We live in the age of information, and somehow we still manage to be so neurotic about sex.
Doubtless, it was going to be an uphill battle. The very act of biological procreation has been wallpapered with centuries of superstitions, religion, social stigma, and pure misinformation. That's a lot of stuff to peel away. Have you ever peeled wallpaper, not to mention the shit they used 100 years ago? It's a nightmare to tear down.
Rape is a crime of power and control exerted physically on a victim. But imagine having a firm grip on someone's proverbial balls (or vagina) without having to lay a hand on them at all? And not just someone, but lots of someones. That's some real power. That's a power that has been coveted by politicians, the church, and individuals over other individuals from time immemorial.
Abortion might not be the choice for you. But some actively fight for the right be involved in the reproductive actions of a completely unrelated human being. Some actively fight education that teaches unrelated kids about their bodies and how sex works. Some shame women for engaging in sex and label it a "cultural practice." And even in our recent past, we have to face the fact that we historically practiced eugenics and sterilization of the unfit.
Fights about anything remotely related to sex are ALWAYS about controlling people at their basest levels. And that's the root of our problems with the S word.
There have been two notable stories that make me want to pull my freaking hair out. One is about the "porn addicted boys." The other is Kate Bryan, who boasts that feminism has made it possible for her to live a life as a 32 year old virgin.
I am totes cool with you living a life of celibacy. You should be able to do whatever you want with your body and your vagina. HOWEVER. If you are claiming you have sexual integrity because you're a virgin, then guess what you automatically imply of the women who aren't? You're slut shaming, Kate. Equality is for all women, no matter how many dicks they want inside them - so long as THEY want them there. Or vaginas on them, cause you made this statement in the year Two Thousand and Goddamn Sixteen. And likewise, the guys can also decide how many dicks or vaginas they want to enjoy. Or not enjoy. You can't say equality protects your right to live the life you want, and then look down your nose at others because they live a different way.
How can we still be having these conversations? Or, apparently, not having them?
Obviously, we are fucking up the explaining of the concept of fucking to our children. Humans have made the beast with two backs for tens of thousands of years. Isn't it time we got over the freaking hang-ups we have talking about it?
Porn-addicted boys don't know any better because we are ashamed to explain the concept of love and human biology. How often do we fail to share the intimacy and love we have for our partner in our own household by kissing or hugging in front of the kids? They're learning about love and sex from the distorted filter of what is easily available everywhere online instead of from our stories of lust, love, and failure.
Likewise, Kate (like us) lives in a world where religion has made sex outside of marriage a shameful and dangerous act. She (and many of us) can't understand that those of us who don't place a pronounced value on the abstract of chastity don't live the life she has been taught is promiscuous. We're not all drunks who fornicate with wild abandon with any willing body. (And if it's consensual and between adult participants, who cares if it were?) We care for the state of our hearts, don't always "wake up next to strangers," and engage in safe sex practices so we don't have to "worry about missing a period."
Some of us were EDUCATED on how to have sex enjoyably and safely - or we figured it out in an awful hurry. Sometimes we made mistakes. But mistakes are part of the human condition.
So is compassion.
The people I feel sorriest for are the boys and girls who haven't been told by anybody what they should expect and what they deserve. Sweethearts, you should not be ashamed of sex. You deserve to be loved and pleasured and cherished whether you decide to wait until marriage or not. You are not less, damaged, or a slut if you don't wait. You have no reason to be ashamed about seeking answers about diseases, birth control, pregnancy, or even yourself and how your body works. But you should be careful with your bodies and heart, and sometimes that does mean waiting - not necessarily for a ring and a piece of paper, but until YOU are comfortable and ready, whenever you decide that is.
We need to give up this idea of an illusion that if we exert an iron-clad control, our kids will remain pure and chaste. Instead, we need to exert the control over the education our kids get. We need to make sure they understand the fundamentals: consent and love and pleasure. They need to understand how pregnancy happens, how STIs work, how to care for themselves and for others. The more comfortable they are with the idea of sex (and the results of it), the safer they will be and the less likely they will be pushed into something they don't want to do.
Our kids deserve this sexual education. And we deserve it too. We deserve to stop wearing sackcloths and ashes. We deserve to have a relationship with our spouses or lovers, and we should stop feeling ashamed about it.