Exciting news: I just finished editing a book that I have been writing for the past few years! It is about the 30 lessons that I learned in my 20’s. Now to find an editor, and publish it, ahhhh! (*taking suggestions for editors, if you know any!)
As I read this particular chapter, I thought I would share it here. It seemed fitting, as I also started teaching sex ed again this week! One of my most favourite things.
Clearly, 2019 is off to a good start. Watch out, Regina.
So here is Lesson 20 of 30: Have Lots of Sex.
“This may sound controversial, but it is not. I am not going to tell you to have sex with lots of different partners (though you can, if you would like to), or that it needs to be wild and kinky sex (though, again, it can be, if you would like it to), or that you should start as a teenager (though, perhaps, having self-sex is a good place to start).
I believe that it is important to have a lot of sex – with yourself, your primary partner, your lover, that person you just picked up, a friend, or a group of consenting adults – for a few reasons. Sex is good for you – for your body, your brain, your emotional health, and your creativity. It allows you to connect to yourself, and to your partner(s). It can be healing. It teaches you how to communicate about something intimate – and that is an important lesson in an of itself.
Communication is key in any sexual relationship. Whether it’s negotiating consent or birth control, or where and how you like it, all parties need to feel comfortable asking for what they want, and listening to the needs of others. This can be uncomfortable at first, and may require some practice. Start by talking about it with your friends. Get comfortable asking someone to put a condom on, and if they have been tested, BEFORE you are put into that situation. Ask questions, make jokes, share stories – get comfortable with these conversations that might feel awkward and uncomfortable at first.
It is also noteworthy here that when I encourage you to have lots of sex, it goes without saying that I am talking about having the safest sex possible. People love to say that the only safe sex is no sex at all – and yes, that is true. Abstinence is a choice, and it is the only way to avoid pregnancy and STIs. However, there are ways to keep sex safer. Condoms and dental dams being the most common. Use them, get comfortable with them. Have them in your house. Keep them in your wallet (but in an Altoids tin, as you don’t want them to get crushed). Go buy them. Condoms are your friend.
It’s also important to note that many STI’s are treatable, and that there is no shame in getting one. There is a lot of stigma around them, and it is important to challenge that. But, the safer you are, the better sex will be. STI’s can be uncomfortable, and a pain in the ass. So, just like you can choose to wash your hands, or wear a seat belt, make the best decision for you.
For those heterosexual couples among us, let’s not forget about unplanned pregnancies. Those are often not good for anyone. There are enough children in the world being poorly taken care of — not to say that you will poorly take care of a child, only that children drastically change your life – no need to add more simply because you were too scared to ask someone to put a condom on. I will even give you a script:
“Hey, let’s use a condom.” “No, we’re fine baby, I’ll (you’ll) pull out”. “No, I have some. Let me go grab one.”
Be consistent, be clear. Have condoms on hand. If someone is going to argue with you about condom wearing, they may not be the person you want to be having sex with. If you are having sex with someone new, wear a condom. It’s easy, it’s effective, and they really don’t change the end result too much – other than preventing pregnancy and infection, so there’s that. Say it with me now: always wear a condom. Great. Let’s move on.
Also, get informed about other forms of contraceptives while you’re at it. No matter your gender. Learn about them all. If you are participating in sexual activities that have any risk of pregnancy, you should know your shit. Just saying.
While we’re talking about sex, let’s also confirm that we will do away with shaming and judging people who have a different sex life than us. This goes for slut shaming, as well as judging the young person who is saving themselves for marriage. We are all guilty of it. We judge what we do not understand, or what we would not choose for ourselves. But here is the thing: it is not you, and it is not your choice. Let other people play their way. If you are not having sex with them, it does not affect you, so leave it alone. Even if you are having sex with them, there’s a good chance that it doesn’t affect you — if you are protecting yourself, physically and emotionally — so leave it alone.
Speaking of alone – have sex alone. Get a vibrator, a flesh light, your shower head, or the good old fashioned way with your hands and some lube. Seduce yourself, make yourself feel loved, and taken care of. Light candles. Put on music. Have a bath. Get to know your body, get to know what you like and what you don’t like – that way you have somewhere to start with new partners. Get comfortable by yourself. The more you know, the more comfortable you feel, the better it will be with your partner(s). Everybody wins.
It took me a long time to be comfortable with sex – both talking about it, and doing it. I thought that I needed a consistent, monogamous partner in order to feel comfortable to ask for what I wanted, and to explore what I needed. So, because I didn’t have a consistent partner until I was 26, I spent the first half of my 20s feeling mostly uncomfortable and unsure. I wasn’t comfortable being naked, or negotiating consent and birth control, so mostly, this meant that I just didn’t have a lot of sober, or safe, sex.
Having a consistent partner absolutely helped to change things for me. But before this, I became a sex educator during my second school practicum. This gave me the opportunity to talk about sex all the time —to teenagers, none-the-less — so I had no choice but to get comfortable with it. I had to demonstrate how to put a condom on a wooden penis, and talk about all kinds of sex and STI’s. It was terrifying. It was amazing.
And, as it turns out, great for my own sex life.
Sex has become so hush, hush in our society, which is so harmful. It takes a toll on everyone. It changes the way young people see sex, often deeming it something shameful, or dirty. This does not give them a platform to talk about this complex, and sensitive topic, thus creating silence around something that is inevitably going to affect them at some point. This silence also affects many relationships, creating a dynamic in which neither party may feel safe asking questions, or delivering feedback.
Sex is important. It is a very real part of most romantic, intimate relationships. It is also inevitable. We need to start being more honest, and more upfront about that.
So, where to start? Get comfortable talking about it, which will inevitably help you to get comfortable doing it.
And then do it – lots of it. Whatever that looks like for you.
Show your body some love in every way you can. Don’t shame your own, or anybody else’s. The world does that enough already. Be complimentary to yourself, to others, to everyone – seriously, tell that person in the street that they are a babe, sometimes this turns into a date — yes, this is based on a true story of a friend of mine. Bodies are made to be explored, touched, and loved.
Unlearn the shame that we have been taught about sex and sexuality, so that we can continue to change the dialogue around these things. This is not something that we want to pass on to our grandchildren. And our 20s are a good time to begin rewriting narratives. We have the power to do this, so take it.
Have sex, and tell the world about it.”
There you have it. The first time any part of this book with be seen by another’s eyes (with the exception of my sister, because I needed someone to tell me I wasn’t crazy to be writing a book).
I hope 2019 has started off exactly as you wanted, and needed, it to. Perhaps with lots of sex 🙂
As always, reach out with questions or comments.
Sending you all my love and sexy vibes,
x – c