I can still remember the moment in sex ed when a classmate raised her hand to ask a question about “blow jobs” and the teacher flat out refused to answer.
Sex education classes might not have improved all that much, but now teens can get instant access to advice on oral sex, hand jobs, fingering, vaginal and anal penetration, consent and more. And we’re not talking from Pornhub, but from a new ‘First Time Sex Starter Kit’ designed by a mother and her sons.
The kit – which teens can access via the free sex education app Kama – is designed to demystify sex for those considering “doing it” for the first time. In place of textbook terms, the language echoes the way teens actually talk, and the content is not afraid to focus on pleasure and wellbeing, topics often left out of sex education at school.
The concept is the brainchild of entrepreneur Chloe Macintosh – best known as the co-founder of furnishing company Made.com – but the biggest influence on its content have actually been her two teenage sons, Felix, 16, and Elliott, 14.
The kit takes the form of a 20-part video series, where Felix sits down with sex coach Aaron Michael to ask some of the questions teens have about intimacy. They chat about everything, from “dry humping” to “how to use your penis inside”.
At the age of 16, many of us would have rather eaten slugs than have an open conversation about losing your virginity. But Macintosh started working on the app in lockdown, when both her sons were at home, and says it helped to create a sex-positive environment.
“There were sex books everywhere, toys, gadgets, we also had to film the app content at my home. So after an initial period of resistance, Felix and Elliott started to become more used to the topic and speaking about it became more and more normal,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“Sex was never spoken about when I grew up, it was not really present, and so I found it really interesting to be more open and curious.”
Elsewhere on the app, users will find guides on foreplay, self-pleasure and overcoming sexual anxiety. The “starter kit” element came about organically, when one evening, Felix was chatting about sex with his 19-year-old cousin, Jules.
“I started to record and a lot of the content came from this conversation,“ says Macintosh, who hopes the content will fill the gap left by sex education in schools, which she says varies depending on your postcode and is often “heteronormative, binary, and generally backwards and incomplete”.
“We never learn how to relate, to create intimacy, to listen, to touch,” she adds. “So the content we wanted to put out there is more than some tips to put a condom on, but more relating to the experience and making is as relaxed and comfortable as possible.”
Felix’s friends also took an interest in the project and helped inform some of the discussion topics. They wanted to know how to initiate sex, how to choose the right partner, what position to start with, how to share and ask for feedback, and what to do when things go wrong.
Realistically, most teenagers don’t really want to hear sex tips from their parents or even their teachers. But without this, they’re often left clueless or resort to watching porn, which can leave them with an unrealistic view of sex.
Macintosh hopes the app will empower teens by serving them reliable, straightforward advice straight to their phones. And in time, she hopes it’ll encourage them to talk openly and consciously about sex and pleasure – not only among their peers, but also with their parents and siblings.
“The fact that so many teens and young people go through the processes of dating and intimacy without proper guidance is not good enough and can be easily repaired,” she says. “If we remove the taboo and shame from talking about sex, then authentic pleasure can come more naturally.
“The better our relationships the healthier we are in all aspects of our lives. So it’s worth focusing on.”