Inclusive Sex Education from an LGBTQ+ Perspective

At iroha, we strive to grow with our fans and continuously take action to achieve a society where people can be free to express their sexuality in whatever way they feel comfortable. In honor of Pride Month, we took some time to research and educate ourselves on some of the topics regarding the LGBTQ+ community and look for ways to do better for our fans.

We decided to do so by taking a look at our 2021 Global Self Pleasure Report, where we found several points worth taking a closer look at. How much do people agree to have sexual orientation and gender identity be taught in school, and what were the responses? 


    How Much Do You Agree?

    In 2021, we gathered a total of 1000 people in the United States and asked them a series of questions regarding sex, masturbation, and more. Questions such as: How often do you masturbate? Have you ever tried a sex toy? and so on.

    Within the questions, there was a section dedicated to asking the participants about different topics and “how much do you agree or disagree that [the topic] should be covered in sex education?” 

    In this blog, we would like to focus on two specific topics: gender identities and sexual orientations. So let’s take a look at what we found. 

    Within those 1000 people, there were 149 participants that identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community, and here are their opinions:

    Do You Agree With Teaching About Sexual Identities in School?

    • 90% agree or strongly agree that sexual orientation should be taught in sex ed. 
    • 10% disagree or strongly disagree that sexual orientation should be taught in sex ed. 

    Do You Agree With Teaching About Gender Identities in School?

    • 85% agree or strongly agree that gender identity should be taught in sex ed. 
    • 15% disagree or strongly disagree that sexual orientation should be taught in sex ed. 

    While we didn’t ask for reasons in the survey, we did some research, and here are the possible reasons.

    1. Concerns regarding outings

    Coming out can be a difficult and personal subject for many people, especially youth. The teaching of gender identities and sexual orientation should be handled delicately. There could be times where youth peer pressure each other regarding their identities and orientations causing forced outings when the person is not ready. This can then lead to the youth not feeling safe at school, in fact, “55.5% of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression.”

    2. The inability to teach such topics

    Not all teachers are trained or can be unbiased when teaching about gender identities and sexual orientation. How these topics are taught oftentimes depends on the teacher, and when taught by untrained or biased teachers, this could lead to students being taught inaccurate information. In addition, the mindset of heterosexuality being the norm has been ingrained in many people’s minds, it could be difficult for some to know how to teach without prejudice and other subjective opinions. 

    3. Distrust of the current education system

    This leads back to the reason above; just like teachers, the overall education system is not adapted to be able to teach such topics objectively and well. While there are changes in society, the regulations and systems are still behind. Currently, without laws and regulations to help reinforce changes, many schools or administrations look for loopholes to either avoid teaching the subject or to purposefully provide misinformation. It is said that many schools avoid teaching LGBTQ+ inclusive sex ed, and some even promote prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community

    These are just 3 possible reasons for the disagreement on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identities in schools. In reality, there could be so many more reasons for the hesitancy. 

    Sex Education in the United States

    In 2019, based on research conducted by GLSEN's National School Climate Survey, only 8.2% of students stated that they are exposed to LGBTQ-inclusive sex ed. 

    The current sex ed in the United States varies from school to school causing some students to be uneducated on basic anatomy, healthy relationship skills, and safer sex practices. Having inclusive sex education can mean exposing the students to the appropriate amount of accurate and reliable information regarding sexual orientation and identities along with the already required topics of sexual health. 

    According to the Guttmacher Institute, 39 states and DC require sex education and/or HIV education, however, only 18 states mandate the accuracy of the medical information taught. All students should have access to information that is medically accurate and from credible sources. By doing so, it can reduce possible stigma against LGBTQ+ and avoid all students from believing inaccurate information circulating online

    As of 2020, 6 states (California, Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington) plus the District of Columbia explicitly require inclusive sex-ed curricula. While Alabama, Arizona, and South Carolina recently repealed anti-LGBTQ policies through legislation or court decisions, other states—including Florida, North Carolina, and Oklahoma—had anti-LGBTQ policies related to sex-ed as recently as 2019.” 

    - Guttmacher Institute 

    While there seems to be an increase in schools adopting some sort of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education, the overall percentage is still falling short. Having inclusive sex education has seen significant improvements in LGBTQ youths’ health, and at the same time, reducing the chance of risky sexual behavior and chances of depression among youth

    Based on the Global Self Pleasure Report, there’s a vast majority that agree and want a more inclusive sex education. However, how to do so properly can be very difficult. It would require a remodeling of sex education in many places. 

    How iroha Hopes To Take Action

    As a self-pleasure item brand that hopes to create a society where anyone can freely express their sexuality and feel good doing it, it is essential that we take action. This includes helping normalize masturbation and other topics of sexuality through our platform, supporting the community, and continuing to educate ourselves and others. 

    iroha, being a part of the TENGA Group, is currently participating in a project in Japan called PRIDE School, an online program that helps members of the LGBTQ+ community strengthen their skill sets. It is also helping the participants find more confidence and meet members that have found their place in society or who might be in similar situations, thus creating a support system. While this might not cause a direct impact on the education system, the goal is to create a safe place and normalize inclusivity in corporate society and hopefully create a safer place for young adults in the future. 

    This year, we want to take educating ourselves one step further. On our social media, starting this June, we launched a survey asking our fans to help us. For every survey completed, iroha will be donating $1 to a charity helping the LGBTQ+ community. We will keep on running this survey until we reach $1,000 USD. With your help from the survey, we hope to bring positive changes during Pride Month and afterward. We hope to show our support throughout the year, not just in June. 

    Hopefully you found this article interesting, and if you want to show your support to the LGBTQ+ community, you can always educate yourself by listening to what the community is saying and find out how you can help. This could be googling, doing your own research and re-educating yourself, joining discussions, and supporting the community by advocating for them.

    Lastly, if you want to help us do better, it would be amazing if you could complete our survey