Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Let's Talk About Sex Baby"

Ok, for my American counterparts, I have that really awful song by Salt N' Pepa running through my head. "Lets talk about sex baby, lets talk about you and me, lets talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, lets talk about sex."

Last night I ran a support group for sexual assault survivors, and the topic was sex. It was really interesting to hear what everyone was feeling. I think we can all agree that society has placed such standards on us in terms of sex. What is expected of us, what is not expected of us, what is, and is not appropriate, its a lot of pressure to live within the guidelines! One move in the wrong direction and you might be stamped with a rather unattractive label.

So, let's talk about sex.

Back in the day, before my ex husband had me un enrolled from college, I was a double major in journalism and, get this, psychology (its always the most messed up people, isn't it?) And get this even more; not just psychology, nope, I was specializing in human sexuality. Yep. The "I was a virgin until I got married and then never actually had sex, just got raped right off the bat, and didn't even know I was getting raped" girl, was educating herself in human sexuality. That's me people. I'm lucky I'm pretty because I can be a bit of a dim light. I was actually doing so well in school that I was on a full academic scholarship, had gotten my first choice placement for my clinical's, and now I clean houses. Lovely. But I digress.


I'm really open about sex. Almost too open some would say, which is funny, because I'm not having any. Growing up in my house, the only sex education I received was the abstinence lecture at school and the promise from my parents that if I ever had sex before marriage, upon penetration, Satan himself would emerge from hell, rip the soul directly from my body, and drag it back down with him where I would burn for all of eternity.

Although, because I never actually believed anything my bat shit crazy parents told me, I had quite a bit of fun in high school. I worked at a family fun center with those playland tubes you can climb in (wink wink), but I never took it as far as "actual" sex. I knew, even then, that I was a messed up person. That I really didn't know what it meant to be loved or respected, and I couldn't imagine throwing sex and all of those emotions into the mix.  I didn't want to confuse sex with love, and I was very much still in survival mode at that time, desperate for love. I couldn't allow myself to be fooled into thinking that when someone wanted my body, that they also wanted my heart. To protect my heart, I never allowed for my body to be an option.

I'll never forget the first day of my very first human sexuality class. We all sat there, nervously flipping through the text book, and most of us had our jaws on the floor. The book was nothing short of clinical porn. Page after page of everything from "how to" guides, to positional pictures, medical diagrams, and cultural theories. The professor walked in, and in big letters wrote "PENIS" on one side of the dry erase board, and "VAGINA" on the other side. He looked at us and said "when I count to three I want everyone in this room to yell "PENIS" as loud as you can. Then we are all going to yell "vagina." Ok?"

Clinical Porn

He counted to three, and then he, and he ALONE, yelled "PENIS" as loud as he could. Not a sound, not even a breath came out of any other single human being in the room. I'm not even sure anyone blinked.

"Yep, that's what I thought" said the professor. Every several years when I get my new group of students, you all sit there like you have never in your life uttered a single sexual syllable. That's not going to fly in this class. How are you going to work with patients if you, yourself, are uncomfortable?"

He then proceeded to go around the room and make each of us say out loud, a term referring to our genitalia, to which he would write under its appropriate label on the board. I was mortified, we all were, but that didn't stop him. He just kept going around the room, over, and over again. If someone would get stumped, he would remind us that he had been to college, and he knew every term out there that we threw around as slang. We watched the board go from representing clinical terms, to something you would see written on a bathroom wall, to straight out raunchy porn. As it transformed, so did we. We were laughing. We were falling out of our chairs from laughing so hard, and tears were streaming down our cheeks.

That was the most interesting two years of my life. It's like the beginning of every college joke out there, "I studied sex in college." Aside from everything we learned about the psychology of sex, culture, gender, and reproduction, we did a lot of other totally whacked out I cant believe we did that educational things. You see, some of us would go on to become therapists that dealt with psychological sexual issues, and some of us would go on to become sex therapists who dealt with physical sexual problems either individually or in the context of a relationship. So not only did we have to learn the psychology of sex and gender, we had to learn about sex and the human body. We watched surgical video's that documented gender transformations. Our guest speakers were swingers, sex workers, health department employees, and one really awesome drag queen. Class presentation "speeches" included demonstrating (fully clothed) sexual positions, masturbation techniques, and performing the correct technique for measuring penis size. We tasted differently flavored condoms and manhandled more vibrators than I even knew existed. We threw a sex toy party, in class! We had homework assignments that involved mirrors and our own bodies. We were routinely paired up with a partner of the opposite gender and asked to do things such as give a detailed description as to what exactly we felt during orgasm. Let me tell you, after you have practiced giving a blow job demonstration to a medical mannequin in front of thirty people, you can pretty much give a speech about anything. We talked about circumcision in Africa in horrific detail. We talked about cultural differences in the way sex is viewed. We talked about everything from the phallic structures in Britain to Greek mythology. We attended sexual coercion seminar's, gay rights events, and we worked with rape victims. Any bashfulness I had about sex was gone, and I learned to fully embrace my body. That's probably a big reason why it felt so natural to start teaching my bedroom body strip class to other survivors. Our sexuality is such a huge part of who we are, everyone deserves to feel proud of theirs.

Why yes, this is right from the book

So here we are today. I'm not embarrassed to say that I'm a fairly sexual person. I know what I have, I know how to use it, and as an added bonus, I know how to use what my partner has! Possibly better than he does! I wouldn't consider myself a whore, probably because I don't think whore's exist. I don't just undress for anyone, but when I want too, I'm ok with it. I have no problem rolling around in the sheets until the sun comes up, but I never take it as far as sex.

I still feel like I'm in high school, afraid to intertwine my feelings of love, with "actual" sex. I have so many friends who sleep with a multitude of guys, and they have absolutely no attachment feelings what so ever. I'd like to say that I could do that, seeing as how I run through my dates like congress blows through money, but I don't know.

I'm thirty years old, I've been raped by two different men, and I've only had consensual sex with one person. That's a lot to take in. Two thirds of my intercourse history were traumatic, and the last one third broke my heart. Yikes. Where to even begin dealing with that mess.

To add to that, even if I was the most emotionally stable person out there, I still don't think I would want to be having sex. To me, the actual intercourse part of sex is extremely intimate. I don't want to be sharing that part of me with multiple people, so I am chosing to keep that for the context of a serious relationship. I know that makes me sound like a prude, and I don't care! My body, my choice.

My friends nag me RELENTLESSLY about my lack of sex. "Get it done girl" is texted to me by multiple people every time I go out, which is funny, because they are also the one's saying "I can't believe you did that" when I tell them of a latest sexual escapade.

But you know what? Like I said before, I don't care. I. Don't. Care. So I'm not ready to let my lady bits hug every dick in town. Big whoop dee doo. Get over it. It just goes to show how judgmental society is in terms of sex these days. If you are not having any, you are a prude. If you are having too much, you are a whore. If you are doing it black and white missionary style you are boring. If you are doing it anywhere but the bed, you are trashy. You can't win, really you can't. Unless you are doing exactly the same thing as the person you are talking too, they are probably going to have a judgement about it.

Have you ever accidentally taken the label off of a tin can, and then had no idea what was inside of it? You can't put a label on something when you don't know what is inside. Why then, does society feel like they are allowed to put labels on people, when they have no idea what is inside of them?



So I'm not having sex. Who cares? Get over it. So I like to have fun? Who cares! I have cute little body, and I like to make it feel good. I also like to make the bodies of others feel good. And guess what? I'm pretty damn good at it. (Did she just say that!? Oh no she didn't. YES SHE DID.)

I have the right to decide for myself, what I want my body to do. There is not a single solitary person out there that has a right to pass judgment on the choices that I am making. So guess what? I like to be naked. I like to mess around. I am still every bit as smart, witty, charming, and worthy now, as I was before I made that statement. But if I were to reduce all that I am down to a label based on my sexual history and the standards of society, I am probably a slutty prude.

I'm not a whore, and I'm not a slut. I don't even kiss on the first date. Usually not the second either. Sometimes not even the third. I make them work for it! But if I decided to strip down for some dude on the first date, there is nothing wrong with that. I still wouldn't be any less of a worthy human being because of it, no matter what society says otherwise.

Don't let anyone else make you feel bad for doing what you want, with something that you own. You don't tell them how to watch their TV do you? It's your body. You get to set the standard. You get to set the rules. You get to make the choices. You get to decide what does, and doesn't feel good. Don't let any man, woman, or any part of society, pressure you to change the way you feel.

I'm not ready to have sex yet. I don't want to have sex. When I'm ready or decide that I want to, then I will have sex. Until then, I will continue with my non intercousal sexual adventures. I enjoy them. The end.

So there it is folks. A peek into the mind of a chronic over-sharer. Whatever standards you have set for your own body and sex, accept them, they aren't wrong. They aren't bad. You don't need to hide them away, and you don't need to defend yourself from things that aren't wrong. You deserve more than to carry around the burden of shame that society tries to force on us no matter what our choices are.

It's your choice. It's your right. It's your body.

Don't let anyone else pressure you to feel a certain way over a choice that was never theirs to begin with.

Accept and love what you have, and above all, be proud. No one is going to be as proud of what you have, as you are.

Don't wait for society to tell you that you are beautiful, or you're going to be waiting for a really long time. Don't miss out on the opportunity to love and embrace the beauty that you are. You are only as beautiful as you feel, and I can assure each and every one of you, that you are gorgeous.

Stand firm by the choices that you make, for you owe it to yourself to believe in who you are.

Be proud my beautiful people. Not only do you have so much to offer the world, but you have the world to offer to yourself.

You set the standard for respect, by what you expect.

Let your tin can shine bright people. The only person that gets to label you, is you.





Photo Credit Cans:http://www.flickr.com/photos/22326055@N06/

33 comments:

  1. Love this post! As a recovering sex addict, I have tons of questions about "what does healthy sex look like for me?" I still don't know the answer, but I love this perspective. Thanks for being a chronic over-sharer!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

      Sex, man, why does it have to be so emotionally complicated lol!

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  2. A question: Have you ever considered going back to school and finishing that degree? Talk to the college admissions office and tell them your story before you say, "But I have no money."

    Because you have a lot of insight to offer prospective clients, a lot more than someone who's never been where you've been.

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    1. Aw thanks.

      I have thought about it, a lot. I just can't figure out when I would have time. Either of those two career choices not only require school, but clinical or intership hours that would take the place of my job. I wouldn't be able to support myself and my kids, and with having no family to help out, I couldn't figure out how to make it work. :(

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    2. I have been thinking about the exact same thing. Because you would be absolutely TERRIFIC as a therapist! You have so much insight and compassion! I don't know much about the welfare system in the US (apart from them not doing enough for their people), but isn't there a way you could be supported for the time of your education?

      And do not think about it as taking welfare or accepting help.

      1. You should have been helped by CPS long ago. If they had done their job, you wouldn't have to worry about things now. They can very well pay you back for that.

      2. Even though it's true, you do accept money for the time being, you can give so much more back afterwards: in working a proper job, helping people there, providing for your children without any help and sustaining yourself!

      3. Last, but by no means least, although I already mentioned it: Your kids. Not only can you provide for them easier. You also (already are, I'll admit that) set a shining example of not letting anything get in your way.

      But seriously, you not working as a therapist is such a loss for everyone.

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    3. Oh, and by the way:

      You absolutely would deserve it. Because you are worth it. :)

      Just to remind you of what you wrote last Friday. That post broke my heart, because I know the feeling of thinking you're worthless and undeserving. But you KNOW you're not.

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    4. I'm flattered that you guys think so highly of me and have such faith that I could help anyone. Shocked to be honest haha!!

      You guys always know how to boost my self esteem :)

      It is definitely something worth looking in to. I'm working so hard to get my not for profit up and running, but it could only help to be a little bit more psychologically trained, right?

      You guys might be on to something.,..

      Thank you for your faith in me :)

      HUGS!!!

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  3. This is so timely. I was pondering last night exactly this subject. It is not fair for anyone to be labeled as strictly either a slut or a whore, and to me the really messed up part of this is that they are both pejoratives. Nobody wants to be either.... Also, does it not seem that far, far too much of time it is another female applying the label?

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    1. That's ironic! I agree, it tends to be the femails more than the men. It also sucks that its the women who tend to get labeled. If a man has sex with everyone, he gets high fived. If a woman does, she gets shamed. So sad.

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  4. I love this post.

    It's so unfortunate that society is obsessed with putting labels on people. What a person does with his or her own body is nobody else's business (mandatory disclaimer: providing they're consenting adults and not hurting anyone). It boggles my mind how much people cling to labeling others. Are they uncomfortable with themselves and the only way they know how to handle that discomfort is to put others down? I have no idea. Why the freaking obsession with labels?

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    1. People love to judge others because it makes them feel better about themselves. If someone is insecure, what better way to feel better, than by feeling like you are better than someone else? Its ridiculous, but it happens. I think people also tend to throw labels on things they can't or don't want to understand bc it scares them. Its unsettling to have your view point changed, so if you label it as a negative, you don't have to really except it. :(

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  5. Curious - how did you get into college if you had a lot of trouble in high school? And where did you go to college?

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    1. I only really had trouble my freshman year, because I never went to class. I pulled it together my sophmore, junior, and senior year. Senior year I had to take a double course load because I had failed all my freshman classes, but my grades for the last three years were good enough to balance out my GPA. I also did well on my ACT and SAT tests so that helped.

      I started out at a community college and then transfered to another school not far from where I live.

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  6. This is a beautiful but difficult read. I don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" way to do sex--it's individual and it just has to feel good and make you happy. I wish there weren't so many social stigmas surrounding sex, but I'm also thankful for honest, unflinching writers like you.

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    1. Hopefully one day the stigma's will be gone. But until then, I'm still not keeping my mouth shut ;)

      Hugs!

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  7. Hi, I was abused too. I don't want to say exactly how because it is laughable and nobody believes me when I say it. I hate myself a lot and rage against other people a lot. I hate myself for putting myself into the position, and the ongoing abuse... not really ongoing, but it happened for a long time, and everybody pretended to be understanding and investigate, but there was no evidence and everybody got off free, and i was left with the reputation of egotistical/ paranoid/ accusing/ neurotic/immature/irresponsible/every bad adjective etc. i mean, i AM left. this was a little less than a year ago... it still comes up from time to time, and EVERYBODY behaves as if it is settled that I was wrong (and oh how understandable) and nothing bad ever happened, and it INFURIATES ME and then I want to rage and cry/cut myself/ die. I can't do. I got accused of things once they all decided that nothing had actually happened, kind of like how you were accused of being suggestive in the first place after you got raped. They, especially the ones who think they are understanding, try to convince me/suggest to me that I am wrong. I may have been wrong in a couple details, but the majority of what I said was RIGHT, and now that the perpetrators are off, they get to ridicule me some more. Wow, that makes it black and white: I am right and wronged, or I am delusional. Either way I hate myself. I hate everybody else too. I have nothing, and it was my own fault for ruining what I had.

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    1. Oh hun, I work with survivors and I have unfortunately heard it all. There is nothing you could tell me that would shock me at this point. I myself went to the police when my ex was raping me, and was told that since we were married it wasn't rape. WRONG.

      You aren't alone. Screw everyone else. Hold your beautiful head high. You know the truth, and the most important person to you, is you.

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    2. Oh, thank you, and I'm very sorry about your rape. So you are so obviously smart and beautiful and funny.

      I have one thing I am wary about, which is that I will become arrogant if I think "screw everybody else", and i also need other people to live. And, maybe it WOULD be better to say, you're right, nothing ever happened, i am wrong etc., to improve relationships with the people who think they are helping me? and also to help myself? i don't know what the right thing to do is... it would be far easier to forgive if it were already acknowledged that it DID happen, but on top of forgiveness there is the basic acknowledgment that the abuse took place... so i guess denial is another abuse. but in the case that nothing really happened (everybody says so, i absolutely disagree), i am the actually destructive person, the false accuser, who is the one who "won't let things go", who ruined herself over nothing, who hurt other people's feelings. they think they make me feel better by saying nothing happened! I lose either way...I have no control either way.

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    3. Sorry, I saw you comment, and I couldn't help but pay attention. You see... I was never abused. I also count with supportive parents and family, and excellent friends. But I know people who were abused, and I know how hard they struggle. I also know that most people don't like to hear this kind of thing, don't want to stay close to a person who endured this kind of situation. Because they feel bad and they will rather deny it than do something about it. It's easier to say to a sister "you provoked him with your attitude" than "I will do something about it". Abuse rocks the very foundations of our relations, because we can't believe that "this guy is a monster, he seems so cool". And it's easier let someone deal with their problem alone than cause a big problem for everyone. I know that, because when I stand up for my friend, I was attacked too. Since I'm commenting anonymously... so I guess it's ok to share - she was drunk, a guy that some friends knew (friend of friends) drive her home... but well, she woke up in another place, with him. She didn't remember a thing, but she had a boyfriend. Even if she didn't had a boyfriend, it would be wrong. People were afraid to break with him because "he was so cool" and "she is the bitch". For me, he can be cool in the hell. So... I know that you live with other people. I didn't feel how it is bad, but I witnessed it. And its painful to see how people can be selfish. I'm very sorry for you and I hope you find better friends. If they can't stand by your side, if they can't see that you are the victim, and you should receive their assistance, so you can just let them go. I understand that you may not be able to do that at once, but slowly... find better friends. People who deserve your friendship and can be trusted - and By that I mean people who have good moral standards, that won't let someone to suffer alone an injustice because its more comfortable for them. And see... if their opinion doesn't change it's not your fault. It's theirs.

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    4. I hate how complicated rape and abuse gets. In my totally unprofessional opinion, I wouldn't deny that it happened. To deny something that you know happened, is to deny yourself. YOU are the most important person in your life.

      You say you need those people, and I know how that feels, but something terrible happened to you, and they aren't there for you. That makes the support that you think you "need" from them, just a facade. :(

      I agree with the above commentor, it is easier for others to deny that it happened than to acknowledge it, bc to acknowledge it means they have to accept a horrible truth, and should feel compelled to help you, which may mean some uncomfortable conversations or life/relationship changes for them. People like to avoid things that make them uncomfortable, so they deny it and hop on the bandwagon with everyone else. They don't have to deal with the horrible aftermath, and they don't have to go up against anyone else.

      As horrible as it might feel to fight against everyone now, the situation will pass. But to deny yourself will stay with you forever.

      Sending you big hugs hun, I know this sucks :(

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  8. I feel like you literally read one of my recent blog posts and answered it for me, lol. Thanks for this lady. This really helped a lot with all the warbled thoughts in my head. <3

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    1. Aw thats great!! I'm glad this helped you out :) Makes me happy!!

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  9. This is the a great post! I love your entire blog but this post is really close to my heart. I'm a very open person sexually and have been getting grief for it my entire life. I've been called all kinds of a slut even though I was not sexually active until adulthood just because I'm the world's biggest flirt. The joke in my family is that I came out the womb and batted my eye at the doctor, lol.

    I also love dancing mostly latin and straight up "need to be on a pole" type moves, lol. It took a lot for me to re-claim my sexuality/body and become comfortable with everything I wanted in bed. I'm in a wonderful relationship and my husband rocks, he's the most open non- judgemental guy I have ever met which helps.

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    1. Had to chuckle at the family joke. That is funny :)

      Be proud of what you've got honey! I'm so happy you have found a man worthy to share it with :)

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  10. BRAVO!!! I loved this post! It's very freeing.

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  11. Hello again NMSTB, Would I be out of line if I asked for a definition of what is considered sex and what is not? From what I have read here, I get the feeling that you might be using, at least a bit of, the Clintonian (no cigars please...) dictionary of what and what does not constitute a sex act. To cut to the chase, I'm reading (interpreting) that everything short of penetration gets a pass. There is nothing judgmental in my question; it's just how my mind works ( inquiring minds like mine wanna know!). Respectfully, Harry D.

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    1. I know that there are different forms of sex, but what I prefer to abstain from right now is penetration sex. Good gosh, the info that you share on line......never thought I would say that to someone where the entire world can hear it.

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  12. P.S. I'm glad that your real life nite-mares haven't destroyed your ability to enjoy this important part of living a happy life.

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  13. "But if I were to reduce all that I am down to a label based on my sexual history and the standards of society, I am probably a slutty prude."

    Said every woman ever. Right on.

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