Welcome to Whatever Wednesday’s mini-series about taboo subjects. This week, we’ll be wrestling with sex. Because that’s obviously at the top of the list. (Shout out to one of my favorite childhood shows for helping me with this.)
The truth about sex is that it is different for everyone. It’s messy and complicated and awkward and crazy and maddening and desirable and gross and surprising and makes weird noises and can happen anywhere and gives confidence and strips away confidence and scary and trembling and forceful and quick and long and short and fat and tall and skinny and grumpy and happy and tearful and sweaty and any and everything.
Just for fun, to start, I need to acknowledge that I really shouldn’t have entitled this “the truth about sex” because it makes me think of this song:
Myths and Misrepresentations:
- “Losing” one’s virginity is a ridiculous phrase.
- The very idea of “virginity” is really confusing. Without getting too graphic, we had a way that we used to determine the validity of virginity in the past and now we’ve realized that it’s not a reputable indicator after all. In addition, if you’re into this – Jesus said that whoever hates has committed murder. Lusting or having sexual thoughts, then, rips a person of their virginity, too.
- If you’re doing it right, it’s a mutual decision. It’s a choice to love someone in a different way.
- “You can’t get pregnant if…” Bullshit. If you are having sex with someone with a different type of set of private parts than you, there is always a chance you will end up making a baby.
Stuff Your Parents (Probably) Won’t Say:
- Sex doesn’t only happen “when a man and a woman fall in love.”
- It happens with groups of people love each other.
- It happens when someone smells good.
- It happens when two men or two women fall in love.
- Judging the sexual expectations, appetites, and interests of others is fruitless. Look inside yourself and see what you like.
- “Safe” sex isn’t just about preventing pregnancy. It involves everyone involved going to the doctor, getting tests run, finding out the results, and adjusting accordingly. There are other options out there besides the one everyone actually talks about. (More about that next week.) However, if it’s not just contraception/birth control that you’re looking at, but actual protection from sexually transmitted infections, you need to look into dental dams (which, from what I’ve heard, is basically Saran wrap – which works in a pinch – as long as you don’t get the microwavable kind).
- (Chicks) Go to your OB/GYN. I know it’s annoying and feels like shit and it’s cold and there are disconcerting diagrams on the walls. I know. Just go when you’re supposed to. Find one you like – or, you know, one you can afford. Your first visit will bombard you with pamphlets and you’ll be like, “I can look all this stuff up online.” It’s okay. They’re tailoring information to your case and know what they’re doing. You need to put your health first.
- Research. It’s not romantic, but it helps more than you can imagine. No, I’m not advocating porn addiction building. I’m telling you to look up what you’re getting into.
- How have others felt about their decisions to have sex?
- What did they feel like after they broke up with that person?
- How can you avoid pregnancy?
- What risks are associated with your choice of birth control?
- At the end of this series, I’ll go ahead and do a post entirely dedicated to sites that are helpful.
Quips that Hold True:
- It’s hard to stop having sex once you start.
- You should be in love with the person.
- Be smart.
- Be honest with yourself.
- No one knows you better than you do.
- While you’re in the research phase, compare yourself to the people whose stories you’re reading.
- Use protection.
- It’s not just a physical thing (usually).
But here’s the thing. Sex shouldn’t be something we fear. I think sex is a private affair*, but that doesn’t mean we should live in ignorance about it. I find it infuriating how many people I know who are having sex – married and unmarried, mind you – and know nothing about it.
Parents, I think it’s fine to teach our unmarried youth that abstinence is the only way to avoid pregnancy and STIs – because it’s the truth, after all – but I don’t think it’s okay to tie abstinence in with morality and self-worth. Not having sex doesn’t make someone better than someone else. It just means they haven’t done something. In addition, connecting virtuosity and virginity has caused many screwed up lives; as if sexual abuse in the forms of rape and child abuse aren’t enough, now they’re less than they might have been. And I get it – when our kids don’t have sex, their breakups are less damaging. I understand that we don’t want our loved ones to get hurt. People end up with screwy sex lives, even having “waited ’til marriage” with a purity ring and the whole bit because they were taught for so long that sex is shameful.
Saying “just don’t” doesn’t change the fact that they probably will, even if it’s in the far-off-someday.
Telling them not to and preaching that they’ll be less virtuous when/if they do will only make them not want to tell you about it when they do. Now, they might not want to anyway – maybe that’s just how they’re wired or maybe you’re actually a little weirdly into talking about sex, so they’re terrified – but having them walk around, hiding things and ashamed in front of you? Do you want that?
The truth about sex is that it’s here to stay. Sometimes it’s here and it’s queer. Sometimes it makes us uncomfortable.
But it’s not going anywhere.
Get over it.
* Pun intended.
For more information on the topics above, you should head over to Planned Parenthood‘s site. I don’t care what your personal vendetta against PP is; they have one of the most extensive and best resources for these things.
Sorry I missed Religious Talk Tuesday yesterday. I just didn’t feel like writing after digging my car out of three feet of snow and getting my butt kicked at physical therapy. I just wanted to eat Ben & Jerry’s. It was delicious.
I hope you liked this installment. Next week’s will be entitled, “The Contraceptionist” and I’ll tell you everything you might want to know about contraception.
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