OMG! She just said that three letter word!!!
Yes, I did.
Why don't we talk about sex more? And I don't mean in a slutty, porn-focused, threesome way. I mean in a calm, sophisticated, mature adult way.
My first job was at an adult toy store. I had lived a very sheltered life, dated little, and rarely cursed. In the 90's we didn't have non-stop access to social media and Google, so I knew little about sex aside from what I had heard from friends and watched on TV.
At the time I applied for this job, I had dated for a year, recently lost my virginity, and was still figuring out how to keep my eyes closed while kissing.
So at 18, against the better judgement of my parents, I walked into a high-end boutique adult toy store in the heart of Rockville, MD, dressed as though I had just entered a convent, and asked for a job. I laugh about it now, but I brought my resume along with me. Who knew that "sexpertise" (or lack thereof) wasn't something you could fit on a resume.
I was hired immediately. The manager loved my innocent, yet outgoing personality. I was wet behind the ears, learned more about sex than I ever wanted to know in those first days on the job, and left two months later to find a more fulfilling career that would offer me more growth potential. (No pun intended).
I'm far from innocent these days and I have tried to forget most of the stories heard from customers (especially the one from my math teacher, who happened to walk in one day while I was working), but I learned so much from those two months.
Yes, I learned the obvious lessons, like how to choose the right dildo, how to pick a material that won't irritate your insides, and that there are toys for him, too. But I also learned more important lessons, like sex is healthy, talking about sex brings couples closer together, and masturbation won't make you lose your eyesight. In fact, masturbation builds confidence, offers you the opportunity to explore what pleasures you, and allows you to better direct and advise your partner.
So the question I pose is, "why don't we talk about sex?"
We teach kids and teenagers how to have protected sex, prevent STDs, and encourage them to wait until they're older. In fact, we shove it in their face....all the negative stuff.
My mother sat me down with index cards and drew pictures of the fallopian tubes to teach me about baby-making at the age of nine, before I learned it from the health teacher, or fellow students. But nobody taught me about enjoying sex for more than baby making, exploring different positions with a partner, the importance of open communication, or the benefits of masturbation.
I remember being told by a number of adults that masturbation was for people not in a relationship. Fortunately, I have since learned that they were full of ______. Obviously their own upbringings sheltered them from a healthier relationship with themselves.
Instead of learning these things from a trusted parent, or mentor, teens learn from magazines, books, and movies. And now they're learning from YouTube, snapchat and Lord knows what else!
Because we don't talk about sex, it becomes something shameful, hidden, and negative. No wonder we struggle to find fulfilling relationships as we get older. We've been basing a healthy sex life on what we see in the movies, which is all-too-often an altered reality.
Then there's the topic of same sex relationships. Movies don't depict them well. Usually there are two straight women cast as a lesbian couple who are both so hot that they should be on the front page of Playboy magazine. Let's be honest - same sex couples in movies are cast to meet the needs of heterosexual men.
What about gay men? Aside from Brokeback Mountain, mainstream media rarely depict them.
So where are teenagers who are attracted to the same sex supposed to learn about healthy sexual relationships? Why aren't same-sex topics covered in school? No – talking about gay sex in school will not make your straight kid gay, but it will help the gay kid feel more supported and it will educate your straight kid on acceptance and diversity.
And what about the transgender kid who experiences gender-dysphoria and has no idea how to even address the world of intimacy? Who's teaching this teenager?
Some of you by this point may have a funny feeling in your belly as you read this, be annoyed by my words due to guilt or your religious upbringings, or defensive about your parenting skills. And others may agree with me, want to jump on a sex bandwagon, or wish you hadn't been missing out your entire life. Wherever you are at this point in your life, it's ok.
But something's got to give. Tuesday was National Coming Out Day, so it got me thinking about being our authentic selves in all aspects of our lives. So why not bring the topic of sex out of the closet?
I don't classify myself as a sexpert. Two months at a toy store doesn't equate to a degree on human sexuality. I am also not a therapist, or a social worker. But I do know that most couples fight about three main topics: kids, money, and SEX!
The irony? These are the three things we learn little-to-nothing about in school, but they are the most difficult topics to address in a relationship.
It's time to be authentic. Sex is such a big part of who we are and how we make connections with those we love. It's how we get to know ourselves better, show love to ourselves, and build confidence in our bodies.
When we talk about living a healthy lifestyle, or promoting positivity, that means in all aspects of our life. Sex is part of that. So, let's talk about sex!
"I have taken several of Rachel's workshops! All of them have been educational, challenging and enjoyable. The most recent "Reshaping You" workshop has helped me with my mental, emotional and physical aspects of becoming healthier! Rachel is a great motivator! Thanks!" - C.K.
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