10 Minute Genius: Emma Jane on the other sex talk

For as long as sex has existed, people have been shamed for talking about it. To this day, kids are taught a very narrow perspective on sex education which is comprised mostly of details of erections, ejaculations, and acts of heterosexual penetration. Sex education in schools teaches kids that virginity is really important and that sexual acts often end in unwanted pregnancy. So why are our kids learning similar lessons to the kids of the 1950s? 

The subject of pleasure is conspicuously absent from most sex-ed curricula where the focus is almost exclusively on the mechanics of either procreation or avoiding STDs. But according to Associate Professor Emma Jane, it’s vital that the birds and the bees talk cover so much more than the marriage, the baby-making, the man parts, and the money shots. “More than one in five Australian women say they find the sex in their relationship unpleasurable or only moderately pleasurable," she says. Providing more nuanced, inclusive, and realistic sex ed for our offspring is important because if they don’t get this info from us, they’re going to get it from their screens. 

In less than ten minutes, or roughly the length of time it takes to put a condom on an expired Epipen, A/Prof. Jane will give you the “sex talk” that you probably should have had when you were a teen, and outlines the importance of a well-rounded sex-ed curriculum.

Emma A Jane is an Associate Professor in the School of the Arts & Media at UNSW Sydney. Emma’s research focuses on the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies, and she was recognised in 2021 as being in the top 2 per cent of researchers in her field globally (based on 2020 citations) in Stanford University's researcher rankings. Prior to joining academia, Emma spent 25 years working in the print, broadcast, and electronic media, winning multiple awards for her writing and investigative reporting. Her interdisciplinary research program combines scholarship and methods from gender studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and science and technology studies. Emma’s publications and talks focus on the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) causes and effects of emerging technology, and span diverse topics, including social media, cybercrime, public policy, feminism, LGBTQI+ issues, neuroscience, genetics, psychology, and children’s media. Her memoir Diagnosis Normal will be released in March 2022.