This is the first installment of my combination series of Unspoken Locus. The idea behind this tile is that there are places we do not talk about, and I want to talk about it. Unspoken Locus was motivated by a rejection letter I received from a publisher who enjoyed what I wrote but they actively stayed away from topics of sexuality. So here I want to share with you all the things we aren’t supposed to communicate about to our partners, to our self and to our culture around us. This is a broad subject and will probably reach into sexuality, society and the realms of self. The topics presented here are probably a little not safe for work. My goal is to present that which we do not talk about with awareness and mindfulness and see where we wind up. The second goal is to shine the light of humor on these ideas. I want to disenfranchise the hidden ideas and that which isn’t polite and bring about a more open conversation.
I have a vivid memory of this moment in my teen years in which my basketball team mates were discussing sex. Now there is nothing strange about teenage girls talking about sex. In fact that is kind of standard of high school experience; talking about sex with people who often know next to nothing. Misinformation was everywhere. Given that I grew up in rural North East Texas whose idea of sex education was akin to the scene with Coach Carr in “Mean Girls”.
“Don’t have sex. Because you will get pregnant. And Die!”-there was not a lot of accurate free flowing information.
Several sex-negative speakers had recently made the rounds at assemblies, talking at length about the dangers of having sex, pornography and STD’s. They also seemed to be really fond of suggesting that women be quiet and follow the lead of their (equally clueless ) boyfriends because one that will be similar to how their future household will function. Awesome…Follow the lead is the sex ed we give to women. At least it was where I grew up. (One of these speakers, Justin Lookadoo, is famous for his message of “’Dateable Girls Know How to Shut Up’, was recently arrested for public intoxication by the way.) There was no sex-education program to speak up, though there was a health class which consisted mostly of showing us pictures of late stage syphilis and outbreaks of herpes. The point is, it was 2004 and we were all clueless. Adults seemed content to dodge the issue with abstinence only education and despite all of that it seemed that everyone my age was having sex. Or at least claiming they were. In this particular locker-room conversation we were listening to our point-guard describe sex with her boyfriend who was about three years older than we were. Tantalizing. I do not remember the entire conversation but there is one part of it which remains with me to this day. Our friend was describing going down on her boyfriend, tastes, smells, all of that wonderful stuff. And another girl asked her if he ever returned the favor and went down on her. “No! Of course not. He would never do that, he says it’s gross. And it makes men gay.”
Suddenly in that one sentence I discovered the first seeds of doubt which would later grow into a forest of skepticism. Even at fourteen that seemed like a really backward and bigoted thought to express. I do not remember asking her anything about this mindset, but I still think about it. Where did such an idea come from? Where was it born? Did he tell her outright that performing oral sex on women was gross? Was it simply a preference of his? Or was it just more misinformation he had picked up from his peers? Or was his distaste for the activity seen in actions, an avoidance of the subject that convinced her that her own body was some how gross? I know I encountered this same sort of sentiment not long after this with my first partners. The idea that “I don’t go down on girls” was a perfectly acceptable and even admirable thing for men to to say was prevalent. I know now this is something that people who are not really my cup of tea say and I am not going to dive into the partisan nonsense of that mindset. We shall leave that for another article. No one should feel pressure to perform sexual activities they do not enjoy. Everyone has their preferences, and I am not here to shame anyone. But the entire concept seemed so weirdly biased as well as set in stone. For some thing we were not supposed to talk about there certainly were a lot of goofy rules.
I still encounter strangely rigid perspectives on sexuality as an adult. Especially concerning masturbation. Among men, masturbation is joked about but kind of part of the status quo. So while there still may be shame and a weird view on male sexuality, masturbation is pretty much an acceptable activity in our culture. Typically there is boasting about how they never ever need to because of how much “tail” they receive, or how once again only socially inept folks need self love, but it is still understood that it is acceptable for a man to jerk it if he so chooses. Whereas the female population seems to be on lock-down as far as masturbation is concerned. I don’t know any woman who in having the sex talk with their parents ever heard a single word about auto stimulation. I have heard remarks made to young boys about spending too much time in the shower, or leaving semen encrusted socks on their floor. Which again adds to a certain shameful viewpoint around sexuality, but at least someone is talking about it. There are people my age who adamantly deny having ever tried, often admonishing such activity as “disgusting”. I am baffled.
My goal here is not to take on the establishment, or bash small town education, I cannot command parents to talk to their children about sex, I cannot make conservative public school stop hiring sex negative speakers to strike fear into the minds of teenagers. My goal here is to approach this topic with awareness. And ask a very important question; where is the love? And why is self love still so taboo? I say we start a self love revolution! I say that instead of burning bras we spend some time loving ourselves! How can another person truly satisfy us if we have no idea how to satisfy the self? The answer to that last question by the way is: they can’t. The human body is a beautiful, complicated Rubik’s cube and lack of sex positivity only makes it more difficult to begin to enjoy someone else. So I challenge you this week, go enjoy your partners! Go enjoy yourself!
I still wonder about that point guard at times. I know she is a beautiful young lady with a son and all that. But mostly I wonder if she still perceives that awesome act of reciprocating oral sex to someone you think is awesome to be unacceptable?