Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, sex and sexuality is a very pertinent part of becoming who you are. Adolescence is probably one of the most trying times when it comes to sexuality as it is a time of exploration, discovering, and learning who you are physically, emotionally, and mentally. Discovering your sexuality is not something that should be frowned upon or seen in a negative light. Society uses scare tactics when it comes to educating young people about sex, sexuality, STIs, and reproduction in hopes that it will in some way deter their need and or want for sex when in actuality, it’s impossible. Sex is something that is natural and part of being human. Whether we choose to disguise or satisfy them, they are there and ignoring such does more harm than good.
When I was younger, sex is not something that I was eager to partake in. I was always taught it is best to wait until you are married to engage in sexual activity, but if I felt as though I would soon become sexually active to reach out, but that is very hard to do when you don’t know who to go to or who to trust. I knew my mom was someone that I could turn to, but I did not know if I wanted to because she is not the easiest person to talk to in uncomfortable or uneasy situations. I wouldn’t say I was lost when it came to sex, but since it was not something that was a priority or important to me at the time I put it in the back of my mind and put my energy toward other things. I did not think knowing all of the ends and outs of being sexually active would really affect me. I knew when it was time for me to know I would find out. I knew about puberty, menstruation, hormones, anatomy and physiology and to me that was all I needed. I mean I wasn’t even interested in any of the guys at my school in a sexual way, so it was okay for me not to be well versed in sexual education, or so I thought. It was in 8th grade when that all changed. It’s crazy how much a person can influence and change your entire outlook on life and totally make you reevaluate what you think you knew.
In 8th grade I met a guy who changed everything I thought I knew or wanted to know about sex. All the hormones and urges I heard everyone talk about I finally felt. All the feelings of butterflies and uneasiness I was told about were something that I experienced. In the back of my mind I was still frightened at the thought of even letting this man kiss me, but I knew I wanted more, especially when I found out we would be attending the same high school. By time we were both freshman, we were “dating” for a year. (I only use quotes because how is it even possible for us to even really date when neither one of us had vehicles nor was I supposed to have a boyfriend until I turned 16…oops.) By time I was a freshman, most of the sexual education I had received consisted of wait until marriage, abstinence is the only way not to get pregnant or contract and STI, and having sex is a bad thing. Those are the only three things I remember being emphasized from not only the educators at school, but other adults in my life including my mother whose main concern was pregnancy, which I never understood. Anyway, it was clear me and this nameless guy would continue to grow closer and all I could think about is when are we going to have sex, when am I going to lose my virginity because I’m ready…boy was I wrong,
By time it was sophomore year, we had gone a little further than a very intense make out session and I could tell that we were soon going to “do it,” as we use to say and boy, was I ready. I know my mother told me that once I felt like I would become sexually active to come talk to her, but I couldn’t do it. My mother acted like she was the most pleasant and joyous person to talk to. This is the same woman who would get upset if I got an A- instead of an A so how in the world was I just supposed to go up to her and say, “Hey mom I think I’m about to have sex. Could you give me some advice?” It just didn’t work like that. I never went to my mom. Instead, I just remembered everything negative that was said about sex but I figured, “heck if everyone around me is doing it then it can’t be that bad…can it?” In my head, there was no way that I could catch an STI. I had never been with anyone, he had never been with anyone. In my mind I was smooth sailing, we were happy as can be, I was not pregnant, and I didn’t get an STI. I thought about everything I learned in “sex ed” and thought about how wrong they were about waiting, and it being bad. None of that was true, but in some ways I soon discovered there was little truth in what I was taught.
Something I was never taught was the emotional aspect of sex and how much of a toll it takes on you. No one ever talked about being mature enough and emotionally ready for a sexual connection with someone. They completely disregarded that and it was something I was not prepared for. I could not wrap my mind around why I was letting this affect me so much. Along the way things about myself began to change. I was an emotional wreck. I began to think so negatively about myself. As we became more and more sexually active things about our “relationship,” changed as well. I was so upset with myself, and I thought everyone who told me about sex had failed me. Why was the emotional impact not a part of sexual education? Why did I not know about how it would make me feel before, during, and after? Yes, people said it was bad to have sex, but was this they were referring to or was it something else? None of my questions got answered. I did not know where to go or who to turn to. I did not want to talk to the guy about it because I was embarrassed. I could not bring it to my mom she would have lost it. I was stuck with all this emotion and confusion that no sexual education course taught me. It was like sex was only physical which I learned the hard way it wasn’t. I learned the hard way how involved your emotions can be and the importance of knowing yourself before you put yourself in a very intense emotional situation. Educating young people about all aspects of what sex can do to someone is so vital. If I would have known what I know now, things would be different.