If you could talk to your teenage self about sex, what would you tell her?
Strange isn’t it, that as a child, you thought about nakedness and body parts and how babies were made constantly and yet never felt guilty about it. Yet as soon as you relate those thoughts and feelings to the word ‘sex’, they become deeply shameful.
What a bummer. Just as you’re finding out how to operate the wonderful gifts that nature gave you it becomes shameful and guilt-ridden and OMG what have I just done!?
Masturbation. It’s the most natural, harmless adventure of them all. And yet you stand at the bus stop in your high school uniform, apologising in your mind to a God you don’t really believe exists and promising, with all your heart, that you’ll never, EVER do it again.
Time moves on, and you’re still feeling so ashamed. So you decide that the less shameful thing to do will be to give the power of exploring your body to someone else. Suppressing your enlightenment, discounting your knowledge, you feel naive and stupid and shy. You know nothing about sex because you’ve only done it with yourself. Because sex is all about performing for someone else, right?
Armed with a Wonderbra, a bottle of Lambrini and a cheap pair of heels you become the person you think you aspire to be. You’ve read Bitch by Elizabeth Wurtzel, you’ve followed Madonna’s sexual dominance in the media and you’ve just discovered Courtney Love was a ‘Teenage Whore’…
But I hate to break it to you…. that’s not who you are.
You’re more sensitive than you think, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. You want to feel loved and respected, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. You want to enjoy yourself, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
When it comes to having sex, I’m not advising you to wait a year. I’m not advising you to go steady. But I’m advising you to do it to experience it, not just to say you have experienced it. To enjoy the moment not the notch on the bedpost. To find a place where you feel safe and respected and in control. To say no if you feel like it. To say yes if you feel like it. To do it for you – not them, not what they think, not what they might say, not to be who you think you want to be, but for who you are right now.
This isn’t a performance issue – it’s an enjoyment issue. This isn’t their moment – it’s a shared moment. If it isn’t right – don’t do it. If it isn’t love, but it’s OK - that’s mutually understood. Respect and be respected.
Have fun. Play safe. Enjoy the ride.