Attention! The hymen isn’t what you think it is. Or at least it’s not what I thought it was, for most of my life. In fact, it was only a year or so ago that I learned exactly how the “cherry”—as it’s commonly known—works.
You may have heard that hymens are an inaccurate indicator of sexual activity, since the membrane doesn’t really cover the vagina and can be worn away by physical activity that has nothing to do with sex. But did you also know that some hymens are particularly resilient and can withstand lots of penetration and still bounce back to near mint-condition?
For more hymen realness, check out this video by one of my favourite sex educators, Laci Green!
I want to go to naked yoga!
Bold and Naked Studios, located in the Chelsea district of London, offers co-ed and gender-segregated classes, where participants strive for full-monty flexibility. According to this article at The Daily Mail, the studio also offers fully-clothed classes as well, but this stripped down practice appeals to me for a few reasons.
I find seeing other people’s nude bodies in a consensual, non-sexual setting helps me feel more secure. It’s a nice reminder that we all have our own unique shape, size, colouring, and body markings, and that my blips and blotches are just part of me. Unfortunately, the opportunity to see naked people in real life doesn’t present itself terribly often, which makes it easier to mistakenly perceive the perfected images in magazines or pornography as realistic. So, I welcome any opportunity to see other bodies in an everyday setting.
Like most people, I’m not used to being nude in public. I imagine that initially I’d feel a bit self-conscious in a class like this, but once I settled in, doing yoga naked might lead to deeper focus and attention to the practice. I’m one of those people who is easily distracted by the mild scratching of a label or the light pressure of an elastic waistband. Yoga sans-clothes would free my mind and my body a bit more.
I loved this quote from the article: “The studio says that erections during the class do occur, but happen ‘rarely.' They encourage that when it does it's okay and nothing to be embarrassed about. It will pass quickly.” So much yes to this! Sometimes our bodies have involuntary sexual responses to stimuli—like erections during yoga class. I want to high-five the instructors for treating this as acceptable and neutral. It’s also a cool reminder that people don’t always have to, or want to, act on their sexual arousal
Anyway, I’m off to Google to see if there are any clothing-optional yoga classes in my neck of the woods.
And how about you? What’s your take on naked yoga? Inspired idea or nightmare workout?
I have very mixed feelings about the sheer volume of sexual content youth have access to these days. Someday I’ll write out those thoughts in more detail, but for now, my ambiguity can be summarized thusly:
Lots of sexual content yay: I believe sex is a normal part of most people's lives. It happens a lot in real life, so I like the part where that’s kind of reflected in our media.
Lots of sexual content nay: A lot of the sexual content that is widely available both in mainstream and in pornography portrays a relatively narrow set of behaviours that does not represent reality for a lot of folks.
Granted, a lot of that sexual content is produced as part of entertainment media. It’s not intended to be instructional. But when youth lack information about what real life sex is like, they may be lacking the context they need to truly perceive the sex they read about and see onscreen for what it is—a fantasy.
One prevalent characteristic of our culture’s sexual fantasy is the idea that all you need for a great sexual experience is the “right” person and the “right” moment. Which is a lovely, beautiful comforting notion. Sex would certainly be a heck of lot less nerve-wracking if all it took to create fireworks was feeling ready and willing.
Growing up, I totally bought into the myth of “the first time” and what an epic, special moment that was going to be. When I finally did “lose my virginity” (post about why I don’t love the idea of virginity also coming soon), it was by choice, with someone that I loved, and at an age that most people would have considered acceptable. But the sex wasn’t great. And I was really disappointed. And worse, I was resigned to having less than awesome sex from there on out, because no one had taught me something we often forget to teach kids about sex.
Sex is a skill.
The desire for sex is a natural instinct. But that doesn’t mean that we instinctively know how to make sex fabulous. Each of us has an individual body that responds to specific stimulation in specific ways. Furthermore, those responses change depending on our age, our hormones, our mental state, our physical state, our age, our situation, etc. Depending on how committed we are to masturbation, it can take years to master sex with ourselves, let alone sex with someone else.
There may be a few sexual prodigies who get it on and get it right, right out of the gate. But for a lot of us, early sexual experiences—particularly with partners—are not the best ones in terms of physical pleasure.
I think of it a bit like cooking. I may have an intense craving for filet mignon and roasted garlic potatoes. And as luck may have it, I might have all the ingredients sitting in my kitchen and a recipe that tells me how to make it. But if I have never cooked before, it’s unlikely that I’m going to make fabulous mignon right out of the gate. That doesn’t mean that first attempt will be bad. But if I keep trying, if I keep learning, tweaking and finessing my recipe with each attempt, my filet mignons are going to become juicier, more tender, and more flavourful every time.
(Author’s aside: I’m either really horny or really hungry right now.)
At any rate, the false assumption that sex will just be awesome is based on a fantasy. And when that fantasy gets confused with reality, it can set youth up to feel like they’ve failed if they aren’t ecstatic with orgasms right out of the gate. I’m not saying that early sexual experiences can’t be good. For many people they are. But they can also be awkward, uncomfortable, stressful, frustrating, weird, funny, boring, silly, or anything else. We need to teach youth that that’s okay. Sex is a skill, one they have their whole lives to develop.
Check out part one of the this series: Things We Forget To Teach Our Kids About Sex. And learn how a simple list can get you more of the sex you want!