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Patriarchy & Sexual Health

Patriarchy and Sexual Health

Written and researched by Tomei Kuehl
Accompanying artworks selected in partnership with Talia Cardin, Youth-facilitator to the Youth Sexual Health Program Board


“Patriarchy, like any system of domination (for example, racism), relies on socializing everyone to believe that in all human relations there is an inferior and a superior party, one person is strong, the other weak, and that it is therefore natural for the powerful to rule over the powerless. To those who support patriarchal thinking, maintaining power and control is acceptable by whatever means.”

–  bell hooks

“Patriarchy has no gender.”

– bell hooks

Sex education serves to maintain the social order and reinforce stereotypes in the name of preventing the spread of disease. For example, the early “social hygiene” movement used morality to protect traditional marriage and combat social ills. Many of the sex education teachings assume women have no sexual desire, with procreation being  the only purpose of sex. The goal of sex education was to educate men to protect women (SIECUS, 2021). And the womanhood protected was always white (Shah, 2015). Additionally, men were encouraged to spend time with other men to avoid sexual temptation; however, women were told not to spend too much time together as it would encourage lesbianism.