After my post on how I missed my calling as a sex coach, @lukestokes shared a post of his own on the taboo of talking about sex and posed some great points about why we should talk about it more. I want to share a reason why I believe sex talk shouldn't be taboo. It's a story about a woman in my life who is very important to me and whose life might have been incredibly different if sex had been an acceptable topic in her home.
My friend, let's call her Ray, got pregnant when she was 16. She was an incredibly smart young woman certain to break out of the poverty she was raised in. She has multiple athletic accolades and was being early scouted for university scholarships with thought to her future representing the U.S. in the Olympics. I have never seen anyone sprint like she could. She was gifted across the board, and still is, but she never got her chance as an athlete.
Ray was taught that sex is an all-access pass to Hell and was beaten regularly for being a sexual creature. We used to live quite close to one another. She always guarded her modesty as she was taught, but somehow ended up pregnant by her first boyfriend. Why?
Well, she didn't know she was having sex. Her family considered sexual knowledge in youth as evil as sexual activity. They believed that if you don't know what sex is, you can't do it.
I'm going to say right now that is some stupid, fucked up shit.
Ray didn't know what sex was because she was pulled out of every sex ed class and was made so embarrassed of sex and sexuality that when it came up among friends, she would excuse herself. She had no TV, and books were limited. She didn't even know the names of the parts of her body. Like me, she was taught to ignore/be afraid of everything lower than the belt. So when she was making out with her boyfriend and he made his way up her skirt and inside her, she didn't look. She just wondered why making out hurt so much. And when she started throwing up and told another friend she missed her period, the girl made fun of her until she realized Ray had no idea she was pregnant.
"Stop playing," was what we told Ray.
She wasn't kidding around though. She was serious. She swore she'd only made out with her boyfriend. We asked her what making out meant and she described sex. Can you imagine how horrified she was? She was going to Hell AND she was having a baby.
Poof! All her scholarship opportunities disappeared. She did manage to make it through high school. Determination got her through college. Now she manages a successful business she help set up, but those intervening years were unkind. She did not get to follow her dreams.
We can't say she wouldn't have had sex and gotten pregnant if she had known what sex was, but I guarantee you she would have used protection had she known it existed or how sex worked.
Her sex education was sex, and hers is not the only story like this I know. Many women I've worked with were molested or raped without knowing what was happening because talking about their bodies and knowing the difference between sexual touch and nonsexual touch isn't part of their lives.
We need to know what sex is, how to protect ourselves during it, what the parts of our body are, what types of sexual touch there are and what other acts are sexual versus nonsexual in order to be able to make decisions about sex and our bodies.
What do you wish you had known about sex before you had it?
images from pixabay.com