Sex. Repeat after us: sex. Do you feel uncomfortable? Are you afraid your parents will find you reading an article with the S-word in it? Totally understandable. Even I had doubts about pitching an article surrounding the topic to my editor in chief because I didn’t know if it would be appropriate. Turns out, she wanted me to talk about it.
So, let’s talk about it. Sex has been around since the beginning of time. The problem is that it’s such a natural thing, yet it creates such a fuss when talked about. Most of us get “The Talk” when we’re young teenagers. And don’t get us started on that uncomfortable anatomy class in middle school where you learn where babies come from. Most teenagers and young adults are sexually active, and they’re still afraid of talking about what they know about sex or what they’ve experienced, and that shouldn’t be the norm.
Before we even start to think of the reasons of this taboo first you need to think to yourself, “Who would you feel most comfortable talking with about sex?” Clearly, the instant answer would be your best friend, not your parents or a professor. Surprisingly, your parents should be the first people you go to when you have doubts about sex from a young age, technically. They did create you, after all. In our society, though, it’s well known that parents hate the idea of their little angels thinking about such obscenities.
There is also the big teen-mom fear, which makes it harder for parents to even imagine their teenagers being involved in. What parents should know, however, is that avoiding the S-word will not make it go away. Kids now want to grow up faster than ever. Eventually they will find a way and a person to do it. The best thing parents can do is openly talk about it so they know that they have someone to count on. Today, we actually have the Internet as a research tool. We don’t really need to talk to anyone, but it’s a taboo to even mention it to anyone other than your BFF.
And what about young adults who don’t even have to care about their parents’ approval? One would think that having The Talk at a young age would take the fear away, but it actually doesn’t. There is also the fear of judgment. We live in a culture full of judgment in every aspect of our lives. Either we are too slutty or big prudes. There is no in between. You don’t often here in a casual group conversation, “So, I had sex yesterday and this happened to me…” There’s a certain level of privacy when talking about your sex life. It’s okay to be a private person, there is nothing wrong with that, but for some people even talking about others’ sex lives or even hear someone mention the word “sex” can be a really uncomfortable situation.
On the flip side, one side of this generation is even more comfortable talking about sex than the other more conservative side. I recently brought up a question about it to one of my friends and she automatically felt uncomfortable and defensive about it (and there’s nothing wrong with that). However, talking about sex and losing your virginity and contraception with my editor over coffee felt like the most natural thing in world.
Admitting you lost your v-card shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, but there’s a lot of stigma around it. We have to keep in mind that the experience and timing is different for everyone. For some people it’s about the right moment, for others it’s about the right person and for a few people it’s about abstinence before anything else. There is no specific time when people decide they’re ready, and we shouldn’t expect that. Sex is a very personal experience that doesn’t fit any one mold. It isn’t black and white.
Sex is a natural process that every human, if they so choose, will experience sooner or later. There are so many topics much more pressing and controversial than sex, yet they’re discussed almost every day. Terrorism, abortion, divorce, stereotypes, racism, gay marriage—the list keeps going. This doesn’t mean they should be controversial topics and comparing them with sex makes the act itself such an out-of-date taboo. Is it so bad to talk about it openly and judgment-free in our society?
Photo by: Jaida Brinkley