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 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?"
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
|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/