fingerprint, art therapy, therapeutic discipline

Genitals Are Like Fingerprints

Did you know that our genitals are as unique as our fingerprints?

That’s right…our private parts are a one-of-a-kind work of art.

In our culture, body appreciation is approached like viewing a piece of art. We give admiration, but also offer plenty of critiques.

The problem with this is, art doesn’t stop functioning properly when it’s rejected…our bodies do. 

Advertising has been playing on our willingness to avoid rejection at any cost for years. In order to sell some sort of product, we’ve been told our genitals are undesirable, broken, and diseased.

Jokes about the size, shape, and smell of genitals play on this same fear. We laugh (nervously) because we instinctively know how wrong it is to go there. 

Furthermore, there’s genital shaming language. We call people a “dick” or “cunt” to express how awful they are.

It’s no wonder humans are more self conscious of their genitals than any other creature. We make ourselves feel like we’re not normal down there.

doll with no genitals

We can choose to love our genitals how they are.

Yes…it’s a choice. Because, the truth is, there is no normal. 

Our genitals do not need to be turned into sterile doll parts in order to be appreciated.

To be clear, there is a range of typical looking genitals. But, even in that range, there’s wide variation. 

So, it’s a good idea to steer clear of jokes about other people’s genitals. You never know what someone’s got going on down there.

Barefaced game card about the negative effect of worsting about your genitals

The inspiration for this week’s project is a Barefaced card about genital variation, awareness, and acceptance.

Not only should we be careful with our words around others, positive self talk is important too. 

Many people have a difficult time relaxing into orgasm because they’re self conscious of how their genitals look, smell, or taste. 

There’s that underlying unrealistic expectation for perfection…whatever that is.

artsy fartsy sex ed genital awareness

Too many people aren’t educated about the reality of genitals. 

They all have an odor, grow pubic hair, secrete fluids, and look different. These are natural things our genitals do, but are shamed for.

When you grow up with this stigma, it can chip away at your self worth without realizing it.

Because non-sexualized nudity is avoided in our culture, we don’t have many opportunities to experience how varied human bodies really are.

In some cultures, nudity is common. Nude beaches, bath houses, and gyms provide regular glimpses of human bodies. 

Here in the US, more and more people are self conscious of their bodies not looking perfect. These days, many kids even avoid showering after gym class so no one sees them naked.

I think we could all use some more exposure to non-sexual nudity.  

Sure, we’re exposed to lots of nudity through sexualized media. But these are actors placed in the most flattering camera angles. They’ve prepped for the scenes, and have gone to great extremes to make sure everything seems perfect.

Because we have little else to compare ourselves to, this kind of exposure can make us feel worse about ourselves. 

sex ed coloring page

Todays project highlights the importance of genital variation.

When I was in art school, I took a lot of figure drawing classes. We all gathered around a live nude model, and spent hours studying their body. 

The best models were the least perfect ones. The more unique their body, the more fun they were to draw.

I think we should view our genitals with this kind of appreciation.

For this reason, I created a coloring page showing the diversity of genitals. It shows how genitals are all made up of the same parts, but put together in different ways. 

First, I showed where all the parts are on each set of different looking genitals, and I talked about why genital awareness is important. 

I told them that most people with access to the internet have seen what genitals look like in porn.

The problem with that is it doesn’t represent the real world. Actors are chosen for their “ideal” bodies so it’s unusual to see much variation beyond the acceptable norm.

Also, video only hits two of your senses: sight and sound. If porn is your main form of sex ed, you may think something’s wrong when you experience touching, smelling, and tasting the real thing.

The kids sat there listening to every word I said. But, I quit while I was ahead and we got to creating some art. 

The only direction I gave was to color the genitals however you want. They could be decorated with polka dots, bright colors, or whatever. Just be creative, and have fun.

The kids were focused while coloring their pages…not much talking going on.

The only comment I heard was someone saying that one of the vulvas looks like an avocado. 

Out of the blue, a random question arises about pregnancy. One of the kids asked me if it felt weird to tell my parents I got pregnant. The concern was that once you admit you’re pregnant, they”ll know you had sex.

Barefaced game sex ed art

This question points to a common reason kids don’t bring up sexuality-related topics with the adults in their lives…they’re worried about getting in trouble. 

Kids need more than just verbal permission…they need the opportunity too.

The main point of artsy fartsy sex ed isn’t to just educate, but also give permission for these types of questions to come up.

The goal is to create a safe space for communicating, then allow it to happen naturally.

There’s a magic that happens when you create an intentional space for talking about sex and sexuality.

You can actually have real conversations with your teen!  


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