I often will ask people basic questions very early on in my work with them, “So, how did you learn about sex? Who taught you?” The answers I get back are usually akin to “My friends.” “Nobody taught me, I learned by myself.” “TV, the Internet, porn.” “Experimentation”. Then I ask, “What messages did you get about sex?” The answers to that question are more widespread and diverse. Some are positive. Some are negative. Some are accurate. Some are not!
We live in one of the advanced societies in the world, and we still struggle with talking about sex. Some adults have great comfort with it – which is great! However, think back. When did you first realize that sex was a thing and that you were a sexual being? How old were you? What do you wish someone had told you back then? How did you start to figure it out? Watching TV, listening to our friends on the playground, reading books and navigating the net gives some concrete messages about who we are supposed to be as sexual beings. Often, those messages are confusing, misaligned and sometimes, downright wrong! Young people can’t decipher what the real messages in sex are.
So, the challenge that ensues is when these young people who have adopted confusing messages about sex, sexuality, their bodies and how relationships form become adults. They are increasingly challenged to enter into meaningful adult relationships intentionally and with insight.
OK, back to our adult selves. Think back to the start of your relationship, or if you are single, where you are when you want to be in a relationship. What happens to you? Do you feel excitement, confusion, fear, self-consciousness, wonder, hope …. All of the above? Does it feel like when you were younger and trying to figure out what this whole sex thing was? Now, the same question as before: What do you wish someone would tell you now about sex and intimacy?
Too often, we don’t ask or don’t know where to turn to learn about the things that we believe we are “just supposed to know.” Take a breath! You are NOT just supposed to know. Whether you identify as male or female or somewhere in between, this understanding doesn’t just drop into your head like manna from heaven. This requires exploration, education, identification and curiosity. Take the time to learn more about you, get your questions answered, see the bigger picture! The investment you make in understanding yourself as a sexual being (or asexual being) will allow you to build more meaningful relationships of all kinds!
If you are exploring yourself and coming up with roadblocks or need information regarding understanding sex, sexuality and relationship, contact Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org.