Your first kiss happens on holiday during a game of spin the bottle in the kids’ entertainment room when the adults aren’t paying attention. His name is Ben. You never speak to him again. It’s not sparking any fires, but you crave more. You become sexually active aged 15, at first with a short-lived boyfriend and then other more casual male acquaintances.
You find that you receive two completely contradictory responses being sexually active. The first is interest, from men and boys. An interest you hunger for, maybe feeling it was a sign of success. Perhaps this was part of the obsession. Will sex give us the attention we so desperately craved? Because at age 15 it certainly isn’t the orgasms! Not that you don’t enjoy yourself. But it was a performance, and drama has always been our best school subject! The second response is, of course, negative backlash from many surrounding you: nicknames of ‘slag’, and a distancing of girl friends as well as disapproval of parents. I prioritised sexual relationships above all others.
You had known sex would feel nice. Since you were young you knew it felt nice to touch your body in certain ways ‘down there’, but when Mum caught you doing it you were told to stop, making you feel dirty, naughty, wrong. You continue in secret, worrying about doing this and whether it makes you a bad person. FYI it doesn’t, and later in life you’ll help talk to adults about how important masturbation is. Great for discovering likes, dislikes, learning about the body, increasing sexual confidence, and boosting all those feel-good endorphins!
You enjoy sex, there is no shame in this. You will navigate your way through this journey of sexual freedom. There is a short but sweet relationship with a farmer, a uni one night stand where you find yourself upside down with an Italian, an encounter in a bush (which is opposite the school your kids now go to), a quickie in a tent and so many more. Try to focus on the quality of sex, how and why you are having it and for whose pleasure. Your days of performing sex should be short. Sex should be as much for your pleasure as it is for your partner’s. You are not odd for being a young woman who enjoys sex. It should be the main reason most people have it. Just make informed choices. Sex won’t make people fall in love with you. Thankfully you later discover this, marry and create a life with someone. He allows you to be you and together you grow whilst riding life’s rollercoaster.
Know that in years to come you will realise your dreams. You talk to adults and young people about sex. You do everything you always set out to and more. You hold workshops for adults to attend to gain valuable Sex Re-Education. To rediscover pleasure, unlearn the social expectations and relearn a positive understanding of sex. You provide sex ed in educational settings for young people. You deliver talks to workplaces to help upskill managers and create better work output. All of these you do by talking about sex, relationships, periods and more!
You do that because it is important for people to understand that sex can be positive, pleasurable, inclusive and celebrated – not hidden, shameful, dirty or wrong. To recognise that there are likes and dislikes for all, and these change through our life.
So many people want to have sex because sex feels good – it is ok to want to have sex. It isn’t just something that men want, as society will often have you believe. It is just that it is uncommon for women to speak out about it. But you can, and you will. It is our job to ensure that we help educate on what good sex entails. Exploring the physical to the psychological and even environmental factors at play, because good sex is so much more than a penis entering a vagina!
Before trying for a baby you always use contraception effectively. There is only one time where something doesn’t go to plan. The condom breaks. First time ‘doing it’ after having a baby! Mortified, you go to the pharmacy where an interrogation proceeds (despite you having a pretty in depth knowledge of sex and contraception). Finally, you get given the morning after pill and you are on your way. This interrogation is a strange experience. Despite explaining my situation, it was hard work. I found it quite like being sent to the headmaster, a condescending telling off in a way. I get the need to give clear instructions for use and safe sex, but this experience left me unsure if this was the right way for the process to be handled. When reasoning about this process, I remember that at school they said how it was felt that people would use the morning after pill as regular contraception, so perhaps it’s to ward you off doing that, but fail to see how or why that would be the case. And if it was, so what? We should look at the reason for needing this service rather than just shaming and restricting access.
This obsession you have is constantly helping you learn about this and channelling it into a positive, by educating and explaining it to others. Knowledge empowers, safeguards and brings pleasure. Enjoy sex for everything it gives you not just who it makes you to others. Embrace all likes and dislikes.