The first time I ever had sex, I had no idea what I was doing, no idea if I really wanted to be doing what I was doing, no idea where to put my hands, and if he had not pulled out the condom himself, I might not have insisted on it. I was shaky and insecure because of my body and all the myriad and varied issues I had with it and my self-esteem, because I was so scared that he would see through my bravado and realize I was a complete novice, because I had no answers either way.
Sex Ed in high school showed me where the ovaries are, taught me about menstruation and the magic of the sperm and the beauty of the egg and the miracle of live birth, but didn’t explain the mechanics or the means. How to get from here to there. If it’s okay to be apprehensive, scared, clumsy and is it really okay to be doing this? I mean, really?
My mom told me when a man and woman love each other very much, they get
very close together. My best friend told me how to give a blow job (and
it didn’t involve blowing! Crazy!) and I figured out the clitoris by
myself, but I was shy, and didn’t know about the internet, and I went
into my first time feeling like an understudy who had forgotten to
study and was going to go cry in the bathroom when it was all over.
I was a wreck, and totally in the dark, when I was a kid. But now–now I
worry a lot about Kids Today, which makes me feel creaky and sad. Kids
Today are having sex at eleven years old! Kids Today think anal sex
doesn’t count and you’re still a virgin! Kids Today treat sex with so
little respect, use oral sex to make themselves popular, are
contracting diseases by the bucket load and getting into situations they don’t want to be in because
they don’t know it’s okay to say hell, no. Kids Today are getting
abstinence education shoved down their throats, instead of the real,
important practical information that the need so badly. What will
happen to Kids Today?
But Kids Today also have resources like Scarleteen, for which I would
have given just about anything, when I was young and really stupid.
Fifteen year old me would have been so grateful to read Intercourse 101, to have had a Readiness Checklist at her fingertips. Detailed instructions for oral and anal sex? Would have been a lifesaver.
Of course I could have gone to the local Barnes and Noble and browsed
the sex section, but here were a million books that seemed to be aimed
at people who knew what they were doing, but just needed a little extra
oomph, but all I needed was something that would, very privately, with
no one around me looking or judging, take me by the hand and pat my
head and tell me that everything was going to be okay. Even if I found
that elusive book, how could I have sat and taken notes in the
bookstore? There’s no way I would have bought that book; I might have
been desperate enough, as a teenager, to have shoplifted it.
I would have given anything to have the kind of answers they have,
about body image, what’s
normal, and beautiful, how to accept your body and take care of it and
love it enough to have sex joyfully and uninhibitedly, without
self-consciousness or worry or doubt. I am so glad it exists. I am
amazed that these kids are asking the same things that I worried and
wondered about, when I was their age; I am so glad that they are
getting the kinds of answers that I never did. I feel sad for the
teenage me, who spent so much time confused and upset and feeling
abnormal and insecure. I’ve gotten my questions answered, more or less,
but I’m finding out that you’re never too old learn something vitally important.