My sex education in high school consisted of “don’t do it” and if you maybe are considering doing it to “just say no”. It also likened all of the reproductive organs to different foods, so I can no longer eat strawberries or spaghetti without thinking of my ovaries and Fallopian tubes (I won’t even mention the male genitals). Needless to say, the first time I saw a condom I was completely traumatised and perhaps felt inadequately educated about the practicalities of sex, let alone all the fun wishy washy emotion stuff that inevitably goes hand in hand. This is a letter to my younger self, from all of the things I’ve learnt through personal experience (but mostly through my friends).
Dear virgin Beth,
Firstly, you should probably figure out what your own vagina looks like before you go exploring someone else’s genitals. The thought of this might make you shy away, break out into a bright red rash and coil up with disgust, but it’s kinda important. Like, you need to know how it works to have sex, kind of important. And don’t even lie to me and say “yes I’ve checked it out in a mirror” because I know that is not true. You may actually make it to the age of twenty without seeing what your clitoris physically looks like.
Next, you have to get naked in front of another person. Maybe more. Maybe you’ll like girls. Honestly, I don’t know what is scarier; penises or breasts. Both are pretty terrifying when pointed at you. You’ll be insecure about your body but luckily, it only gets worse! Things start to sag and if you don’t moisturize you can get scaly. So stop whineing.
Once things… progress, you will probably get asked “what do you enjoy?” to which your response will be “how the f*ck would I know?”. How would you know if you’ve never had sex before? If you don’t know what you enjoy, people (being the strange, curious creatures they are) are going to start suggesting stuff. Weird stuff. Stuff you probably have never heard of before, and will again make you coil up with terror. It’s fine to have that reaction; just trust it. Female bodies are particularly good at ‘shutting down for business’ if you decide to experiment with something you aren’t comfortable with. You really can’t fight your instincts, cause your damn glands are too good at picking up on the “WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING” emotion. Not listening to yourself can also have detrimental effects that range from emotional, guilt induced stress to actual physical harm. So just STOP and move on and kick anyone out who doesn’t listen to you.
Also, the magazines and movies you have watched about men being sex pests are not always true. Yes, some men will be sex pests. It’s okay to give those men a quick jab in the jugular and move on when they don’t listen to you. But a lot are not. Popular culture has pretty much convinced everyone that it is emasculating to not want to have sex. It has also convinced everyone that if you are a girl who does enjoy having sex, then you are a slut. This is also false. People just like to have sex different amounts. The tricky part if you choose to be in a relationship is a) finding someone who wants to have sex a similar amount and b) working around the times that these ‘urges’ (yes, I just used ‘urges’ and heard the collective cringe) differ from one another. If you’ve ever heard someone comment on the fact that sex causes some of the largest relationship issues, they are not lying to you.
Another point: you have grown up in a Christian household, been surrounding by Christian friends and family, and attended a Christian school. YOU ARE NOT THE NORM. Your views on sex are very narrow and very different to every other demographic in the world. One day, in grown up land, someone will call you vanilla and it has nothing to do with your favourite ice cream flavour or the colour of your skin. Out of curiosity, you may Urban Dictionary this term and find related search topics. I won’t spoil the rest for you, but when you do decide to Google these terms, make sure it is in the privacy of your own home and not at work, or God forbid, school. I repeat, it is NSFW. N.S.F.W.
The rest is pretty easy. Penis goes into vagina, repeats. Hopefully everyone enjoys themselves and you should be fine. OH. Unless of course you come across a scenario that isn’t like the diagrams with arrows that were flashed in front of your face momentarily. There are different genital shapes and sizes. There are different levels of intoxication and/or attraction. There are different sexual orientations that involve more or less vaginas and/or penises. There are other scenarios that I am pretty sure cannot be published online unless it is adult restricted. There is a lot of nakedness. There is this thing called ‘pornography’ that you might stumble across. Basically, I’m telling you that you are TOTALLY NOT PREPARED. But hopefully this will make it back to you before you reach the age of having sex without having any clue about what is healthy or safe.
Love, old Beth.