America, like me, you know we don’t have the best sex education in the world. Scratch that, it is one of the worst systems of sex education in “first-world” countries. Why? Well, various reasons, we choose to ignore scientific research about sex and its effect on people and birth defects, teen-pregnancy, usually due to “religious reasons.” This leads to most states teaching abstinence only, which as we all know, does not work, people still have sex, except now they don’t know how to put on a condom, what types of birth control there are, different sexually transmitted diseases, and all the different ways they can be transmitted, and only 13 states to date state the information available be medically accurate. Of course, this is not discussed in this book, it would be kind of odd to read something like that when enjoying a comic series, but they do illustrate other topics that are also barely discussed in classes, such as orgasm, the refractory period, discovering sex when you are young, masturbation, how it goes when losing your virginity, not to rape (yes, we still got to teach this to people), what consent is, and how slut shaming occurs from anyone at school to professionals and not to do it (something else we still have to teach other humans).
“No wonder so many dumb kids get knocked up. Nobody knows anything, and if they do, they’re legally bound from telling you. “
The single issues discuss these various topics, beginning with discovering that sex is a thing normal people do (from the point of view of a woman and a man), all the way to how some people are not that sexually active and how they might feel when knowing their partners are.
I am lucky my parents are in the medical field, and that I was taught basic sex-ed by them, since at school all they told me about was breast and testicular cancer, and a small side of information about some STDs. But I know there are people out there that don’t know how orgasms work, or that there are people out there that do not want to have sex at all, and that such a view should be respected, or that having sex more than once, and having more than one partner does not make you “a chewed up piece of gum” (which has actually been taught at schools as a way to tell girls not to have sex) or that sexuality and gender is a very, very broad spectrum. This comic takes these issues and puts them in a platform we can all understand.
But perhaps the best thing shown is the small part where rape is discussed. In it, we see it explained simply: she didn’t want to, and he did it anyways, she became depressed and could barely function, while he continued on with his life. This is shown in a couple panels, and demonstrates the reality of the crime, the criminal has very little repercussions and is not affected by the horrible thing they have done, while the victim has doubts (it is never the victim’s fault), and whose life begins and continues to fall apart, the memory never leaving them. Yes, they managed to show this in a couple pages.
“Usually fall asleep…with your husband.”- This should never be the appropriate way for a doctor to answer you when you ask what happens after you orgasm. It is a form of shaming that does more harm than good.
This series is filled with sex and cursing, so I would be mindful of it before reading it, and perhaps if you are aware of all these topics I’ve mentioned above, you might not have a need to read this except to “see it to believe it.” It is not one of my favourite things, nor does it have the most wonderful writing or art, but while reading it, all I could think about was: there are people out there that might only have a resemblance of sex education through a comic book. The thought saddened me.
Teachers might need to simply recommend students to read this instead of having to force feed them the ridiculous “abstinence-only” education.