Yes, you are not mistaken. We are going to talk about sex. Doing the nasty, making loving, boinking, the good ol’ devil’s tango. There are a million ways to say it, but they all fall under this big umbrella of “sex”.
So, let’s jump in.
I grew up in a pretty openminded household. My parents encouraged discourse and honesty and the nightly dinner table discussion was lively. It ranged from the most recent political scandal to “what would your stripper name be?” (on one night where I was really contemplating the validity of my university degree in the real world). My parents wanted to know about my life and the lives of my sisters out of genuine curiosity and care. It was more than a distracted “How was your day?” over the buzz of background TV noises, it was:
“How were your classes?"
“What did you have for lunch?”
“You had a chemistry test today, right? How did that go?”
My parents worked hard to create a mutual-respect relationship, and it’s helped me in so many ways in my life, because I know whatever problems I have, my parents will help me through it. But despite the lengthy chats about my life, my sisters’ lives and even my friends’ lives, we rarely brought up sex. We talked about peripheral sex topics (i.e. the stripper names) but we never discussed the whole rough and tumble explicitly. My parents would say it’s “not dinnertime talk”. There was no obvious “sex-talk-ban”, my parents play Cards Against Humanity with me, and my dad whips my butt every time.
Here’s the problem though, I didn’t know what to ask, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Part of me was desperate to learn because it was the only topic in my life that was taboo, and I wanted to see behind the curtain. The other part of me knew that at some point in my life I would need to figure out what was going on. However, my perspective on sex was so logistical I was more afraid of getting herpes or getting pregnant than what actually to do when that big moment came (tee hee, pun intended).
Needless to say, I was pretty “blank slate” during my first relationship. I was a bit of a chicken with my head cut off for a good portion of my life there. A lot of my friends hadn’t started having sex and I was kind of foraging my own path, which was terrifying, because all I could think is “MY PARENTS WILL MURDER ME IF I GET PREGGO MY EGGO”. There are lots of things I wish I knew my first time. I wish I knew it was going to hurt. I wish I knew that it’s okay if the first time is awkward. And most of all, I wish someone told me to pee after. You can only imagine my horror when I got a UTI and fully thought I was dying. (Which, if we’re talking about safety and health the whole UTI thing should really be brought up in health class.)
Currently, I always try to talk about sex, with my sisters, with my friends; I try to make sure other people don’t have to walk blindly the way I did. And in all these conversations I’ve had, I’ve realised one thing:
WE NEED TO TALK MORE ABOUT SEX.
And not just sex, but the entire accoutrement. And why? For starters ladies, uneducated sex comes with a lot of negative consequences. I learned recently that a majority of people with STIs are asymptomatic so even if someone thinks they’re clean, they may not be. Plus, Canada doesn’t require STIs like herpes to be reported, so your previous partners don’t need to report them or let you know. Morally they should, but there is no requirement like with syphilis and HIV. And secondly, we’re pretty much all going to do it at some point, so I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to learn about it. Your body set you up to do pretty much three things: eat, sleep and have sex. We talk about eating and sleeping all the time.
And finally, when you start talking about sex and make the softer subjects more palatable, the big conversations become easier too. How can you be expected to discuss consent, orientation and STI testing, when you aren’t comfortable talking about orgasms or masturbation?
It only makes sense to talk about sex. If you turn sex into this big, scary monster of a topic you’re just setting yourself up for a world of disaster; if something becomes a grey area for you, who are you supposed to go to so you can understand what’s black and what’s white?
I’m not saying do or don’t have sex. I’m not saying when or where or with who, that’s none of my business. All those are up to you, but how are you supposed to make informed decisions when you don’t know all the info? Tons of people look up the menu before eating at a restaurant, but when it comes to sex, we just jump in blindfolded and go “I hope this works out!”
So, whether it’s with a partner, your friends, your siblings, or even your parents. I encourage you to rip off the band-aid and embrace the topic that conservatives everywhere are avoiding:
Let’s talk about sex.
From me, with love, to you,