Sex education in the 21st century: Where are you?

Vulva and vagina are the same thing!.. Uhm nope. You didn’t know that either? Well then welcome to the club. This realization occurred to us, Tania & Steffi, when we were 24 and 28 years old. Now we are already one big year older. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are two – supposedly – grown up young cis women. “Supposedly” because we have been in this body for 25 and 29 years, respectively, and are always marveling at new insights. But why is that so? If we start thinking about where the problem might lie, we both immediately think of sex education in school.

Photo Credits: Rosi Offenbach für OH WOMAN

Sex education at school must be modernized

Right before the start of summer break, in 5th grade there are 2 school lessons for sex education. In front of us, a mixed group of students, is our biology teacher, who is heavily sweating. He explains to us how the penis needs to be inserted into the vagina in order to conceive a child. With professionally correct and super ‘dry’ (haha ;)) terms of course. As the class giggles and becomes more and more unsettled, our biology teacher is “brave” enough to use the word SEX instead of intercourse – the class laughs out loud.

At the end of the two lessons, our biology teacher says: ‘I’m going to put some small packages here. Anyone who wants to, may take one.’ What he didn’t tell us is that these are packages with period products. As a result, all the boys ran quickly to the front. They grabbed the packages and threw tampons soaked with water around the classroom. 

Shame and silence reinforce self-doubt

When we both recalled these memories, it was very clear to us: If this is the first experience with information about our body and especially about periods, it is no surprise that we do not engage with it more and deeper. We remember the subject as something unpleasant. A topic that one does not talk about – because otherwise there will be laughter. Although every person has a body and half of all people worldwide menstruate, in other words it’s something very natural, we only talk about it with a certain degree of shame … or simply not at all. And this shame and silence leads to ignorance, which only increases self-doubt.

Early sex education is key – a game the solution

Especially in our youth, where everything changes and we are strongly influenced by our environment and other’s opinions, we, Tania & Steffi, are convinced that it is essential to teach teenagers about their bodies. The sooner they have knowledge about their own body, the more self-confident teenagers can grow up. And the more openly they will talk about it as adults – and with every generation that follows, the taboo will gradually disappear from the scene – in the best case. That’s why we created OH WOMAN®: A game for sex education about the female body and periods.

Playfully learn more about your own body with OH WOMAN®

In general, the purpose of the games is to have fun and relax together with other peole – be it friends, family or colleagues. It creates a relaxed atmosphere. And with it the perfect safe space to talk about topics that are uncomfortable for many people. In addition, OH WOMAN® is an analog game for two people. This means that everyone has a chance to say something. No one is ‘oppressed’ by group dynamics. We not only learning something, but it will create opportunities for further conversations. 

Photo Credits: Rosi Offenbach für OH WOMAN

Knowledge as a driver for a confident generation

Our greatest wish is that future generations will no longer feel ashamed of their bodies – and everything that comes with it. But that they will accept themselves as they are and be proud of it. We are convinced that knowledge gives them this (‘self’) assurance. And thus incidentally dismantles myths and removes the taboo about periods and (female) sexuality! In this spirit: Let the period begin.

Photo Credits Lisa Hantke für OH WOMAN 

Infobox about the game: 

OH WOMAN® is a German game that overcomes common myths about periods and the female body and provides facts. The game is intended to give children from the age of 10 years the opportunity for a positive sex education about periods and the female body – without any shame. From August 24 to October 18, 2020, they ran a crowdfunding campaign on Startnext, which has now been successfully completed. So now the real work is just beginning. From the beginning of 2021 the game OH WOMAN® will be officially available for purchase at – first in only in German, but an English translation is planned. The website allows you to register for a newsletter to receive information about the launch before the general public. With every game sold, they support the German non-profit organization periodensystem to provide menstruating people in need with period products.

The look into your cycle

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December 1, 2020
Steffi Renz (25) und Tania Hernández (29) sind die beiden Inhaberinnen des Designstudios what the fish®. Sie leben und arbeiten in München und haben während des Lockdowns die Idee zu dem positiven Aufklärungsspiel OH WOMAN® entwickelt. | Webseite | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

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