Sex Education: Social Design, Architecture & Political Power

Lovers Embrace. Cheryl Irwin, Artist

by L J Frank

Oh, give me the kisses of your mouth...
The Song of Solomon 1:2,  Tanakh (from Hebrew translation)

The education of sex spills over with passion, volatility, and sensitivity. It’s biology and includes the inner workings of the mind in concert with the body. Sex and the brain are irrevocably linked.  It also enlightens and complicates conversation – social, religious, psychological and political. Add to that provocative mixture is the prism of experience and perception and our physical environment – the interior and exterior designs of buildings affecting our self-perception, and the machinations of persuasion and propaganda.

Beginning with the physically and psychologically obvious, the presentability of the penis and vagina is unevenly distributed through the United States and the world. It’s about power of the phallus that transcends the societal niceties as it were, where parents are concerned about the innocence of their children.

As one social observer commented, “Do human beings whose bodies are about to be fertile and raging in hormones need to know how babies are made and what preventative measures are possible? Yes.”

A core question is the dynamic of control – the social psychology and politics of the phallus in contrast to the inverted power of the vagina as the conduit to life with the penis wanting to insert itself into that power dynamic.

Let me explain. The connection between visibility and power is real.  Penises are symbolized as powerful and dangerous when made visible; vaginas are powerless and vulnerable, where visibility makes them even more so. Look at phallic presence in architecture. The phallus as a power form of architecture is both a conscious and unconscious act. The most visible architectural design for the vulva is the stadium with seats surrounding to watch what happens on the field of play. The stadium inspires a voyeuristic participation.

An observation – there is also a connection here with the panic, born from the perceived punishment over transwomen in the women’s room, while no one seems bothered by transmen in the men’s room. Transmen are invisible in the discourse, I suspect, because few think anyone born with a vagina is threatening.  Yet no one thinks of how women might feel about a transman in the women’s room under the bathroom bills being passed in red states.  There is a disjunct here between the discourse and the felt threat of someone perceived as born with a penis in the women’s room. Discussion of gender identity, and LGBTQ is revealing in what is left unspoken.

The impact of what we see and how we see things through the prism of our own experience via the societal institutions and their designs, affect each of us on different levels, whether subtly or overtly.

The bias of legislation and court rulings are forms of the male seeking the legal capability to legislate the vagina, while the penis remains free from legislation. In other words – male freedom from any legal format, as if the penis would be placed in a chastity device. Pro-birth retains a quality of intellectual convenience rooted in the artificially designed sacred. Human life becomes an instrument of politicians. For prolife also implies anti-war, against capital punishment, affordable health care, etcetera. Is probirth the prerogative of the phallus? Perhaps not, but the influence on sex education within that framework exists.

The use of fear by those seeking control of another is culturally historic. What happens when there’s “blowback” fear implemented on the person(s) that used it for the purpose of control for his or her political and financial benefit? Who decides, and based on what?

Sex education whether in the classroom or in the street, through the grapevine or through gossip begins early and extends into adulthood.  A person’s will may be viewed as an obstacle by those demanding control of another’s liberty. Fear is used as a negotiating instrument whether mother or child, regardless of the physical and mental condition of the fetus or the mother.

The recurring question of presentability is prominent as it would seem to emerge in stark three-dimensional contrast between men and women when exposed. Sex education becomes critical not merely for birth control, and transmitted diseases, but the overall health and well-being of the person, the public, and issues of fairness, justice, and democracy itself.

Sex education has roots in the sacred and secular space that surrounds us. From traditional architecture, exterior and interior design of our buildings and the separation of space between male and female. Communication between parental figure and child is essential within that space. Technology has changed the dynamic of family and partner spatial relationships. The influence of religion and school administration seeking to avoid lawsuits may exist all within the context of the ever-visible phallic designs of prominence to the receptacle designs of the vulva.  In different words, we design our space and then that space shapes us and our thoughts and perceptions of each other.

Who decides what’s best and on what suppositions and evidence? Why are we more insecure about sex education than the violence of our language towards each other – the endless images of war, terrorism, illiteracy, ignorance, the arrogance of power and…?

As I sit here my mind recalls Bob Dylan’s lyrics…

Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head,

And pretend he just doesn’t see?

The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.