They told me next to nothing, well, except how to understand my period. That I grasped fully ’cause it was presented to me in great detail – first at home, then at school, and then reinforced at home. I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like if the entire sexual spectrum had been approached that openly and comprehensively.
Unfortunately, I’m not alone. When I ask women, “What did your parents/pastors/teachers (outside of sex ed) tell you about sex?” The answer is typically, essentially, “Nothing.” Of course, we know there were variations of the admonition not to have sex until some threshold of readiness – 18 years old, college, at least engaged, married, self-sufficient (“out of my house . . .”), etc. Technically, then, it was not nothing.
Nothing means no one helped her understand her urges and how to handle them realistically, especially if she is supposed to abstain until she’s married. (Realistic management of sexual urges does NOT include keeping an aspirin between our knees.) No one allowed space for her to like girls instead of boys or to like both rather than one or the other. No one prepared her for all the ways boys have for trying to overcome her objection to sex. Nothing means they said, “Just don’t do it.”
Of course, they are our parents, pastors, and teachers. Their silence means that we learn a whole lot about sex from friends, siblings, love interests, TV, movies, books, and popular songs – and what we make up, I mean conclude, in our young imaginations. The problems with understanding and embracing sexuality in our culture are at the feet of the people initially charged with our education, the authority figures. If they present balanced and holistically healthy lessons and options regarding sex and sexuality, any misguided and/or biased information we receive from other sources will not stand an influential chance.
What did they tell you?
What are they telling you now?
What do you say?
(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc