A letter to a sex obsessed teen, don’t change….

End of A Levels, group photo time. The theme: dress as what you want to be when you grow up. You zip up the bubblegum pink Ann Summers Miss Massage outfit you were given by friend’s on your 18th, take a breath and step out of the toilet cubicle and out onto the lawn with the other students. 

“I want to talk about sex” you state, standing there proudly, with a full body zip that starts at the cleavage and ends just reaching the upper thigh.

This has been a long time coming. You have been saying for a few years now that you wanted to be some sort of sex educator or sex therapist. Teachers, parents and adults were unsure how to address the topic. They seemed uncomfortable with a young girl presenting in this way. 

You have been obsessed by sex since you were little. At first it was trying to understand what sex was. It seemed to mean different things to different people. The sniggers and words heard from older kids at primary school – “are you a virgin*?”, “do you know what a blowjob is?” – were confusing, but only piqued your interest more. You felt your face flush red with embarrassment when you were called out for not knowing what they meant, then ashamed when you questioned your parents only to have the conversation quickly shut down. 

Penis and vagina** are words you learnt in science lessons rather than at home. Why was it that we give those parts so many nicknames, but we don’t do that with other parts of our body? You try to read between the lines working out what all these terms mean, and when you ask adults you are met with “I’ll tell you when you’re older”. 

This is so frustrating and leads you to finding the information out by other means; library books, agony aunt pages and google searches, piecing together a mix of biological, social and pornographic information. When the adults found out, you could feel their discomfort bubbling up to the surface. Nobody explained anything honestly or openly, instead displaying embarrassment or shame. 

But how old is ‘older’? What are we waiting for? You found yourself left with more questions than answers and made to feel ashamed for asking. You shouldn’t be; it’s the adults who are ashamed and embarrassed to discuss the subject. Don’t let their hang-ups become yours. Let knowledge empower you. But society bombards you with all sorts of messages about sex throughout your life – and you absorbed every message like a sponge. 

*We don’t use the V word anymore. People’s sexual experience or lack thereof is not a measure of their worth. This term is purely a social concept made up to devalue women. It is irrelevant. And by now you have found out that no actual blowing is required – or desired – during a blowjob. No, I still do not get why it is called that either! 

**We also make sure to use the word Vulva and not vagina – we do not hear this word until our 20s despite owning one! The vagina is the opening not the entire female genitalia. 

Later these mixed messages leave you wanting to experience it for yourself. How did it feel to have sex, and why was it such a taboo? What does it feel like? The only pressure you feel to have your first sexual experiences are actually from yourself – despite always being told that as a girl you’d be pressured into it by a boy! You find yourself feeling ashamed and embarrassed for wanting it, because girls who want it are labelled bad news. Still, you become desperate to experience the feelings of attraction, anticipation, and orgasm.

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. 

People will always react oddly when it comes to talking about sex. A mix of cringe, shame, embarrassment. Remember, this is the result of a number of factors: education, upbringing, social norms and taboos. It is completely normal to want sex. Be open about it no matter how much this feels like you’re pushing at the status quo. Go break the taboos and normalise the conversations that others find cringe. Keep consent as your foundation and pleasure as your building blocks.

Sex is not shameful, to talk about or to have.

I love you. Never stop backing yourself. You have got this. 

You are so loved!

Sex Debbie – aged 34! 

Sex Debbie does not endorse any products or brands