Discussion / Event

Published: 19/05/2011

Featuring Ayu Utami (novelist and women activist) and Aquino Hayunta (Aliansi Laki-laki Baru/The Alliance of New Men), this week’s Thursday Discussion (also known as “Kamisan”) discussed Sex Education. This discussion was held on 19 May 2011 at WRI’s Office in Jakarta.

The emphasis on sexual rights actually implicates in the need of correct and complete knowledge and understanding about sex and sexuality. In the midst of society’s way of thought which 1) confronts sexuality with morality and tends to curb sexuality for morality to wield power, 2) alienate sexuality from its connection with basic human rights, and 3) taboo sexuality as a form of knowledge, causing a hypocritical attitude in society concerning sexuality. How is knowledge on sexuality supposed to be built and disseminated? What are the basic principles and cores of knowledge regarding sexuality? Who are the targets of sex education? What is the most possible medium in facilitating the establishment of a complete understanding of sexuality?


  1. The patriarchal basic idea of male sexuality creates a condition that men are superior, dominant, taking control and seeking satisfaction rather than to satisfy (partners). On the other hand, women must be weak, sexually passive with under control reproductive organs to satisfy their partners. 

  2. Sex education is a science that is humane in nature (humanist) that attempts to manage the society in a bid to undermine patriarchal ideas by appreciating and implementing equality, gender justice and minimanizing the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS. 

  3. Sex education can be done in various ways: through literature as an artistic work and tools to communicate in public, or through open discussions that continous to be socialized. 

  4. The main targets of sex education are all layers in the society, starting from school-aged children to the elderly. With the wide targets in introducing sex education, they will be able to develop concepts and ideas about just and equal sex and sexuality, which respect the rights and obligations between men and women.

Presentation Summary

  1. Sex education is primarily needed to maintain good relations between a mother and a father (parents) in an effort to nurture their children. Sex becomes a bridge to establish relationships that provide examples of mutual appreciation, love and respect so that human babies can live independently later on.
  2. Literature is an important communication infrastructure and tool to inform and convey opinion and deliver sex education to the public. Trough literature, sex becomes a beautiful art work, which is also effective to educate people to “open up” and appreciate sex not only as a natural biological need but also a dimension of rights to pleasure or enjoyment.
  3. Through literature, Romo Mangun, a religious figure (father), had been successful in opening the horizons of thoughts that has always been considered taboo: that sex and sexuality have a natural humane dimension dericing from human experience and its existence shall be informed and socialized to other humans in an effort to educate and liberate humanity itself.
  4. In addressing sex and sexuality, there are significant differences between men and women in responding to it. Men tend to respond to sex and sexuality as an object: object to control and please. Women have various responses: some hints disgust, some feel frigid while others feel that sex and sexuality can satisfy their desires.
  5. In the history of men, there is a culture that is hereditary reproduced and reconstructed. It makes them depress if they are unable to fulfill the criterion of real men. There has been excessive obsession of men to appear as tough studs. Eventually, it is difficult for them to see the responsibility dimension of sex, leading to coercion and sexual violence against their partners.
  6. Another factor contributed to the domination of the patriarchal idea to young people is the initiative of adult males (30-60 year old), who may be a father, uncle, brother, friend, teacher, religious leader, etch who act as the holder of patriarchal power.
  7. Offer to provide and disseminate sex education to dismantle the patriarchal constructions must always use the principles of human rights, feminism and democracy to appreciate and respect equality between partners, sexual diversity, mutual relationships as well as non-violence behavior and actions.

Question & Answer

(Q) Could we consider blue film as a mean of sex education?
(A) No, because blue film are made by patriarchal production houses that sustans the myths of maleness. The existing blue films put women as the exploited objects in term of body, voice, thoughts, etc. Women are potrayed to serve and satisfy men only. Women are never shot when they have orgasm or when both partners feel the pleasures. More over, many blue films spread sexual violence and torture of female reproductive organs and body.


(Q) What is the essence of sex education?
(A) The essence of sex education could not be described and defined because sex and sexuality are the results of a human experience of humanity. Sex and sexuality has also the dimension of pleasure, which could not be described by any word available.


(Q) How about the existing sex education, which have been socialized?
(A) The existing sex education has been very normative, mainstream and intended to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseas and HIV-AIDS only. It is better to start the sex education by understanding male and female sexual reproduction organ and how to appreciate human sexuality experiences.


(Q) Who are targets of sex education?
(A) The targets are all, from early age children to grown up people and the elderly. On of the campaign of Aliansi Laki-laki Baru (The Alliance of New Men is starting sex education from “self, surrounding and environment”.


Sex education is a way to disassemble the existing patriarchal constructions in the society. Sex education, however, must use the principles of human rights, feminism and democracy in order to achieve its purpose to develop a gender justice and welfare society.