I've had my blog for about five years now, and many of you readers know that I am not the most consistent of posters. I can’t lie--I’m not easily motivated and I’m too easily discouraged. The current state of affairs in America definitely leaves something to be desired for nearly every type of person. I’ve always been a very laid-back, non-confrontational person and discovering how many people aren’t like that really hit me hard. It made me want to crawl into bed and never interact with humans again.
My mother got pregnant with me shortly after turning 18--my father was only 16. Despite this, I was not given a clear explanation of what sex was or how I should deal with it. My father was extremely sexist. He would routinely joke with my younger brother about ‘titties’ and sleeping with sexy women while condemning any interest I had in boys. He did not believe that gay people should be allowed to be together and was adamant that they absolutely should not be allowed to adopt children. He also cheated on my mother. Strangely (and thankfully) enough, I grew up with very opposite views from him. Not everyone who is raised in such an environment is as lucky, and we need proper education so that we can base our thoughts off of fact rather than ignorant opinion.
When I was around nine or ten, my mom sat me down and explained what puberty was, but it didn’t stop me from crying in fear in the nurse’s office when I was eleven, trying to keep quiet on the phone to my mom while my 7th grader-crush sat in front of me. I thought something was wrong with me. I felt ashamed to tell friends that I had gotten my period--I was only eleven, and I felt I was too young. Despite hitting puberty much earlier than my other friends, I didn’t fully develop until well after high school. I didn’t understand why my friends could wear tampons and essentially ignore their periods while I couldn’t get a tampon in, and spent days staying home from school, crying in nausea and pain with the worst cramps imaginable. In high school, I was the ‘prude’ of my friend group. The idea of sex scared me, and if I’m being honest, I really didn’t know what ‘sex’ entailed until I was 17 and a friend of mine explained it in detail. I was the last of nearly all of my friends to have sex, as I was sure that any type of activity would leave me immediately and regretfully pregnant.
Recently, a friend of mine was telling me about an encounter with her boyfriend, in which she made sure they used protection, since it was ‘that time of the month.’ I asked her what she meant by that and she said, “well, you’re most likely to get pregnant while on your period, right?” Keep in mind that this is a young woman in college who grew up in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. How does a person like that grow up so misinformed? Why are schools not leaving us with valuable information about our own bodies? (For those unsure--periods are a cycle. You are most likely to get pregnant during ovulation--which occurs about halfway through your cycle--when you release eggs to be fertilized. If an egg is not fertilized in this time, you eventually shed your uterine lining, which is what we know as our periods. The possibility of getting pregnant while on your period is very, very low, but it is still technically possible.)
To this day, I have friends and family that question my desire to pursue a career that has anything to do with sex. To clear up any misconceptions--sex education does not mean you get to sit around and talk about sexy things all day. It doesn’t mean I want to hear intimate details about the sex you had recently. I’m not having crazy frequent sex with multiple partners. It 100% absolutely doesn’t mean I’m interested in seeing pictures of your penis. It means I’m available when a 17-year-old girl has sex for the first time and doesn’t know how she feels about it. It means I’m here for support and advice when a married couple is having issues keeping the spark alive. It means I’m here to listen and give resources when someone is questioning the gender of the body they are in. I’m mostly straight and in a monogamous relationship. I support the rights of anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA. I believe that our society places a strange emphasis on shaming and outlawing the rights of those who identify as anything other than monogamous/heterosexual while at the same time stigmatizing sex in any form. We want to have the power to deny people marriage and sexual interests, but we don’t want to teach comprehensive sexual education. People want to defund helpful non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood while also asking for abortions to be outlawed and health insurance to be taken away. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t shield children from sexuality in all forms and then be surprised and angry when they grow up confused and uneducated. We can’t teach abstinence and take away health insurance, birth control and clinics and then be mad at teenagers who get pregnant.
David J. Ley’s article, Repairing the Damage of Abstinence-Based Sex Education, talks about how detrimental it is that we leave teenagers to discover sex by watching pornography rather than providing them with the necessary education.
“But when kids have no pragmatic, real-world understanding of what sex is, because sex education provided today has no connection to the modern world of sex, these young people can’t understand that sex involves integrity, communication, personal awareness, and respect, as much or more than it requires genitalia.” --Dr. David J. Ley
With porn comes tons of misconceptions on the who, what, when, why and how. Like Dr. Ley says, we are allowing teens to try to distinguish reality from the fantasy of porn. And that’s what most porn is--a fantasy. Sex is not easy and quiet and perfect. There are noises and smells and secretions. There are different sizes of genitalia, different shapes of bodies. Sometimes it is quick and sometimes it takes a long time. Porn doesn’t show the issues that arise in the bedroom--it only shows how we imagine or fantasize it happening.
And without proper education, kids grow up expecting their fantasies to become their realities. We make jokes about men not being able to find the clit, but we also aren’t even taught where our own clit is located. I’d love to quiz a random group of adults on the names of their own reproductive parts, because I don’t think we were ever taught it again outside of an awkward lesson in my 10th grade health class. I actually asked about birth control in said class and was told they couldn’t tell me anything more than the fact that birth control was an option, but that if I wanted to know more, I needed to ask my parents.
Sex is not a ‘dirty’ thing. If it was as wrong as some people make it out to seem, then why is it necessary for the continuation of the human race? It is a necessary function of our humanity and we need to start accepting that. If we remove the stigma now, we can raise children to be more educated, confident and accepting of themselves and others. That is what I aim to do. And sometimes I will post about things other than straight education--things like sexual toys or products. I do it because it is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have bodies and we all enjoy pleasure in our own ways and there is nothing wrong with that. We need to stop having classes that are abstinence-based because teens ARE having sex. They know that not having sex is an option, but they are choosing to do it. They need to know the right, healthy way to do it.
Starting soon, I will be posting some videos based around sexual education topics. I will be covering the basics as well as any other topics that it seems worthy to discuss. I’ll be talking about anatomy, puberty, sex, pregnancy, etc. I’ve got this great white board and I’m compiling information and working on some diagrams, so hopefully I can hit the ground running with it soon! If you have anything you’d like to hear me talk about, please comment or email me.