From abstinence-only education to strictly heterosexual sex ed, it's no secret that America is failing its youth when it comes to informing them about sex and sexuality. So in honor of Pride, we invited Queer Eye's Karamo Brown to sit down with us for a chat about all things sexual health.
In this episode of Broadly Hotline, Brown opens up to us about his own personal journey learning to communicate about sex with not only his partners but also himself. "I don't think I got to a place where I understood how to communicate what I needed until I was in maybe my mid-twenties, late-twenties," he says. "I remember feeling obligated to do things that I thought my partner needed. My self-esteem told me, if you don't do what they want, they're not going to want to stay with you."
Brown and host Bunny Michael also discuss the ways in which our emotional and spiritual health are often left behind in conversations about sex, and give advice to hotline callers on talking about sex with our friends, partners, and other people in our lives.
"Having conversations with your partner about sex is hard, it's difficult, but it also really improves a relationship," says Michael. "I like to say when you're somebody's partner, you're their safe space. So be that safe space for them, and they can be that for you too."
Brown also shares his first sexual experience with a man, one which he says he now recognizes as unhealthy. "I had watched pornography that made me think that as a gay man, this is how my sexual experience was supposed to be."
Unfortunately, like Brown, many of us have similar experiences having to unlearn incorrect notions about sex that were ingrained in us in our youth. In the future, Brown has hopes that people will have access to better role models and education when it comes to sex. "I just hope that queer people now will have more examples and that they're starting to learn that certain things that are put out there, you don't have to do," he says.
This article originally appeared on Broadly.