I wasn’t told many lies about sex because no one ever said anything about sex. I didn’t get a talk from my parents and sex education classes breezed over the topic of actual sex, preaching only abstinence.
My mom told me one day I might get a period. Classes at school taught us the anatomical differences between boys and girls. One day, I also came home to a terrifying book about the gynecologist. But that was it.
I don’t remember how I learned the mechanics, but it certainly wasn’t from an adult in a comfortable setting where questions were encouraged. All through junior high and high school, sex was a whisper in the hallway, a note passed at lunch or locker room gossip. Talking about sex was always shrouded in shame.
College brought a whole slew of open minded and intelligent friends, eager to share their viewpoints on everything from vegetarianism and Afghanistan to sex. We could actually be in the dining hall openly discussing who slept with whom, if it was good and if it might happen again.
The biggest lie I was told about sex was an unspoken lie: that it’s not ok to talk about sex at all. I grew up thinking sex should always be a secret, something you are ashamed of. If you can’t say it in front of your priest, my mother used to say, then maybe you shouldn’t say it at all.
Obviously I don’t chat up the Target check out lady about her sex life. But thoughtful conversations with friends have made sex a less shameful subject. I have friends to ask questions to and our discussions have led me to become more educated than I ever would have on my own.
Because I’ve decided to talk openly about sex, I know that sex isn’t one thing or another. There is no right or wrong way to have consensual sex. Different things are fun for different people and everyone gives sex its own meaning.
So stop being weird guys. Let’s talk about sex.