Although your political views may vary from mine, and we may disagree with how and when and where this education takes place, I hope we can agree that it is currently flawed. Here is one way that I think it is flawed.
I came from a fairly progressive and open family when it came to talking about sex. And yet, I was still incredibly unprepared. Sure, I understood various types of contraception, and could list the dangers of STDs, but the language used to educate me actually set me up for failure.
All thoughts are my own based on my own experiences.
However, I hope that you will read these and start to think about how the language your community used did in fact form your perception and expectation of sex - even if it was completely unintentional.
Unfortunately for the sake of well-rounded discussion, my sexual experiences and education have only revolved with heterosexual relationships. So my examples will be inherently biased, but I hope it starts an important conversation. I would love to hear any views and experiences that are different from mine, so please comment below!
Okay, So let's get into it. Here are some of the comments that surrounded my sexual education:
- All boys think about is sex
- Boys only want you for sex
- Your body will only ever mean one thing to them
- If you let them kiss you, they will want more
- Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free
- Men think about sex every 20 minutes
- Sometimes you just have to lie there
I see a ton of problems with these assumptions, but I'm going to focus on just one in this post:
the language that we use in sex education teaches children that boys should always want you, and if they don't, you must not be sexy
Sure, I believe that the media has completely distorted and, in some way, control what we think is "sexy" or "desirable".
But, it's not just those "bad guys" like marketing executives, fashion photographers, and Victoria Secret models. It's our parents, our teachers, our older siblings, and our best friends. It's anyone who has ever spoken to you about sex.
And the words they chose created a particular image and expectation of sex
It's the image of the guy walking a girl home, asking to come inside, and the girl turning him down. That's a simple image that everyone has seen.
It's the assumption that the guy will always want to "seduce" you at the end of the date - he will always want your body, and as a woman, you're going to have to get comfortable turning him down. And when he leaves, he's still going to be grinning, he's still going to be thinking about you in that way, and he's still going to feel great about his evening.
No one ever talks about the reverse situation
They never talk about how humiliating it feels to be turned down when you offer him some intimate physical affection. They don't talk about the complete loss of self-worth when he says "not right now." And they certainly don't prepare you with the skills to shake it off.
The truth is, men don't always want sex! Just like women don't always want sex!
But that is never the conversation.
I have dressed provocatively, blown out my hair, and spritzed the right perfume so many times, and the majority of the time, I get turned down by my Significant Other. In my head, I know he loves me, I know he finds me attractive and sexy, but when he doesn't jump my bones the instant I approach him completely naked, I shatter. And he doesn't flat out insult me! He's always incredibly kind. But no matter how gentle the "let down" is, it hurts like hell. I am sent spiraling into a few days of sweatshirts, ice cream, and no showers.
Yes, part of that is my nature. Part of that comes from my own expectations and my own self-doubts. (Check out my post here about how expectations almost ruined my marriage.) I have to take responsibility for my own self-worth.
But, I believe I was set up to fail. I was set up because of the language that educated me about sex and intimacy in the first place.
My dad had a sort of mantra - "Boys are bad. God is good. Men are pigs."
Although completely unintentional, this shaped how I viewed men and how I expected them to act.
We have to be careful how we talk about sex within our community. Whether it's just chatting with your friends, or sitting your kids down for the "birds and the bees" conversation, chose your words very carefully and understand that what you say does make an impact on someone else's life.