Rowdie Walden: Why Sex Education Needs A Serious Overhaul In Australian Schools


I don’t know about you, but sex education at my school left a lot to be desired. 

Basically, I learned three things which included what an untreated STI looked like, that my PDHPE teacher had a “period that was like a gushing tap” that “won’t stop flowing”, and of course, the anatomically correct names for genitals. (The genitals I memorised in hopes it would one day come in handy — you know the sorta thing that will win me trivia one day. Quiz me.)

When I chat with my friends about sex, it’s evident that the Sex-Ed we received in school had a few blind spots. Everything from intense and unhelpful stories like mine, to friends who went to Catholic schools that taught abstinence, and those that didn’t even get a class at all.

Instead, we’ve had to teach ourselves everything along the way, seeking out the lessons we wish we had in high school. Sex-Ed based on pleasure. 

In the sixth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health conducted by La Trobe University, 78.7% of students surveyed said they had used the internet to find answers and information relating to their questions about sexual health. That’s most of the kids in school right now.

Is it just porn they’re Googling? Maybe. According to new research by the National Union of Students, 60% of kids actually watch porn to get more information about sex.

I’m on the fence with the debate around learning sex from porn. It can be a dangerous and unrealistic place to learn about the birds and the bees, however, where else are you going to learn new positions or things you might want to try out with your partner? 

It’s especially difficult if you identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community because porn can be your only access to the type of sex you need to know about.

I think we can all agree that what high school Sex-Ed left out was positive discussions around sex and pleasure, how to have respectful relationships, sexual desire and the importance of consent and communication — and don’t get me started on the lack of sexuality and gender education.

The idea of “learning” or going back to study this later in life — even if it is about sex — makes me tired. I’m 26. I feel too old. But the thing I’ve discovered is that continuing to learn about sex and relationships as adults is critical to a good sex life — and possibly even the answer to finding a long-term partner. 

Making my podcast, Search Engine Sex, I often find myself saying, “Damn, I wish I’d learnt that sooner”. 

Imagine our sexual utopia — a place where we can freely admit that just like taxes or trying to figure out MyGov, that we need a little help when it comes to sex. Admit it: you’re not as a good at sex as you tell people you are. It’s cool though, we’re on The Latch. This is a safe space. 

So, why is it important to keep learning about sex as adults? Well, the older we get, the more our desires change. Maybe along the way you’ve discovered new kinks, faced new medical obstacles or found yourself 30 and single and wondering WTF to do. Seriously though, what do you do? 

When we think of Sex-Ed, we think of high school or teens labelling parts of the genitals and that leaves adults scouring around the internet looking for advice or help when it comes to these things. 

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — the internet can tell you anything you want. If you want that rash to be herpes, you’ll google it until it tells you its herpes.  

So go forth and learn more about sex… Oh and listen to my podcast, Search Engine Sex, only on Spotify. 

Rowdie Walden became a finalist in the 2018 Spotify Sound Up competition. Fast forward to 2020, and the now-26-year-old now hosts Spotify Australia’s first original podcast Search Engine Sex.

You can catch up on episodes and subscribe HERE.

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